By Alyssa Rupp —

On Dec. 6, make plans to visit Menomonie’s own Waterfront Bar and Grill for the 10th annual “Hope for the Holidays,” to support the fight in eliminating abuse in our community. That’s just what Dr. Susan Wolfgram’s Abuse in the Family class is doing as well, eliminating abuse.

University of Wisconsin–Stout students and community members alike are invited to join together to raise awareness for domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking victims, while raising money to support the cause. The event will be sponsored by students from the Human Development and Family Studies department on the University of Wisconsin-Stout campus, Menomonie’s domestic abuse shelter, and Bridge for Hope, with the Waterfront Bar and Grill hosting the event.The three groups involved also recently teamed up with the national “No More” campaign to promote discussion and action related to abuse issues.

“It’s a social action project as a part of our class, so it’s a way to take our learning out of the classroom and make a difference in the community we live,” sai Katherine Fochs, senior in Human Development and Family Science major and one of the students involved in the event. “To break the silence and really talk about these issues, that’s what we want to do.”

As a fun way to bring life to the issue, “Hope for the Holidays” offers a little something for everyone.  Several speakers, including some from the shelter, will be in attendance to talk about their roles in spreading awareness for domestic violence and there are several ways in which to donate money. You can play bingo, participate in a 50/50 raffle and even enjoy a concert. All proceeds will go directly back to Bridge for Hope, helping to provide for those most in need.

“Funding is constantly being cut and the demand for services is steadily rising [for the shelter] so we’re just trying to help out in any way we can,” Fochs explains.

The event is in its 10th year, which Fochs says is a sign of great success in terms of money raised and community significance. “It’s a big deal,” she notes. “The fact that we’ve been doing this for 10 years, that’s really saying something.”

In addition, the night’s event stresses the importance of student involvement and the role community plays in building up a positive and safe identity.

“Supporting and empowering individuals and the families who have been affected by this violence is such a good way for the community to benefit,” Fochs adds. The group’s goal is to have everyone learn about these situations and become the solution to the problem. “It is everyone’s responsibility to be aware of what is going on in their community; we need to be the voice of the voiceless,” said Fochs.

In light of the recent hate crime committed on Stout’s campus, the event will most likely mention the incident as well and address what people can do to prevent this related type of abuse in the future.

“As a community we need to make sure we’re supporting each other and building people up, not tearing people down,” clarifies Fochs.

If you’re interested in attending the event, visit the Waterfront Bar and Grill on Dec. 6  at 7 p.m. to get your ticket. The cost is $5, but make sure to get there early because they run on a first-come-first-serve basis. Included in admission is a free drink and half-priced appetizers, with a band, Assembly Required, capping off the night at 10 p.m. (the concert is 21 plus).

For more information on the event itself or how you can help abuse victims, visit their Facebook page, “Hope for the Holidays,” or visit nomore.org

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