Volume 14 * Issue 2 * Summer 2017

Reach Report

Mary Dunne accepts Voice for Justice Award


On June 20, friends and supporters of REACH gathered to celebrate the accomplishments of the past year and look ahead to the future at our Annual Meeting. The meeting was held at the Massachusetts Medical Society conference center in Waltham which generously provided delicious food and drinks during the reception before the program started.

Each year at the annual meeting, Executive Director Laura Van Zandt asks attendees to take a moment to reflect on the lives lost to domestic violence during the past 12 months. This year, Laura asked us to consider the recent shooting in Virginia. "Whenever we hear of events such as these, those of us who work on domestic violence know there will be a history of domestic violence uncovered... We have to ask ourselves, how is something so predictable - and therefore potentially preventable - still so probable? In this moment, let's recommit to creating healthier communities - for everyone - by ending domestic violence."

Laura R. Van Zandt
Photo by David Barron


I am thinking about interdependence.  

I woke up on the 4th of July to beautiful weather and a day off for me and my family. How wonderful. And why: because of independence or because of interdependence?

Do any of us function truly independently? Does anyone have all the capacities necessary to live a full life? When the framers talked about independence, they described the ability to have control over our own bodies - physical or governmental - without undue influence from others (people or governments).  Alongside that independence is interdependence in that our person must connect, engage, and in some case rely on other persons. Our government must connect, engage, and in some cases rely on other governmental bodies. The two go together. They must. The framers knew this, for just prior to placing their signatures on the Declaration of Independence, a dangerous and radical act, the founding fathers wrote, "for the support of this Declaration... we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor." Declaring independence was something they did with each other, for each other - not alone for their self-interests. Interdependence was something to celebrate not dread. And it went hand in hand with independence.


REACH recently welcomed our partners from the Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault program at Newton Wellesley Hospital (NWH) to a bimonthly meeting of our Survivor Speakers Bureau to facilitate a discussion incorporating aspects of art therapy. The discussions were part of an ongoing campaign to enable survivor voices to be heard, and to raise awareness among health care providers regarding the challenges faced by domestic violence and sexual assault victims when accessing care.  At this meeting, survivors shared stories, both positive and negative, about encounters they had with the medical system.  Some said they wished their providers had been better about recognizing the signs of abuse. 
Many of them spoke broadly about how the way they were treated affected their willingness to share what was happening; that a brusque and dismissive provider didn't necessarily invite disclosures, but someone who reacted with curiosity and compassion seemed safe and approachable. The NWH team collected projects made by REACH participants as well as survivors from other agencies and posted them to Twitter using the hashtag "I Wish My Team Knew." One of the examples from REACH's group is shown here.  Click here   to see others. 


September 9, 1:00pm
Waltham Neighborhoods Fall Festival
Waltham Public Library
Rain or Shine!
Email Debora Hoffman for more info
Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Consider organizing a paper goods drive for our shelter or community program.
Bring the conversation to your home, place of worship, or school.  Invite REACH to speak in your community.
Schedule a small group discussion, workshop, house party, or speaking event.
Email info@reachma.org for more info
October 14, 6:30pm
Reach for the Stars Gala
InterContinental Boston
Email Courtney Meyer for more info


It's an exciting time here at REACH as we prepare to move into our new office space in the new fiscal year! We'll be updating our blog periodically with information on the construction project and the move. 

Click here for the latest update, which includes some exciting funding news. Since that blog was posted, we are pleased to announce that thanks to the support of   The Furniture Trust and other generous donors, we have covered the desks, chairs, and file cabinets for individual offices! Only a few items remain, but they are important ones. 

Would you be able to help us out by covering the cost of a large conference room white board, or make the reception area a warm and welcoming place for anyone coming into the office? Check out the registry  to see what pieces remain and help us get the rest of the way to our goal!