Henrico County VA
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Safe Harbor Offers Support, Hope

Safe Harbor Public Information Officer Angela Verdery (left) and Community Organizing Manager Stacie Vecchietti(center) join 2010 Volunteer of the Year Lauren Leggett at an awards ceremony.
The Safe Harbor Shelter stands up for victims of domestic violence and is backed by a passionate support staff.

The non-profit shelter offers supportive services for men, women and children who have experienced intimate partner violence. It provides an emergency temporary safe house that’s open to current or past victims of domestic violence 24 hours a day.

Since April 2000, the shelter has been serving people in Henrico County and Metro Richmond.  The organization offers a 24 hour hotline (\287-7877), community counseling, court advocacy, hospital accompaniment and emergency shelter for adults and children.

Safe Harbor has seven volunteer teams for court advocacy, children’s advocacy, house, community outreach, marketing/events, hospital accompaniment and a volunteer engagement team for the community to get involved.  

“We also provide education and outreach about the issue of intimate partner violence and how Safe Harbor services can support those experiencing violence,” said Angela Verdery, public information officer for Safe Harbor.

Last year, the shelter provided more than 2,000 hours of support and group services to individuals and families and offered more than 3,000 nights in their shelters.

The shelter recently formed the Regional Hospital Response Team (RHART) with Hanover Safe Place and the YWCA for survivors who need medical attention at local hospitals. Safe Harbor constantly works with domestic violence victims who seek advice, support and a place to stay while they get back on their feet.
“Safe Harbor serves over 40 survivors of intimate partner violence on an average day,” said Verdery.

There are three other women and children shelters in the area, but Safe Harbor is the only one available for victims in Henrico County. It operates entirely from donations and occasional grants; many of its services are carried out by volunteers. Safe Harbor has trained nearly 4,000 people to provide assistance on topics related to domestic violence and other services it offers.

Currently, the shelter is in desperate need of GRTC bus tickets and gift cards for retail stores such as Kroger, Wal-Mart, Target and CVS to help families with limited resources. “Bus tickets enable our clients to get to work and appointments, while gift cards offer the opportunity to purchase needed items not readily available in our pantry,” Verdery said. The organization also provides a wish list on its website – http://www.safeharborshelter.com – of all the items that it regularly needs.

Lauren Leggett has been volunteering with the shelter since 2008 as an advocate and working the 24-hour hotline. She interacts with clients and callers to provide resources and support. She also works with the Child Advocacy, Community Outreach/Education, and Volunteer Engagement Teams.  

“Helping to stop intimate partner violence has been an interest of mine since college," she said. "In early 2008, I was searching for a new volunteer job, came across Safe Harbor’s call for volunteers and went to the training, which is what really motivated me to work for the agency."

Leggett said that the experience has been wonderful for her, and she's made a number of different connections to members of the community.

“The staff is amazing, full of supportive and friendly people who never treat me as if I’m 'just' a volunteer,” she said.

The shelter is always looking to expand its volunteer base. Volunteers can gain as much from the experience as those they help, Leggett said.

“This commitment to the betterment of lives affected by intimate partner violence helps to strengthen the relationships in our community and build up knowledge to help improve future generations’ interpersonal relationships,” she said.

For details, visit http://www.safeharborshelter.com.


Community

Garden tails

The threat of bad weather didn’t keep visitors away from Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden July 10 for the facility’s weekly Flowers After 5 event (which pairs music and food with a chance to stroll the garden) and its monthly Fidos After 5 (which allows dog owners to bring their pets with them to enjoy the evening). > Read more.

Western Henrico Rotary helps fund Midwives For Haiti Jeep


Thanks in part to a $10,000 gift from the Western Henrico Rotary Club, another bright pink Jeep modified to travel extremely rough terrain has been delivered to Midwives For Haiti so that more pregnant women in the quake-ravaged country will have access to prenatal care and a greater chance of surviving childbirth.

The funds were raised at the annual casino night held in February, club president Adam Cherry said. The Rotary Club also helped purchase the Virginia-based charity’s first pink jeep three years ago. > Read more.

Agencies combine on new entry point to Chickahominy


Canoeing and kayaking enthusiasts soon will have a new access point to the Chickahominy River. VDOT, the James River Association and Henrico County Parks and Recreation are teaming up to establish a new site in Eastern Henrico.

The James River Association negotiated the deal with VDOT to procure official access to the area located just east of I-295 on North Airport Road in Sandston. The site includes a park-and-ride commuter lot bordering the Chickahominy River and has been an unofficial launch site used by paddlers for years. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Is there an Echo in here?

‘Earth to Echo’ aims to become this generation’s ‘ET’
It’s no secret that all found-footage genre movies are the same. Grab a couple of characters, give one of them a camera, and expose them to something supernatural that’s content to lurk just off-screen until the last five minutes. Everything else will just fall into place.

But that formula isn’t particularly family friendly, if only because that thing waiting a few feet to the left of the cast is usually plotting their violent doom.

That’s what sets Earth to Echo apart from the pack. It, too, follows a group of characters armed with a camera and a tendency to encounter unknown life forms. But all those familiar parts have been rearranged just enough to make it suitable for a much younger audience. > Read more.

Weekend Top 10


An eclectic array of events are taking place this weekend throughout the county. In the West End, we have the Richmond Wedding Expo, the Under the Stars Family Film Series and Henrico Theatre Company’s production of “Pump Boys and Dinettes.” In the eastern part of the county, we have a blood drive at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center, Gallmeyer Farm’s annual Sweet Corn Festival and an origami workshop at Fairfield Library. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

New Italian restaurant opens in Short Pump

Charlottesville's Bella’s Restaurant recently opened a location in Short Pump Village, at 11408 West Broad Street. The restaurant is owned by Valeria Biesnti, a native of Rome who arrived in the U.S. at age 21 and later became a U.S. citizen. With her restaurants, Bisenti has sought to create an ambiance that welcomes diners in a casual setting, like her favorites from her hometown. > Read more.

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Tuckahoe Library, 1901 Starling Dr., will host the workshop “DIY Kitchen Cosmetics” at 2 p.m. Make your own moisturizing sugar scrub, tasty lip gloss and more using simple household ingredients.… Full text

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