“When we started, we just wanted to help women who needed help. We didn’t necessarily know what we were doing,” says Doris Camp, one of four “Founding Mothers” of A Woman’s Place, Bucks County’s only domestic violence organization, which will close its year-long 40th anniversary celebration this summer. “I think that’s the lesson of AWP,” she continues, “you don’t need to wait until you have it all figured out. Doing something is better than doing nothing.”
It is that can-do spirit of grassroots community activism that has kept A Woman’s Place growing in both the level and types of services offered over the past 40 years.
Starting as a small storefront drop-in center in Sellersville, A Woman’s Place has grown to include a 24-hour hotline; emergency shelter services; legal assistance and court accompaniment; training and community education to thousands of students, law enforcement personnel, and medical professionals; and multiple empowerment programs which help clients put their lives back together and reach their own personal place of flourishing.
A Woman’s Place programs are completely free of charge to each and every client, and generous donations from the Bucks County community make that possible.
“All along, it’s been grassroots,” said Director of Philanthropy Heather S. Giampapa, “the spirit of this place has always been many people coming together to become more than the sum of its parts. We see the 40 for 40 campaign as a way to honor that history.”
The 40 for 40 campaign is calling on the Bucks County community to forego lattes for a week or skip that dinner out in order to donate $40 to promote safety, prevention, and empowerment for everyone. “It’s not necessarily much money from any one person,” Heather says, “but together, we can raise funds to help thousands of A Woman’s Place clients find safety and strength.”
To stress the impact a $40 donation can have, A Woman’s Place has been taking to social media to share videos and infographics about all that can be accomplished with just $40. For example, $40 can deliver 1 hour of trauma informed supportive counseling to an AWP client or provide training to approximately 200 medical professionals on how to recognize and respond to incidents of domestic violence.
AWP supporter Mimi Steele was among the first to donate $40 to the campaign: “It’s a good feeling, knowing you will be protecting someone experiencing abuse,” Mimi said. “A Woman’s Place is part of Bucks County history. Helping to be a part of that while making a difference to someone’s life right here in our community makes you feel good!”
A Woman’s Place has enjoyed an exceptional 40th anniversary celebration over the past year, garnering the support of over 400 trained volunteers, hosting highly attended events including the renowned Chocolate Lovers’ Fantasy in April, and experiencing the expansion of the organization’s capacity to serve thanks to a major gift from the estate of glass-ceiling-shattering chemist Janet Ollinger, who willed a significant gift to AWP upon the sad event of her passing in 2015.
Your chance to be a part of A Woman’s Place’s 40 for 40 campaign will continue until June 30th. To learn more, visit A Woman’s Place on Facebook or visit www.awomansplace.org.