Miracles of transformation are the focus of a ball each year when the Good Shepherd Shelter Guild hosts its annual gala during National Domestic Violence Awareness Month to raise funds for Good Shepherd Shelter Los Angeles and to honor community members who change the lives of people in LA. This year the Guild recognized the Sisters of the Good Shepherd for their 110 years of dedicated service to the people of Los Angeles.
Sr. Anne Kelley, executive director of the LA Shelter said, “The Sisters of the Good Shepherd have been serving LA for 110 years, but our real work is more about witnessing the miracles of transformation in the lives of women and children.
“The mothers who come to the domestic violence shelter are the bravest and most determined women I know. I am in awe of their courage and efforts to make a sane, safe and successful future for their children. Our job as Sisters is to applaud them, give them tools to heal and realize their dreams, and then to watch in amazement as these women reach truly incredible destinations.”
Rooted in community
Sisters of the Good Shepherd first arrived in Los Angeles in 1904 to serve women and children in crisis. In 1977 they established the Good Shepherd Shelter to provide intervention, safety and stability for abused women and their children. It was one of the first domestic violence shelters in the U.S. Today it continues to be a hallmark of the community.
The Good Shepherd Shelter is the sole domestic violence shelter in Los Angeles that offers a women’s development center where mothers learn career and life skills, an on-site school for children, individual apartment units for each family, full therapeutic services, legal advocacy, relocation services and reliable aftercare support.
The Sisters of the Good Shepherd have been able to sustain the shelter successfully over time because the Guild and many other past and present donors, volunteers, boards and staff have made it possible, according to Sr. Anne.
“Every miracle at the Shelter has been made possible because of the generous support of our angels who have given their time, resources and skills,” she said.
Two of those angels founded a Scholarship Fund in honor of their mother Delores Pitch. Each year at the gala a woman who has graduated from the LA Shelter receives the Dolores Pitch Scholarship to further her dreams. This year’s recipient of the scholarship, Luz Padilla, lived at the shelter in 2010 with her two young daughters and son. She recently completed her training for Licensed Vocational Nurse and has a full time job at a hospital. The Dolores Pitch scholarship will help Luz fulfill her dream of becoming a Registered Nurse.
The fundraising gala was held on October 11 at the Sheraton Universal Hotel in Los Angeles. The fete included hors d’oeuvres, live entertainment, a silent and live auction, three-course meal and dancing.
Summit on Domestic Violence
Good Shepherd Shelter held a summit on domestic violence on the heels of the gala in collaboration with the University of Southern California’s School of Social Work. The aim of the summit was to discuss how communities can respond to domestic violence.
Summit panels brought voices forward to tell the stories of domestic violence survivors, share the impacts of best practices in the field of domestic violence and encourage others to continue the conversation through advocacy and policy.
The summit, titled Make This Moment Count: Summit on Domestic Violence was held at the USC University Club, Los Angeles, on October 28 as part of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It featured approximately 100 community leaders, academicians and students from the USC School of Social Work. Speakers discussed domestic violence, the status of care and how communities can respond to domestic violence.
Participants included Dean of the USC School of Social Work Marilyn Flynn; Sister Anne Kelley, Good Shepherd Shelter executive director; Sherisa Dahlgren with Joyful Heart Foundation; USC School of Social Work and domestic violence expert Professor Carolann Petersen; and Norma Cumpian, domestic violence survivor.
The mission of Good Shepherd Shelter is to stop the generational cycle of domestic violence by providing individualized, comprehensive services and shelter to battered women and their children, and by raising the level of community awareness through advocacy and education.
The USC School of Social Work is among the nation’s top social work graduate programs. The school prepares students for leadership roles in public and private organizations that serve individuals, families and communities in need.