Monday, October 3, 2016

Dear Supporters:

Last year’s PeaceWatch cover letter from Executive Director, Donna Garske, focused on “What a Difference a Name Makes.” The organization’s name change from Marin Abused Women’s Services (MAWS) to Center for Domestic Peace (C4DP) expresses our vision towards the future and our commitment to domestic peace. With the adoption of this new name, it has been our priority to broaden our reach and dive deeper in our work with those impacted by domestic violence.

In this newsletter, we showcase several areas where those “deep dive” impacts are being made, including in our new “In This Together” therapeutic program with children who have witnessed domestic violence and their survivor parents. Prevention and outreach efforts with teens experiencing dating abuse have expanded to include a county-wide media campaign, and we have just launched a marketing effort to engage affluent women in seeking help from C4DP. Building on our tradition of profiling staff who make the powerful work of C4DP come alive, in this edition you will meet Luz Alvarado, a key member of our management team whose dedication and passion leads our Community Advocacy Program. We also highlight success stories from the “StartUP” fund.

We sincerely hope you will join us at our annual free breakfast event, “Changing the Future for Children” on Friday, October 14 at 8:15 AM at Phil Lesh’s Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael. Come celebrate our work with children, hear inspirational stories of children C4DP has helped, and witness the multigenerational impact of C4DP’s work.

Lastly, we look forward to 2017, as it marks our historic 40th anniversary of working together to end domestic violence. It takes all of us, across every gender and community, every age group and social class, actively working together as an undivided force, to end domestic violence. We thank you and wish you peace,

Natasha Singh &  Kim Tsuchimoto

C4DP Board Co-Chairs

Children, The Unintended Victims

“I remember this one little boy, I’ll call him Charlie,” reflects Angela Weikel, Center for Domestic Peace’s (C4DP) Bilingual Treatment Case Manager for the “In This Together” (ITT) program. “His abusive father used to break Charlie’s video games to scare him. One day, the little boy broke one by accident, and he was petrified. What came out later in group therapy was that he was frightened he was going to turn out like his dad.”

Charlie’s mother and brother first came to C4DP’s emergency shelter to escape physical and emotional abuse from Charlie’s father. Later, in the Second Step transitional housing program,they began attending the new ITT program for survivor parents and their children. In this program, families meet with clinical therapist in a group setting to explore, discover, heal, and thrive. They use art therapy, creative play, singing, talking, and much more. Since its first session in June of 2015, 66 parents and 88 children have participated in ITT groups.

For years, Charlie and his older brother carried a lot of guilt, especially for a particularly violent night when they were the ones to call the police in fear of their very own father. Their mom also had layers of guilt, anger, and sadness to work through. In ITT, the family finally found a safe place to address the trauma together.

What we know is that domestic violence can have a devastating impact on a
survivor parent, as well as children who witness the abuse.

The ITT program came out of C4DP’s desire to offer more in-depth help for children and
youth who witness domestic violence. To that end, in 2014 C4DP set out to build on the
strength of an existing jointly-funded, three-year partnership with Huckleberry Youth
Programs and applied for expanded funding from the Office on Violence Against Women.
The project was selected as one of 9 in the country that year to address the needs of children who have been exposed to domestic violence. This funding has set the stage for Marin to become a model for the rest of the nation. The project is creating a system-wide response for children, youth, and young adults impacted by domestic violence and dating abuse through prevention, intervention, and treatment services, which include:

   1. Therapy groups (ITT program) for children and youth, 0-18 years old, who have
   witnessed domestic violence, along with their survivor parents.

   2. Specialized advocacy and support for youth victims, 11-24 years old (Marin Youth

   3. Increased prevention efforts in Marin schools, as well as for youth and young
   adults not currently in school, through a youth leadership committee (Marin
   Against Youth Abuse).

   4. Training for community providers and educators on strategies they can use
   onsite and in the moment to prevent future abuse and increase safety.

   5. Development of a network of comprehensive services for children, youth, and
   young adults impacted by dating and domestic violence that will include the
   establishment of screening and referral policies.

At one of the therapy sessions, Charlie drew a boat to represent himself and his family, a storm that represented his dad, and a lighthouse that represented C4DP. This metaphorical activity depicts families working through the storm of domestic violence.

