Each year, we recognize individuals and organizations that have made substantial contributions to our cause of ending sexual violence. Because we did not have a ceremony in 2012, we presented awards for both 2012 and 2013 during our Gratitude Gala in April:
- The Mary Ann Chap Award for Community Service was presented to El Centro Hispano, Stephanie Willis of Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, and Megan & Gary Crunkleton.
- The Margaret Henderson Award for Service & Self-Care was presented to Brendan Moylan of Sports Endeavors, Inc.
- The Margaret Barrett Award for Advocacy was presented to La Conexión and Kim Grooms of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro YMCA.
As a thank you for all the work they’ve done to further our cause, we’d like to share the speeches that staff members gave recognizing each recipient’s contributions.
Mary Ann Chap Award for Community Service
This award is given to those who have made major contributions toward achieving the Center’s mission: to stop sexual violence through support, education, and advocacy.
El Centro Hispano
El Centro Hispano is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the Latino community and improving the quality of life for Latino residents in Chapel, Carrboro, Durham and surrounding areas. They accomplish this mission through their commitment to service, education and community organizing. Since 1992, they have grown from serving 200 people in a church basement in Durham to serving more than 11,000 community members out of their Carrboro and Durham locations.
Since El Centro’s founding, the population of Latino residents in our area has grown drastically. And as the Latino population has grown, so has El Centro Hispano, which is now the largest grassroots Latino organization in North Carolina. When our agency began to explore how to better reach the Latino community, we did not have to look any further than El Centro. They provide legal services, employment advice, education, youth leadership development, literacy education, and much more. We knew that partnering with El Centro would allow us to help survivors in the Latino community.
For the past two years, our Latino Services Coordinator, Maria Morales Levy, has kept office hours at El Centro’s Carrboro office. With support and acknowledgement from El Centro, we have become a welcome and trusted agency in the Latino community. Over the past two years, the number of Spanish-speaking clients we served increased by over 400 percent.
El Centro, it is an honor for us to work with you to provide support and services to the Latino community, and we are looking forward to continuing to grow our efforts together in the years ahead.
We also would like to acknowledge another community partner that really… gets it. She understands how vital it is that all children (and the adults in their lives) are equipped with language, skills, and confidence to protect themselves from unwanted touch, and to understand their rights and responsibilities as young people. Stephanie Willis is the cornerstone of health education in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City schools, and has for many years been a steadfast supporter of our SafeTouch programs in the elementary schools as well as our StartStrong programs in middle and high schools.
It is in large part thanks to Stephanie’s advocacy as the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools’ district health coordinator that the SafeTouch program is an unquestionable part of the CHCCS student experience, and that every student in the district will grow up confident in the knowledge that they have a right to be safe, and that there are adults around them who care passionately about keeping them safe.
As a member of the education team at the Center, I have had many opportunities to witness first-hand what Stephanie’s commitment to kids looks like. Whether she is responding to a parent’s questions, coordinating opportunities for us to meet with counselors, or helping a new administrator understand the importance of the partnership between our agencies, Stephanie can be counted on to go to bat for the best interest of the students.
Knowing with confidence that Stephanie is in our corner is a unique blessing. And as if counting on her support were not enough, we have also benefited enormously from Stephanie’s ability to get others on board. When we revised our SafeTouch programs last summer, Stephanie pulled together a committee of parents, staff, and teachers to help us out. And when we expanded our programming 6 years ago into the middle schools, it was Stephanie who paved the way. We thank you, Stephanie, for laying the groundwork that allows for our prevention education programming to grow and evolve in the CHCCS district.
Megan & Gary Crunkleton
Megan and Gary Crunkleton are inspiring supporters of the anti-violence cause. Through volunteering at the Center in multiple capacities for several years, it is clear that the Crunkletons both care deeply about the Center and our mission to stop sexual violence. Megan first became involved as a community educator—working to provide prevention education and training to children throughout the County.
And even outside of their official capacities over the years – from Community Educator to donor to advisor – they both also ‘talk the talk’. Megan will not hesitate to talk to you about how important it is to teach children about their personal safety and how to draw boundaries around their personal space. Her classroom experience as a Community Educator with the Center gives her many talking points to draw upon as she teaches those around her.
And Gary speaks from the heart when he talks about his experiences. In his early years as a bartender, he heard many stories about the use of alcohol in sexual violence. These experiences encouraged him to learn about preventing violence and supporting survivors, to speak out against violence, and to encourage others to be active bystanders.
Now, as bar owners themselves, Megan and Gary use their unique position in the community to work as advocates and supporters.
The Crunkletons are playing a crucial role in a new community-wide campaign to educate and raise awareness among bar owners and patrons with the goal of preventing violence before it even happens. In conjunction with the Center and UNC’s Violence Prevention Office, the Crunkletons are working with local law enforcement, student groups, and business owners in Chapel Hill to help prevent sexual assault.
