Raising one’s voice against violence and abuse is a simple, yet incredibly important action. Charles Ramsay of Cleveland, Ohio, raised his voice and called the authorities when he believed a young girl was the victim of domestic violence dispute — this young girl, Amanda Berry, was in fact a kidnapped victim and had suffered horrific abuse.

This is exactly the kind of action CALM (Child Abuse Listening Mediation) aims to encourage through its annual “I Will Not Be Silent” Campaign held throughout the month of April, which is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. All month long, CALM worked toward raising both community awareness and critical funds for child abuse prevention and treatment. CALM invited the public to join them in a community-wide effort to raise a collective voice against child abuse and to pledge support to the “I Will Not Be Silent” Campaign.

“Through our efforts and outreach, our goal is to create a community of responsibility,” said Cecilia Rodriguez, executive director of CALM. “By raising awareness surrounding child abuse prevention, more people are coming forward and recognizing that they need help. This has been demonstrated by our growing waiting list of people needing our services.”

To help educate the communities that CALM serves in the Santa Barbara and Santa Maria region, CALM hosted several free public events and its second annual “I Will Not Be Silent” Silent Gala & Auction. CALM held open houses at its Santa Barbara and Santa Maria offices, where they introduced close to 200 people to CALM’s work. At the Children’s Resource and Referral Center Conference in Santa Maria, CALM staff members shared their expertise in treating postpartum depression and in positive parenting. CALM’s first ever Community Lecture open to the public in Santa Barbara, entitled “Building Resiliency in Your Child,” delivered an important message about parenting to parents, families and community members.

In addition to raising voices, CALM raised approximately $18,000 in unrestricted donations, which will be matched. CALM also held its second annual online Silent Auction, which reached many new bidders and connected them with CALM. Every dollar from sponsorships, donations and the online auction goes directly to supporting CALM’s critical programs and services that prevent, assess and treat child abuse in Santa Barbara County.

CALM was also recognized throughout the Santa Barbara downtown region, with their flags flying on State Street, and through the central display case in the Santa Barbara Library, which showcased important information about CALM’s services in the community. Visibility of CALM and their services have been at an all-time high with the agency’s PSA airing on both KCOY and KEYT.

“When we raise our voices up against abuse and neglect, we are helping to save the lives of both victims and potential victims,” Rodriguez said.

A CALM client's artwork from an Art Therapy session. (CALM photo)

A CALM client’s artwork from an Art Therapy session. (CALM photo)

CALM would like to take this opportunity to send a genuine and heartfelt thanks to the Santa Barbara County communities for the overwhelming support of the “I Will Not Be Silent” campaign. Particular thanks go out to Agatha Aldisert, Rosa and Michael Alvarado, Susan Bais, Margo and Jeff Barbakow, Bartlett, Pringle & Wolf LLP, Stephen Blain and Paul Guido, Judith Blankenship, Anne and Edward Blaschke, Nancy & Tom Bollay, Kevin Bourke, Bower Foundation, Caryl & Steve Bowman, Eleanor Byrne, Cabana Home, Louise & Tim Casey, Linda Clough, Susan Conger, Margaret Connell, Janice Cooper, D’Arcy and Mark Cornwall, Sharon and Michael Crandall, Eleanor and Jack Cunningham, Delores and Walter David, Janet Davis, Deanna and Jim Dehlsen, Ann and Robert Diener, Molly and Ben Diener, Ginni and Chad Dreier, Patricia and Larry Durham, Karen Engberg, Neil Korpinen and Rick Erickson, Bridget and Mark Foreman, FTI Services Inc., Setsuko and Dennis Furuike, Kevin Geer, Girls Scouts of California Central Coast-Troop 503, Lori and Rabbi Evan Goodman, Mary and Rowland Hanson, Gail and Roger Haupt of the Thistle and Rose Foundation, Madeline Heimark, the Herbert & Gertrude Latkin Charitable Foundation, Deborah Holmes and Craig Park, Nancy and Karl Hutterer, the Hutton Parker Foundation, the Invest in Others Charitable Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Donald Jackson, Elaine Jacobs, Kristine Jacquin, JM Construction, Sarah and Dr. Frederick Kass, Linda Adler-Kassner and Scott Kassner, Deborah Kleiner, Shirley and James Kodak, Anna and Petar Kokotovic, Kim Liscombe, Marilyn Magid, Jane Manasse, MarBorg Industries, Marketing Express, Marcelle Martin, the McCune Foundation, Rosemary and Dan Moll, Montecito Union School PTA, Rosemary and Dana Morck, Susan and Ron Morrow, Carolyn and Liam Murphy, Joanne and Robert Nelson, Yvonne and Andy Neumann, Ray Olmstead, the Orfalea Foundation, Rosemary Peters, Stacy and Ron Pulice, April and Gil Reyes, Riviera Insurance Services, Sagrario Ruiz, Kelly and Jonathan Samuels, Beverly and Maxwell Sanders, the Santa Barbara Foundation, the Santa Ynez Valley Rotary Club Foundation, Ruth and Bernard Schaeffer, Maryan and Richard Schall, Vicki and Dale Schumacher, Richard Silver, Bui and Herbert Simon, Gina Bifano and Ken Skiff, Sally and Jay Smith, Leah and Robert Temkin, Louise Tighe, the Susanne and Gary Tobey Family Foundation, Dr. Carrie Towbes, Ph.D. and Dr. John Lewis, Sandra and Sam Tyler, the Volentine Family Foundation, Harold Wayne, the Williams Corbett Foundation, Marcia and James Wolfe, Theresa Yandell, Yardi Systems, Anne and Stephen Yungling, Victor Zilinskas, Sheila and Jim Zimmerman, and numerous anonymous supporters.