“My family will be OK,” Charlie said at a recent group of mothers and children. Even though he had to testify in court against his father, he firmly stated, “We are going to be happy.” In June, Charlie and his family left Second Step and secured permanent housing in Marin County.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

"StartUP Fund" Scholarships Put to Good Use

As we wrote about in our Spring Newsgram, the Peter E. Haas Jr. Family Fund has donated $10,000 twice, for a total of $20,000 toward a “StartUP Fund” to help women in our transitional housing program remove barriers to furthering their education and careers when no other resources could be found. Since the start of the StartUP Fund in 2015, C4DP has provided scholarships to 12 women, with 5 stories included below (all names have been changed).
1. Tamara always dreamed of having her own business. Drawing on her experience from having worked providing cleaning services for a company, she decided to start her business in Marin. After receiving the StartUP Fund, she was able to complete all the legalization and registration of her business, including registering the fictitious name of her business, obtaining the tax ID number, and registering and obtaining the required permits with the city of Novato. She decided to incorporate environmental practices and bought only green cleaning supplies. She has been able to secure a few houses and is focusing on expanding her business, with the goal of hiring some employees. She exited Second Step and is working with Habitat for Humanity to be able to buy a home in the area. She is grateful for being able to own a business, which allows her to attend to her number one priority, her children.

2. Beatriz represents the meaning of perseverance. She applied in 3 different
rounds and completed 3 applications before she was granted a StartUP Fund scholarship. The first time she completed an application, she had some idea of a possible business but no concrete goals. The application process turned into a learning experience. With support from her mother and our advocate, she was able to complete the application on her third try with a good business plan. She started a         

jewelry business in which she designs personalized jewelry. As a mother of 5 children, she enjoys working from home, and even her children help her by marketing her creations at school. Additionally, as someone that requires special considerations due to her safety, she decided not to add her name to her products and completed the registration of the business with a fictitious name. Inspired by her own entrepreneurial spirit, she has also become an Uber driver. She wears the jewelry she makes while driving clients and markets her business when she receives a compliment. With all the financial implications that having a business means, Beatriz strongly believes that the scholarship changed her
perspective about life and self-esteem. The idea of having her own business
makes her feel proud of herself and motivated to do more.


3. Roxanne was already a business owner of a hair salon in the area. During the last few years, she was keeping it afloat but was struggling to bring in new clients. She wanted to be able to offer options of coloring hair with healthier products, but the cost to implement such an addition was too expensive, especially because she planned to offer a more ecological option with no ammonia. After receiving the grant, she was able to purchase an array of different colors to offer to clients. “These new products are bringing more and more clients. A lot of people bring their friends, and some of them ask for very crazy colors!” Roxanne now has about two customers per day asking for color, while a few months ago she did one or two per month. She estimates at least $85.00 in additional income per client. Roxanne relates, “From now on I can continue to provide this line in any color. This is transforming my business!”

4. Brenda showcases one of    
the most beautiful stories of perseverance and determination. Recently, she completed an intensive training to become a construction worker and join the trades. She was able to graduate from the program, even though she had very limited English proficiency, no access to childcare, and no transportation. With solid determination, she graduated from the program and obtained the certificate to become an apprentice in the construction field. Very soon after graduating, she had an initial interview with a union representative. At that point, her only challenge was to secure reliable transportation, since that is the main requirement to join any apprentice program. She obtained the funds to buy a vehicle and start her career in the construction trades.


5. Mary had a dream since she was young about creating a line of products for women that will help reduce stress and promote good healthy living. She recently was awarded a scholarship after completing a very comprehensive application that included market projections, P&L statements, and a very well structured line of products that includes baths salts, candles, and stress reduction products. She already registered her business and is in the design phases of her website. She plans to catapult her business as a source of extra income to complement her income from her full-time bookkeeper job.

This Isn't Complicated. It's Just Not Easy: Talking to Your Teens About Sex

Join Center for Domestic Peace in creating social change by breaking the barrier of everything you wanted to know about girls and sex, but were afraid to ask.

Specialized Training for Parents
and Concerned Adults

Date & Time: 7:00-9:00 PM - October 11 & 18
Location: Center for Domestic Peace, 734 A Street, San Rafael
Cost: $45 per workshop
Visit: to register

Center for Domestic Peace is pleased to offer two different trainings to parents and concerned adults to deepen the understanding about the new landscape in which teens are navigating sex and intimacy, and to help attendees learn concrete ways to talk to teens about these issues.

These trainings will:
1. Help you understand where kids are actually getting their sex education and how that
    education may be impacting them.

