2023 is Hopeful Horizons’ 40th anniversary and on Nov. 2, we celebrated with a special gathering of board members past and present, staff members past and present, donors and community partners.
Following are remarks made during the event by Board of Directors’ Vice Chair Angela Simmons and Hopeful Horizons’ CEO Kristin Dubrowski.
Good evening, everyone. I’m thrilled to be with you this evening as we gather to celebrate a remarkable milestone – the 40th anniversary of Hopeful Horizons. This is truly a momentous occasion. It is a demonstration of the unwavering commitment and dedication of the organization, as well as a testament to the incredible support from our community.
For four decades the organization has been at the forefront of creating safer communities by changing the culture of violence and offering a path to healing. The merger of Hope Haven and Citizens Opposed to Domestic Abuse (CODA) in January of 2017 marked a pivotal moment in the organization’s history. This union brought together two organizations with a combined legacy of nearly 70 years of service. CODA, with its invaluable contributions in providing shelter, legal services, counseling, advocacy, and outreach to survivors of domestic violence, seamlessly joined forces with Hope Haven, the area’s support system for children and victims of sexual assault. The organization now stands as a beacon of hope, and a sanctuary for survivors of child abuse, domestic violence, and sexual assault.
As the organization celebrates its 40th anniversary, we are immensely grateful for the unwavering support of our community, volunteers, and staff who have worked tirelessly to make the Hopeful Horizon’s vision a reality. Together you’ve worked to empower survivors, educate the public, and advocate for change. We very much look forward to the future, knowing that with your continued support and the hard work of the staff, Hopeful Horizons will continue to provide much needed support to survivors.
Before I leave the podium, I would also like to recognize and thank two special guests. First, I’d like to thank the Fourteenth Circuit Solicitor, Duffie Stone. I would also like to recognize the executive director of the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Sara Barber. Thank you both for your support.
Thank you all so much for being a part of this celebration and for standing with us in the pursuit of a safer and more compassionate world. Please know that you are appreciated.
I am excited to have so many people in the room who have been connected to the organization in so many ways over the last 40 years – volunteers, board members, staff, partner organizations, donors – thank you all for being here!
I’d also like to take a moment to recognize the staff committee that worked so hard to make this event beautiful and memorable – especially Erin Hall, Kirsty Fitzgibbons and Jean Brown.
AND, thank you to our amazing event underwriters for making this celebration possible!
I’ve worked for Hopeful Horizons for almost 20 years. I started working for CODA in 2004 and became the executive director in 2007. If you would have told me then what the organization would grow to become by 2023, I don’t think I would have believed you.
Hopeful Horizons has become the amazing organization it is today because of all of you – our community, our extended Hopeful Horizons’ family.
Since 1983, we have grown from a crisis line to an organization that provides comprehensive victim services out of five locations across the Lowcountry – services including emergency shelter, therapy, forensic interviews and medical evaluations, civil legal services, transitional housing, hospital accompaniment, case management and advocacy. We also provide prevention programs for youth, community education, professional trainings and the Strengthening Families Program.
Your support and partnership ensures that Hopeful Horizons is here to assist the more than 1,200 local victims and survivors of child abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault who reach out for help each year.
Additionally, your support and partnership ensures that we are able to raise awareness and work to prevent and eliminate violence and abuse.
In preparation for this event, I had so much fun looking through scrapbooks and photo albums and hearing stories about the early years. I especially want to thank Sharon Stewart and Shirley Parsons for their time and insight along with Beth Young, Marian Lindsey and Terri Brashears for their help planning this event and Mary Fairbanks, the official historian of CODA.
40 years is a big deal! And while looking back is fun and it’s exciting to see the progress that’s been made, we still have a lot of work to do. And when I say “we” I mean all of us – our Hopeful Horizons family, our community, our state.
I don’t know what the next 40 years will hold for Hopeful Horizons, but I’d like to imagine we’ll be a lot closer to ending child abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault.
Investing in and expanding primary prevention efforts with youth is key – while still being able provide comprehensive services for people who are being victimized.
To really be able to change the culture of violence and build healthier, safer communities, our response to victims – and to perpetrators - will also need to evolve.
One of the primary reasons CODA and Hope Haven merged to become Hopeful Horizons was to be able to provide more holistic services to individuals and families who, many times, are dealing with multiple types of victimization across generations and family members.
We also see people who are harmed, harming each other and harming other people.
Many of the families we work with want to find ways to stay intact in one form or another, without continuing to live in an atmosphere of fear and abuse. How can we help make that happen?
How can we hold the person who has done the harm accountable for ensuring their family’s safety – rather than expecting the person or people who have been harmed to stay safe?
There are a lot of questions left to answer and a lot of work left to do, but Hopeful Horizons is up for the challenge – and I bet you, our extended family, our community, are up for the challenge, too, because that means a safer, healthier community for all of us to enjoy.
Thank you again for all your support and partnership. Together – we ARE ending abuse and changing lives.
Before we shift into our Legacy of Hope Awards, I want to give special thanks to:
Our Photographer: Caitlin Bentley
Our Musician: Ash Holland
Tim Waz of Grounded Running for lending us his Sound Equipment
Lindsay Gifford for designing the Anniversary Logo & Invitation
Legacy of Hope Awards
So many people have played such a significant role in making Hopeful Horizons what it has become today, but I can truly say that it’s unlikely we would be here celebrating our 40th anniversary if it wasn’t for the two individuals we’ll be honoring tonight.
Our first award recipient is volunteer Cinda Seamon. She couldn’t be here tonight but sent her thoughts that I’d like to share.
Happy anniversary, Hopeful Horizons! It's amazing how far you have come. From The Rape Crisis Center to Hope Cottage to Hope Haven to Hopeful Horizons, what a difference you have made in so many lives. You can be proud of all the levels of expertise you have added, all the additional services you now offer and the wide-reaching impact you have made. Not only do you have an accomplished board and top-notch paid staff, but also so many wonderful and dedicated volunteers. Wishing you continued success and I look forward to many more anniversaries with such an impressive organization!
I have the honor and privilege of introducing an amazing and inspiring individual. Our next Legacy of Hope honoree, Shirley Parsons, is the founder of Citizens Against Rape. Hopeful Horizons would literally not exist without Shirley’s belief that no victim of sexual assault should ever have to endure what happened to them alone. Shirley’s vision and tenacity made critical services available for victims and survivors in this part of the Lowcountry.
Thank you, once again, for being here tonight. Thanks to our partners, supporters, volunteers and board members. AND thanks to Hopeful Horizons’ staff for their dedication and commitment. I am so lucky to work with you!