For 40 years, our organization has strived to do what is right, what is best for survivors. We have worked to stay on top of best practices. We listen to survivor’s stories and needs to inform and guide our work. We read, we explore, we search, we learn, we grow, we challenge, and we think. Staying still and sticking with the status quo has never been good enough. We recognize that social justice work is hard and never ending so we stay committed to the challenge.
On Thursday, we received the Richard F. Huegli Award for Program Excellence from the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan. This award annually recognizes a nonprofit organization in southeast Michigan that has a history of achieving excellence in human services programming. It celebrates Mr. Huegli’s legacy of vision, high standards for programming excellence and belief in human potential.
Like a parent watching their child graduate with honors, we are bursting with pride. This award not only symbolizes our work in the past year but it reflects the efforts of our 40 year history. A compilation of many successes and continual growth. And like the child who is graduating, it isn’t the end of the road. We have not arrived at the end of our work or success, it simply becomes a next step. Until domestic and sexual violence is eliminated, HAVEN will be here, working as hard as ever to see our vision come to fruition.
To us, program excellence means evolving our practices to meet the needs of survivors today and to address the ever changing landscape of social justice. Much has changed in the past 40 years. What worked in 1975 doesn’t necessarily apply in 2015. A great example of that change is in the realm of prevention education. In the last 10 years we have moved from a risk reduction tertiary approach (how not to get raped) to a primary approach (how to stop rape from happening). For those of us who have worked in this field for a long time, this is exciting! This type of best practice approach addresses the root causes of the violence and propels us closer to its elimination.
It is because of the support of the community, we can do this best practice work. In the example of primary prevention, it is solely due to community support, as we have no government funds for our prevention work. Our prevention education programming is funded 100% from the community partners such as the Detroit Lions, GM Foundation, Cooper Standard, as well as individual donors.
We are incredibly honored to not only accept the Richard F. Huegli Award for Program Excellence but to share the glory with those that support us. It is because of the efforts of many that we will one day be able to say that zero women are affected by domestic and sexual violence.