Local nonprofit organization Women’s Own Worth will soon host its annual gala event, WOWapalooza, Friday, Oct. 7., from 5:30 pm to 8:30 p.m., at the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion.
Women’s Own Worth, or WOW, focuses on empowering victims of domestic violence and survivors of violent crime through supportive self-worth opportunities. The organization works to connect survivors to a statewide network of services helping promote sustainability and independence.
Emceed by Elicia Dover, award-winning host of KATV’s Good Afternoon Arkansas, the fundraiser will include live music, dinner and wonderful live and silent auction items. WOW has selected Dawn Jones as its Woman of the Year recipient, who will be honored during the event.
Also included is the great musical talent of Mark Harmon – the country singer-songwriter of American Idol fame – who enjoys giving of his renown and artistry in service to various philanthropic causes.
WOWapalooza guests will also hear from the program’s founder, Jajuan Archer, and survivors’ testimonials, and pay tribute to names of women who, tragically, did not succeed in escaping their attackers.
WOW’s 2022 Woman of the Year, Dawn Jones, is being honored with this award in light of her tireless volunteer service for a variety of philanthropic organizations, despite being a working mom of two small boys. Her determined dedication to these efforts, including with a local food pantry, for Opus, for children’s tumor research and with WOW, set an incredible example which others can follow.
WOW was founded by Jajuan Archer after she faced a repeated life-threatening situation with an ex-boyfriend. The experience made her realize both her own needs for support and healing and the need for greater resources for other Arkansan women navigating similar intimate partner dangers.
Since its start, WOW has facilitated women’s healing so they can more fully realize their inherent value. Empowerment occurs as WOW connects survivors of domestic violence, violent crime and other trauma with a network of services. Facilitating and often financing support, WOW specifically connects survivors to resources such as the following – support groups for survivors; relationships with mental health specialists who employ evidence-based, trauma-informed therapies; self-expression and self-care through art therapy, yoga and more, and parenting, life and professional skills. Such resources are impacting countless women’s lives.
WOW has also embarked upon an ambitious project to provide multiple families with long-term transitional housing as they rebuild their lives in safety, love and wholeness. This WOW Pocket Community project has already broken ground in constructing homes for numerous survivors and their families.
In fact, half of this year’s WOWapalooza’s proceeds will benefit the two-acre building project. Such a setting is critical in helping foster a safe haven. The importance of this domestic tranquility for these women cannot be overstated. They have taken pivotal steps to change the trajectory of not only their lives, but also the futures of their children, in breaking cycles (and often generational ones at that) of violence and abuse.
WOWapolooza is led by a committee of women who are survivors themselves, have a family member directly impacted by domestic violence and/or harbor a personal calling to end domestic violence and cyclical trauma in their communities. To bolster WOW’s mission and effectiveness, these women bring professional expertise in education, medicine, law, faith, politics and administration.
Among sponsors of this year’s event are Skin Fix Med Spa, Sissy’s Log Cabin, Benihana, LKQ, Bassett Home Furnishings, Argenta Counseling, The Hunt Design Group, Garver, Diamond State Counseling Group, Move Realty, Dennis Bost of State Farm Insurance, Town Pump, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, Elder Independence Home Care, Centennial Bank, Dream Big For Arkansas and JCD Consulting.
WOW’s Board includes Representative Charlene Fite and Licensed Counselor Kellee McCoy. Fite represents District 80 (including parts of Crawford and Washington Counties), where she has been a four-term member of the Arkansas House of Representatives. McCoy is passionate about his clients of all ages developing healthy perceptions of themselves, finding healing from trauma and taking positive steps through a tough life change.
No one deserves to live in fear, especially not of those she or he cares about and loves the most. Yet, the statistics are alarming. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, reports show (and these numbers only reflect those who have reported) at least one in three women and at least one in ten men will experience domestic violence in their lives. Intimate partner violence has accounted for 20% of all violent crime, half of all murders of women and 96% of female victims in murder-suicides. Furthermore, people with disabilities are significantly more likely to be victims of abuse. Between 21% and 60% of victims of intimate partner abuse lose employment due to issues stemming from the abuse. Finally, even though a majority of domestic violence victims are female, domestic violence does not discriminate and afflicts people of all abilities, races, genders, sexual orientations, ages, educational and socioeconomic levels.
If you know someone who is in an unsafe relationship, and or you wish to develop your understanding of steps toward being safe, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline 800-799-7233, or visit their website.
To learn more about how you can benefit from WOW’s services or how to volunteer to help an Arkansan who might need its services, please visit the organization’s website. To purchase tickets for the event, please click here. To sponsor WOWapalooza, please visit here.
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