2. Provide you with tools to best support your teen and communicate with her/him about 

     sex and intimacy.

3. Offer you an opportunity to create connections and build community with other    

     concerned parents and adults. 

October 11: Can We Talk? Navigating Parent/Teen Dynamics
Join us in a lively discussion focusing on what teens in the Bay Area are doing, what they want, what they need, and how, specifically, our role fits into that reality. Concerned adults will leave with a clearer understanding of what their teen is experiencing and strategies to best support them in a way that helps them make more decisions that end in honor and joy
rather than regret, guilt, or shame. Come with tough questions and get real and hopeful answers. 

Workshop led by Charis Denison, whose work is currently featured in the last chapter of Peggy Orenstein’s latest book, Girls and Sex: Navigating the New Landscape.

Registration Link

October 18: An Unsexy Truth: Where Porn Culture is Meeting Children
In the absence of meaningful and ongoing education about sex, intimacy, ethics, and decision making for kids, the porn industry has become the new and most readily accessible sex-ed teacher for kids everywhere. Please join us in a sobering yet much needed discussion
about the effects of porn culture on tweens and teens and what we can do to help them develop the tools they need to protect/honor themselves and each other.
Workshop led by Natasha Singh, who is a sexual literacy educator and youth advocate.
For more information and to register visit

Registration Link

Girls & Sex: A Courageous Conversation with Peggy Orenstein

Following the May “In Celebration of Mothers” Luncheon keynoted by Peggy Orenstein,
Center for Domestic Peace hosted an informal evening event in Mill Valley with Peggy and
275 community members for an intergenerational dialogue about girls and sex. Interviewed
by Marin Academy senior, Olivia Fisher-Smith, Peggy covered many topics from her latest book regarding the new and complicated landscape for girls around the thorny subject of sex and intimacy. Also participating in the open question and answer session was Natasha Singh, sexual literacy educator, youth advocate, and C4DP board co-chair, along with Charis Denison, a youth advocate and expert in human development, ethics, and social justice & community involvement.

What came to light at this gathering, as Peggy covered extensively in her book, is that the
experience of intimacy and sex for young women today still places them in a vulnerable state
– even with the great strides of the women’s movement and progress in the workforce. From
social media to internet pornography, the landscape is very different today. The internet has
replaced sex education for many, with pornography impacting the way boys see girls and girls see themselves. Our culture places an emphasis on fear before pleasure, stressing pregnancy, STDs, and HIV as important issues around intimacy, never mentioning the joy, beauty, and freedom of what sexuality and intimacy can be for two young people.

Many girls today are confused, believing they are empowered in so many ways outside the
bedroom, but the power dynamic in relationships is not in their favor. Many are doing things they don’t want to do and don’t feel they have a voice to say that it doesn’t feel good. Many girls look for social acceptance and self-worth in others, taking the abuse to “keep the boy” or misinterpreting the abuse as care and affection. And boys are victims of what they see in the media, in video games, and the way our culture systematically portrays women.

So why do we care? Because this is where domestic violence finds its roots. This is where young girls begin to accept the notion that they are less worthy than their partners. This is where power over, not power with, begins to take hold. Nationally 1 in 3 teens report dating abuse, and in a 2015 survey of youth in Marin, 38% of respondents noted they or a friend had directly experienced dating abuse.

So what can we do?
1. We can begin with self-reflection of our own experience, and educate others about
how we want to be treated.

2. We can be uncomfortable and make the time anyway to talk to our middle school children
and teens about how they feel, what their experience is like, and what is important to them.

3. We can go to our schools and demand that sex education and teen clinics are a safe and
integral part of the school’s offerings.

4. We can form mother’s groups to gather and discuss our children’s sexuality, safety, and our own experiences of sexuality and intimacy.

5. We can ask our young men and women to join C4DP’s Marin Against Youth Abuse and
become an advocate in their own schools and life. They will learn all about the issue,
become empowered themselves, and become a resource for our community.

6. Join C4DP for one of our workshops, described to the right of this article, to receive
specialized training from the two experts who participated in our program on June 7.

