Each year since 2003, the Mary Byron Project selects winners of our Celebrating Solutions Awards. This process takes months, as we receive hundreds of wonderful applications from every state in the union. Our application is an easy one, but our criteria for our award is strict. Each program must be innovative, and been proven to be effective (with appropriate data to back up the claim). The award comes with a $10,000 unrestricted grant, and the “bragging rights” to show they stood out as an exemplary program. We utilize several committees with nationally known experts to separate the many terrific programs with excellent success from the truly innovative ones. It is not an easy task, and our volunteers who sign on to help us take their job very seriously.
Here are our winning programs:
2010 Celebrating Solutions Awards Winning Programs
1. Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project: Cambridge, MA
As New England’s only Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender domestic violence service agency, the GMDVP supports victims and survivors through education, advocacy and direct services, including operating one of the only GBT safehomes in the country.
2. Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence, Inc.: Bowie, MD
The Domestic Violence Lethality Assessment Program (LAP) – Maryland Model: The LAP provides: 1.) a simple, user friendly evidence-based 11 question lethality screening tool that identifies victims of domestic violence who are at risk of being seriously injured or killed by their intimate partners; 2.) on the spot referral protocol that immediately connects high risk victims to the domestic violence service provider in their area; and 3) supportive follow-up phone calls or visits to victims.
3. Southcentral Foundation: Anchorage, AK
Family Wellness Warrior Initiative: FWWI was designed by and for Alaska Native people and is carried out within the context of native organizations and communities. Men are actively involved in FWWI development; standing up and fighting for their families, and calling for other Alaska native men to reclaim their roles as protectors of family wellness. FWWI training is a transformative experience; the alumni emerge from it with the ability to relate and respond to others in healthier ways.
4. Texas RioGrande Legal Aid: Weslaco, Texas
Legal Alliance for Rural Survivors of Abuse (Formerly LARS, Legal Access to Rural Shelters): The goal of the project is to meet the need for coordinated, comprehensive legal services for victims of domestic violence in south, central, and west Texas. It is the only service in Texas that links attorneys providing free civil legal aid directly to 25 rural and urban shelters and crisis centers in a 68-county service area. In addition to meeting the immediate needs of domestic violence victims by obtaining protective orders and safety planning, a holistic approach is taken to address other legal needs including: helping clients obtain victim’s compensation, securing divorces and child custody, accessing safe housing, and ensuring that employment rights are upheld.
Our application process has closed for 2011, but we look forward to continuing this award for years to come. It is our hope that someday we can afford to reward more than 4 programs, and perhaps add something to our $10,000 for each.
These programs and the ones who received our award in years past show that we can make a difference for victims everywhere if we as a society begin to search for programs that go beyond crisis management and then implement them. Think of the impact we could have….