The Center is greatly honored to have the support of such outstanding citizens. Megan and Gary Crunkleton are the kind of people who help transform our vision to end sexual violence into a reality.
Margaret Henderson Award for Service & Self-Care
This award recognizes a person within the Orange County Rape Crisis Center family who has exhibited outstanding service in furtherance of the Center’s mission while also modeling principles of life-balance and self-care.
This year we would like to honor Brendan Moylan. As co-founder and now Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Sports Endeavors, Brendan demonstrates a high level of community service. In 1991, Brendan and his brother Michael created the Passback program, donating soccer balls and uniforms to people in Malawi. In addition to this global reach, Brendan dedicates a large amount of time to local non-profits, especially those involving kids in literacy, service-learning, character development, and of course, soccer.
Brendan deeply cares about improving the lives of children, from his involvement in the soccer community to his dedication to safety education. Brendan began his involvement with the Center as a Community Educator, teaching elementary school students how to stay safe and where to find help when they need it. From there, he served as the Center’s Board President, where his financial expertise helped the Center build our programs and plan for the future.
Brendan was especially supportive in encouraging the Center to improve its technology – in 1999, only two staff members had email access, and the email was so slow that they hardly ever checked it! Thanks to Brendan’s encouragement, I can now say that we all have email – and we are always checking it. Brendan has continued to support the Center in many ways. He has been a long-time supporter of the Center’s Annual Holiday Auction and has served as an Advisory Council Member to the agency since his board term ended.
From Brendan, to his brother Michael, and their parents, the Moylans are a shining example of how one can be of service, and we applaud all of you for that.
Margaret Barrett Award for Advocacy
This award recognizes an individual or organization who has worked to affect change around the issue of sexual violence.
In 1995, La Conexion became the first established Hispanic Newspaper in North Carolina. La Conexión has brought together a team of professionals who are committed to serve, inform, and connect the Latino community throughout the United States. The paper has extensive coverage in North Carolina, mainly in the Piedmont area, with distribution points in more than 20 counties in North Carolina. They produce 21,000 free copies of their magazine every week, and have over 80,000 weekly readers.
Both we and La Conexion believe in the significant role that the media plays in educating and helping our communities. In their tireless efforts to serve the community, La Conexion began working with the Center two years ago to create a way to best educate their readers about issues of interpersonal violence. Out of this partnership, “Breaking the Silence” was born. This monthly column provides the Center with the opportunity to educate about preventing sexual violence, promote healthy relationships, and share available services and resources.
Since then, more members of the Latino community know not only about services available at the Center, but services available throughout the state. More importantly, people know that they are not alone, and that someone is available to help.
La Conexion is proof that together we can be a tremendous force for change and that we all can play a role in ending violence in our communities. We are very honored and privileged to work with La Conexion as advocates, and we thank you for all of your hard work.
Kim Grooms has a vision for kids. As Executive Branch Director of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro YMCA and as a parent, Kim has devoted both her personal and professional life to putting action behind her vision that all kids deserve to lead happy, healthy, and productive lives. It is this vision, matched with her tenacity and willingness to get things done, that has made her such an effective advocate for the prevention of child sexual abuse in Orange County.
In 2010, Kim was introduced to the Darkness2Light model for child sexual abuse prevention. Because she has a vision, Kim immediately knew that this must work in Chapel Hill. And because of the expansive nature of her vision, Kim also knew that it would only work if the community owned it. So she got to work mobilizing her many community contacts to create more than just a program—to create a movement. The Darkness2Light model for community change is ambitious: change the culture of a community such that there is no longer a place for child sexual abuse to occur. What does it take to change a community? To take a taboo topic and make it central to the community’s consciousness? It takes work. It takes time. It takes collaboration. And it takes vision.
The Center is honored to be partners in the Orange-Chatham-Durham Darkness2Light Coalition to end child sexual abuse through adult education. This adult education model is the perfect complement to the SafeTouch programs that we have presented for 30 years to local elementary school children. We applaud Kim and the rest of the Darkness2Light Coalition for recognizing the urgency of child sexual abuse prevention in our community, and for rolling up their sleeves to engage parents, teachers, businesses, soccer clubs, government agencies, and anyone else who will listen. Because when an organization like the YMCA takes a stand and says “This is important,” people listen.
In a 2011 interview with Fifteen 501 Magazine, Kim stated that at the YMCA, “(They) believe that every child deserves the chance to discover who they are and what they can achieve in a safe and nurturing environment, and that’s why partnering with Darkness to Light …is so important…”
Thank you, Kim, for taking that stand. We will continue to stand with you.