“Our daughters deserve sexual encounters that are consensual, respectful, reciprocal, safe and pleasurable. They deserve to be able to express their wishes, needs and limits with a partner and be heard.” Peggy Orenstein

Staff Profile: Luz Alvarado, Community Advocacy Program Manager

Since 1994, Center for Domestic Peace has embodied home for Luz. Originally coming to the organization as a survivor with her two daughters, Luz quickly began volunteering during her stay at transitional housing, and then established herself on the frontlines, providing direct services first primarily as a hotline advocate and Spanish-speaking support group facilitator. She filled the temporary role of bilingual direct response advocate in the Community Advocacy Program (CAP) in early 2003, and by the end of that year, was promoted to a full-time position due to her strong work ethic. Her journey with C4DP continues – 12 years as staff member and counting – as she has served as manager of CAP for the past year. 

Luz’s team is comprised of four direct response advocates whom she works closely with, providing case management and on-going support along with tireless compassion and steady leadership. She has also been a community liaison since 2004, building outstanding relationships with county collaborators – law enforcement, the Marin County District Attorney’s Office, judges, family law attorneys, and community organizations – to enhance safety for victims. 

Furthermore, Luz has been the catalyst in bringing to life C4DP’s community organizing and advocacy group, Voces de Cambio (Voices of Change), a group of volunteers heavily active in outreach, education, and organizing within the Spanish-speaking community in Marin. To witness the transformation of these volunteers – from initial recipients of C4DP’s services to strong voices of empowerment and leadership – is a momentous accomplishment for Luz. Voces de Cambio truly lives up to its name, shaping a “community of change” that continues to break the cycle of violence, starting with children. Luz’s selflessness and devotion are a large part of its success! 
When asked why she has chosen to stay at C4DP, Luz says the emotions she experiences coming to work every day are equivalent to that of winning the lottery. She adds, “I’m going to contribute to a better tomorrow, to end this violence against women and children. The participants we serve are going to have a better tomorrow, for their children and for their children’s children.” 

The opportunity to live a life free of violence, as was given to her and her two daughters two decades ago, inspires Luz, every day, to be the voice for the disempowered and contribute to building social change. Moreover, she credits her two daughters and partner for being an amazing support system; her supervisor, C4DP’s deputy executive director, for exemplifying a great mentor; and her incredible team of CAP advocates. Luz says it is a privilege to be working at a feminist organization and with a board of directors who are strong, intelligent, and independent women.  

Outside of her work here, Luz is adventurous and free-spirited, appreciating the outdoors. She enjoys skiing, hiking, camping, doing yoga at the beach, and hanging out with her best friends, daughters Leasley and Annette.

Youth Campaign Spreads Awareness of Teen Dating Abuse

One in three adolescents in the U.S. is a            
victim of physical, sexual, emotional, or verbal abuse from a dating partner, a figure that far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence. Applying national rates of dating violence to Marin, there could be as many as 13,000 youth/young adults experiencing some form of dating violence in Marin. To that end, Center for Domestic Peace’s (C4DP) youth advocacy division, Marin Against Youth Abuse (MAYA), created a county-wide media campaign this past spring toward ending dating abuse. Funded by a federal grant, the money supports the work of C4DP’s youth prevention program to engage the community in ending dating violence through creation and production of print and video resources. (C4DP is one of three in the state to receive these funds.)

The MAYA committee, made up of 18 youth from around the county, worked through the spring semester to create the materials, refine the messaging, and participate in the photoshoots for these materials.

Katerina Kakkis, 17, said the group started brainstorming late last year on ways to effectively
reach teens across the county. “We thought of ads because they’re big, teens drive everywhere and take the bus, and it’s an easy way to see them,” the San Rafael resident said. “We thought about maybe pins to pass out, or opening a booth at a farmers market. One of my favorite ideas was ads at movie theaters. We thought it was a really easy, quick way to reach a big audience, especially with young people.”

The anti-dating-violence campaign included :15 and :30 second ads that ran in 5 movie theaters, as well as print ads in newspapers and on the sides of city busses.
“Because we live in a privileged county, there’s an assumption
this doesn’t happen to our youth or teens – but it does,” said
Laurel Freeman, prevention supervisor at Center for Domestic Peace. “We see this happening across all socioeconomic and racial backgrounds.”

The MAYA committee members, acting as peer resources for healthy relationships and relationship abuse, learn about identifying unhealthy dating signs through counselor training and participate in awareness activities around the county over the course of the school year.

If you see warning signs in your teen’s relationship, please contact Marin Against Youth
Abuse for advice and referrals. Also, if you know a young person interested in joining the
MAYA committee and becoming an activist for social change, contact us at 415-526-2557 or