‘Shine The Light’ Event To Raise Domestic Violence Awareness

Following the death of one of their own, a local non-profit is hoping to raise awareness on domestic violence

Shari Robbins, 36, an employee of Heritage Ministries — a human service ministry for seniors — was a beloved member of the staff. The organization is hosting an array of events to bring domestic violence awareness to the area starting Thursday and lasting through Nov. 10.

The campaign will coincide with Day of Domestic Violence Awareness being recognized throughout the state.

Robbins died in November 2016 following a reported domestic violence incident while she made her way into work in. Co-workers remembered her as a bright and energetic soul when they spoke to The Post-Journal shortly after her death.

One friend said, “Her kids were her whole world.” Others remembered her steadfast love of Tim Hortons coffee, that she was a “very hard worker” and “always had a smile on her face every day she came in.”

Heritage Ministries said it is committed to making sure it does all it can to prevent a tragedy of this type from impacting their staff or anyone else.

“While there are no words to express the emotions we felt on the day we lost an employee to domestic violence, our goal at Heritage is to raise awareness about the impact that domestic violence has and provide resources for those who are affected,” said Lisa Haglund, Heritage director of marketing and development. “We hope that our efforts will support not only Heritage employees, but the Anew Center, and make a difference in Chautauqua County.”

Statistics show one in four women in the country report experiencing violence by a current or former spouse or boyfriend at some point. On average, one in seven women, and one in 18 men, have been stalked by an intimate partner during their lifetime to the point they felt fearful.

A kick-off event will be held at Heritage Green on Thursday with local officials and a balloon release. On Friday, the Chautauqua Mall will host a “Heritage Rocks” rock painting event from 6-8 p.m. Throughout the event series, “Heritage Rocks” rock painting will be available at all Heritage facilities, as well as domestic violence awareness bulletin boards for those who wish to post encouragements or testimonies. ”

“We Support The Fight Together” handprint banners will be hung in Heritage Ministries facilities from Oct. 27 until Nov. 3.

On Nov. 10, there will be a “Remembering Shari” event at Heritage Green from 1:30-3:30 p.m., including a Shari Initiative Program with the Anew Center at 2 p.m.

Purple “Shine the Light” T-shirts will be available at all Heritage locations for a suggested donation of $10, along with domestic violence awareness bracelets for $2. All proceeds will benefit the Salvation Army Anew Center.

The campaign will also collect donations at all Heritage facilities, including the location at the Chautauqua Mall, for the Anew Center. Donations could include hair brushes, hair ties, nail polish, nail polish remover, manicure sets, note pads, feminine hygiene products, school supplies, slippers, hats and glove and others.

For more information on the events, call 487-6800 or visit www.heritage1886.org.