PCAR, the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, is looking forward to hosting its 6th annual Vision of Hope Gala at the Hershey Lodge on March 31. PCAR and the NSVRC (National Sexual
Violence Resource Center) launched the Vision of Hope Fund in 2005 to raise awareness and funds to prevent sexual abuse and help victims heal. Since its inception, the Vision of Hope Fund has raised more than $900,000.
Each year, PCAR solicits proposals for requests to fund research and effective prevention strategies for sexual abuse. Grants up to $50,000 are awarded annually to advance the mission of increasing child safety through adult responsibility and accountability. PCAR’s Vision of Hope Fund backs programs that are making a difference across the state. The Fund has supported Internet safety programs for parents, education for family physicians and training for professionals who are mandated reporters of child abuse.
This year’s Gala will feature a keynote address from former NFL linebacker Al Chesley. When Al was 13 years old he was repeatedly sexually abused by a police officer and has made it his mission to courageously share his story so that children will be better protected against people who commit sexual offenses. Al has advocated for children’s rights legislation in Arizona, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia that would increase rights and protections for child sexual abuse victims and survivors. The National Center for Victims of Crime recognized Al for his courage and advocacy with their 2011 Leadership Award.
“Al’s courage to speak about being sexually abused as a child after decades of silence is truly inspiring,” PCAR CEO Delilah Rumburg said. “Like many survivors of child sexual abuse, Al was afraid of being stigmatized and perhaps even shunned by the world of professional sports. He was unaware that many of his personal struggles were part of the terrible harm caused by sexual abuse. But each time Al speaks publicly about his experiences, he provides encouragement for others to tell their story, get help, and realize that the abuse was not their fault. PCAR is honored to have Al share his story at our Gala.”
The evening will also feature a silent auction preview and reception followed by dinner, a live auction, presentation of the Vision of Hope Award and dancing. Proceeds from the evening will benefit advances in areas of research, effective prevention strategies and adult accountability to prevent sexual abuse.
Limited tickets are still available; to reserve tickets, visit visionofhopefund.org.
About the Vision of Hope Award:
PCAR established the Vision of Hope Award in 2006 to recognize people who have made a difference in the lives of children through outstanding contributions in the area of child sexual abuse prevention. The award is presented annually to an individual that demonstrates a commitment to ensuring the safety of our children by increasing awareness, strengthening policies or creating initiatives/campaigns that promote healthy families and communities.
This year’s Vision of Hope award will be presented to Berks County resident Cathleen Palm who cofounded the Protect Our Children Committee in 2003 and currently serves as Executive Director. Through her work on the committee, she pressed for video testimony of child victims, advocated for child abuse prevention funding, called for critical examination of child fatalities and helped to enact state legislation requiring every county to convene multidisciplinary fatality and near-fatality reviews. Her work also aided in the creation of the Task Force on Child Protection.
For more information on the Vision of Hope Fund, or to reserve tickets for the 6th annual Gala, visit visionofhopefund.org.
The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape is the oldest state anti-sexual violence coalition in the U.S. The organization represents 50 sexual assault centers that serve the state’s 67 counties. Each year these centers provide confidential services, at no charge, to more than 30,000 men, women and children affected by sexual abuse.