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Impact FCC hosts ‘Impactful Conversations: Empowering Through Education’

From L to R: Kristen Rosenbaum, Co-President of Impact FFC; Cara During, Director of Community Impact, CEE; Ann Rodwell-Lawton, COO, DVCC; Maryellen Frank, Co-Chair Events of Impact FFC; Jenny San Jose, Co-President of Impact FFC. Contributed photo

Impact Fairfield County (“Impact FFC”) recently held its second Impactful Conversation of the 2023-2024 grant year on the topic of “Empowering Through Education”, addressing the work being done to break the cycle of interpersonal violence within Fairfield County. The dynamic panel discussion at The Ashforth Company’s Stamford Square office featured Impact FFC Grantee, The Center for Empowerment and Education (“CEE”), and former Generation Impact grantee, The Domestic Violence Crisis Center (“DVCC”).

Moderated by Maryellen Frank, Co-Chair of Events for Impact FFC, Cara During, Director of Community Impact for CEE, and Ann Rodwell-Lawton, COO of DVCC, discussed the importance of honest and open conversations around interpersonal violence, abuse, consent, trafficking, digital safety and more.

By providing crisis intervention and education to Upper Fairfield County, CEE is working with educators, advocates and students to “help identify what is not just a normal part of growing up,” said During. She continued, “We are much farther along than we were decades ago, but there is still so much shame and stigma around these topics. We’re working to build rapport with students and the community, so that we can have open and honest conversations about relationships, respect, boundaries, as well as teaching about laws and guidelines and providing safety planning and tools.”

With its 2023 Impact FFC Grant, CEE is working to build a state of the art database to be able to identify important trends within the community, adjust and prioritize educational topics as well as building new connections to CEE’s services.

Based in Norwalk and Stamford and serving Lower Fairfield County, DVCC provides counseling and advocacy services for victims of domestic violence and their children. DVCC is seeing an increased need for focus on more complex situations than in the past. “With survivor defined advocacy, DVCC is able to serve our constituents in a more meaningful and impactful way, meeting them where they need help the most,” said Rodwell-Lawton.

Connecticut is one of the first states to roll-out the Lethality Assessment Program (“LAP”), aimed at preventing domestic homicides. DVCC and CEE are key partners in this program, aiding in the first 24 hours of an incident, connecting law enforcement to conduct a screening for intimate partner risk and connecting victims with core advocates and resources. In addition to LAP, DVCC will be advocating for several bills that will be brought to the CT legislation this Spring, surrounding maternal health and victim relief from coerced debt, both major issues for victims of domestic abuse. “Reaching out to your local leaders is one way to assist in this journey,” said Rodwell-Lawton.

Other important discussion points included human trafficking, and educating on the invisible aspects of abuse, which is different than what is portrayed on tv, as there are many emotional, financial, and digital forms which can cause severe trauma, anxiety and other issues for the victims. “Removing the blame from victims is also key”, said During, “as we work to teach victims that they are not at fault, despite what their abuser might tell them.”

“The panel discussion was highly engaging and informative. By shining a light on dedicated organizations such as CEE and DVCC, we hope to be a part of the journey in getting more people to discuss these topics home, in school, and at work, and to ultimately make it easier for people to connect with trusted resources within our community,” said Impact FFC Co-President, Kristen Rosenbaum.

Impact FFC’s 2023-2024 grant year is underway, with the Grant Awards Celebration scheduled for May 8th, 2024 at the Woodway Country Club in Darien, CT.

About Impact FFC: Impact FFC is a collective giving organization whose mission is to empower women to engage in local philanthropy through deeper knowledge and active participation in grantmaking. It unites women by pooling membership funds to provide large, transformational grants to nonprofit organizations across Fairfield County. Since its inception in 2016, Impact FFC has provided over $1.8 million in grant funding to local nonprofits.

For more information or to join Impact FFC, please contact membership@impactffc.org

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