This was a communitywide effort, and CALM would also like to thank its nonprofit partners CASA of Santa Barbara County, Channel Islands YMCA, Child Abuse Prevention Council, Easy Lift Transportation, Family Service Agency, Partners in Education, Santa Barbara Museum on Natural History, and Storyteller Children’s Center, and media sponsors CASA Magazine, KDB-93.7/FM Classical Music, KEYT-TV, KCOY, the Santa Barbara Independent, the Santa Barbara News-Press, and Santa Maria Times.

CALM would also like to thank the individuals and companies who donated their products, experiences and services to the online auction: Linda Adler-Kassner, Rosa and Michael Alvarado, Byron Bartlett, Beach Club Athletics, Dan Bifano, Blossom Salon, Nancy and Tom Bollay, Bragg Farms, Cabana Home, Carlyle Salon, Ciao Bella, Circle Bar B Guest Ranch and Stables, Cloud Star, Cat Cora, Curtis Winery, Darin Jon Salon, Deckers Outdoor Corporation, Derek Moore’s InFitness, Downey’s, El Encanto, Orient Express, Firestone Walker Brewery, Float Luxury Spa, For Paws Salon, Forever Beautiful Spa, Tom Garcia, The Gibson, Fuhring & Siefert Families, The Granada Theatre, Gustafson Dance, Mary & Rowland Hanson, The Henry Family, Island Brewery, Suzanne Landry, Cindy & Steve Lyons, Mareva Intl., Mark Halper Fine Art Photography, Miss Behavin’, Moms in Motion, Paradise Café, Peaches, Erin Pearson, Stephanie Rachford, Janice Ristow, Santa Barbara Athletic Club, Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, Santa Barbara Polo and Racquet Club, Santa Barbara Running, Santa Barbara Zoo, Santa Maria Valley YMCA, Christine Scott, Meredith & John Scott, Stephanie and Jim Sokolove, and an anonymous donor.

A final thank you goes out to CALM’s “I Will Not Be Silent!” chairwoman D’Arcy Cornwall. Because so many of you were not silent, the community’s children and families can enjoy living in a community of responsibility.

There continue to be many ways to get involved with CALM. Come in for a visit at either the Santa Barbara or Santa Maria offices, donate to CALM’s efforts, and Raise Your Voice against child abuse. Unfortunately, child abuse does happen every day, in many forms — violence, sexual, neglect — and it continues to go unreported. CALM will continue to fight against child abuse for as long as it takes. Pledge your support today, raise your voice and join CALM’s “I Will Not Be Silent” Campaign.

— Jennifer Guess is a publicist representing CALM.