In 1998, President-elect Wendy Timm represented Safe Connections in the sale of its building on Olive and its purchase of its current building on Hampton. While getting to know the organization, Wendy approached Vicki Dolan, then board president, to start a CREW-St. Louis philanthropic outreach. Safe Connections explicitly served women at the time so it was a natural fit for our organization. The mission of Safe Connections has since evolved to reduce the impact and incidence of relationship violence and sexual assault through education, crisis intervention, counseling and support services.
Those conversations in 1998 led to an informal golf outing for CREW-St. Louis members to support Safe Connections. As part of this, Wendy also recruited Crystal Kennedy to chair the first Safe Connections CREW-St. Louis golf tourney. Crystal later served as a board member and president of Safe Connections. The golf tournament became an annual event and raised more than $1 million for the organization over the span of 15 years.
Today, many CREW-St. Louis members support Safe Connections through various efforts-board leadership, table hosting at annual events, volunteering and donations. Current Safe Connections board members include Vicki Dolan, board chair, Monica Conners and Jenny Marler. Former Safe Connections board members from CREW include Amy Garrison and Crystal Kennedy among numerous volunteers and supporters such as Wendy Timm, Nancy Peterson, Merri Cross, Marcia Niedringhaus, Nancy Rodney and Valerie Gaadt, to name a few.
CREW-St. Louis showed its continued support for Safe Connections on April 29 with several members attending the Tenth Annual Together! Brunch. More than 500 women - a record-breaking crowd - participated in the event held at the Ritz Carlton.
Guests browsed the auction items and placed bids, and then enjoyed brunch and heard from the featured survivor, Dr. Cessna Winslow, Professor at Tarleton State University.
"Dr. Winslow did a wonderful job, and I really enjoyed hearing her story," says Lauren Berry, Associate at Gershman Commercial Real Estate, a table sponsor at the Together! Brunch and member of the Communications Committee. "The event was beautifully put together. The venue, auction items, guest speaker and flow of the program were all wonderful. I am very excited to volunteer and contribute again next year," Berry continues.
A Board Member of Safe Connections, Vicki Dolan expresses her excitement on the event's turnout. "Wow! Wow! And Wow!! We broke a record for attendance at 505 ladies. We broke a record for funds raised. A big Safe Connections thank you to all the CREW-St. Louis members who attended and all those who continue to support our mission to fight the incidence and effect of domestic and sexual violence."
Dolan continues, "CREW-St. Louis has always been and will always be an extremely valuable partner in the Safe Connections mission."
Susan D. Kidder, Executive Director of Safe Connections, expresses her gratitude for our longstanding partnership. "Safe Connections is beyond grateful for the 19-year partnership we have had with the women of CREW-St. Louis. Your leadership in helping us end domestic and sexual abuse in St. Louis means so much to the entire community. CREW women help ensure that Safe Connections is here for the 17,000 individuals who call our 24-hour crisis helpline, reach out to us for individual therapy and count on us to provide prevention education programs each year."
If you would like to get involved with or support Safe Connections, contact Vicki Dolan, Safe Connections board president and active CREW-St. Louis member. If you know someone in need of help, call the 24-hour Crisis Helpline at 314-531-2003.
Safe Connections Events:
- April 29 - TOGETHER! Engaging Women • Empowering Girls - The Ritz-Carlton
- August 25 - 2017 Trivia Night - Immaculate Conception Parish - Maplewood
- November 3 - Lotus Ball 2017 - St. Louis Union Station Grand Hall
Recent Safe Connections News:
- Featured on the front page of the Sunday St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
- Executive Director, Susan Kidder, wrote a letter to the editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on the recent domestic-violence related murder-suicides: