Lindsey Salcido, CAHC’s Central Valley Program Coordinator for the Healthy Relationships and Economic Pathways (H-REP) Program, attended the Peace for Families March hosted by one of CAHC’s H-REP partners, Valley Crisis Center, on October 26, 2017. Read about Lindsey’s wonderful experience below!
Excited for the event to began, I arrived at the Los Banos Community Center 30 minutes before the start time. To prepare our H-REP booth for the festivities, I carefully draped the H-REP table in a white tablecloth and adorned it with our H-REP banner and logo décor. The table was filled with H-REP water bottles, pens, notepads, and coloring pages—a fun activity for any kids that might visit our booth!
All event participants were instructed by the DJ to walk outside of the event center where we were greeted by an inspiring sight: the sidewalk was lined with over 150 people walking towards the Community Center, holding signs and chanting, “There’s no excuse for domestic abuse, stop the violence!” Those walking stopped at the doors of the Community Center. A few gathered released purple balloons in honor of those freed from domestic violence.
Once the walk was finished, those attending the event entered the Community Center to make their way around to the various booths set up. Valley Crisis Center had a table at the front of the venue full of large baskets brimming with raffle prizes. One special guest speaker, herself a survivor of domestic abuse, shared her testimony of how she had been involved in a violent relationship where she lacked the freedom to even use the restroom on her own. She went on to share how our partner organization, Valley Crisis Center, helped her free herself from the domestic violence.
Monica Rocha, the tech instructor at Merced County Office of Education, joined me at the H-REP booth where we asked those passing by to describe what a healthy relationship looks like to them. Many of the youth shouted out things like “Trust!” and “Loyalty!” Other common answers included “having a job” and “getting along.” Monica shared with the youth that healthy relationships are not just between spouses or romatic partners, but also with our siblings, parents, and coworkers. One younger boy attending had a broken arm. I asked him how he had broken his arm and he shared that he had gotten into a fight with his brother. After speaking with us further, he confirmed that he needs help with a healthy relationship with his brother.
Much to my delight, children and adults both gathered to color the H-REP logo and ask questions about the program. After their questions were answered, they filled their reusable bags provided by Valley Crisis Center with H-REP pens and water bottles. The event was an amazing opportunity to spread the good news about H-REP and mingle with the Los Banos community. The turnout was great and I look forward to bringing H-REP back to Los Banos!