#Glass4good: Harbor House of Central Florida’s Purple Purse Campaign

For many of us it’s hard to believe a loved one, especially a spouse, could ever raise a hand to us or an eyebrow to others. But it happens. More often than one might think or even notice, and the numbers are staggering. 42.4 million women and 1 in 10 men have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

Many years ago, I ended up being stalked by a guy I dated at work. He was never emotionally or physically abusive to me, and was really sweet… until I tried to break it off with him. He wasn’t happy about it, and started displaying some peculiar – and eventually scary – behavior. And when I stopped answering his calls and avoiding him at work? He responded by showing up to my house in the middle of the night and largely carving his initials in two of my tires. I never reported this, mind you, to my employer or the authorities. Why? Because it never went beyond this scary action. Thankfully, I have never heard from him again. Other women, men and pets aren’t as lucky.

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence defines domestic violence as the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, threats, and emotional abuse. The frequency and severity of domestic violence can vary dramatically.

Here in our Central Florida community, we are very fortunate to have Harbor House of Central Florida on our side. Harbor House’s mission is to provide safe shelter, a 24-hour crisis hotline, counseling, and emotional support, and legal advocacy for thousands of domestic violence survivors and their children each year. According to Michelle Palmer, Central Florida’s Chief Development Officer, they extend far beyond Central Florida in many cases. “What most people don’t realize is there’s a tremendous correlation between domestic abuse and economic abuse. One of the reasons women don’t leave often is financial abuse because they don’t know where the money is, nothing’s in their name, they don’t have the means to leave and they feel trapped.” You can help, and they even have an app to help YOU – R3 (Recognize, Response, Refer) App (iOS / Android).

Enter: The Allstate Foundation Purple Purse Challenge, a fundraising campaign for charities benefiting domestic violence Survivors. Michelle and our friends at Harbor House of Central Florida are very excited and rightfully so! “The Allstate Foundation is sponsoring! We were actually privileged to be chosen as part of a small group of organizations nationally to talk about economic empowerment and what that means,” said Michelle during last week’s kick-off event at Kate Spade in Mall at Millenia.

What we’re doing right now through the Purple Purse Campaign is trying to communicate – What does it MEAN to be financially empowered? What does it look like? We’re trying to raise the awareness so people understand the importance of, “I have my name on my bank accounts. I have an equal say in where our money is spent and where our money is saved. I know where our money is,” and elevate that discussion to a national level. We’re proud to be a part of that, and Kate Spade is helping us launch that effort tonight.

What a night it was! Kate Spade Millenia donated a gorgeous purple purse. Also, Gifn goofiness happened. We even participated in a Google+ Hangout on Air with Chef Dennis inside Kate Spade! Couldn’t make it out to the launch party? Don’t worry! The Purple Purse Challenge runs from September 2nd to October 3rd. Our friends at Harbor House of Central Florida promise more fun soon. Make sure to keep an eye peeled on their Twitter, Facebook and Google+ accounts for more activities, contests and some REALLY COOL prizes.

Thanks to Kate Spade and their stellar Purple Purse Challenge launch party, everyone who attended and donated helped make Harbor House of Central Florida a Top Ten organization and earned them $5,500 in donation matches from the Allstate Foundation!

[For all of you savvy online shoppers, Amazon Smile is also stepping up to the plate. Shop online using https://smile.amazon.com and Amazon will support Survivors with your purchase.]

If you know of anyone in crisis, or are in crisis yourself, please call Harbor House of Central Florida’s 24-Hour Crisis Hotline (407) 886-2856 | (TDD)  1-800-500-1119 (FL) or 911. Find out more about how you can help Harbor House of Central Florida by visiting their website, http://www.harborhousefl.com. Together we can #EndTheSilence.

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#glass4good: Orange County’s #YearOfTransformation

I have been a proud resident of Orange County in Orlando, Florida for as long as I can remember. Despite being a 3rd generation transplant, Orlando has always felt like home to my family. What vacationing families and visiting companies sometimes forget is, people DO actually live here. Have roots here. Families of 3rd and 4th generation natives (although rare now) DO exist! Tourism is, no doubt, one of our biggest industries but there is MUCH more to this area than our (wonderful!) theme parks and attractions.

This morning’s State of the County address was one of hope and determination.

In the past couple of years, we have seen steady growth in many local sectors. In the next year Mayor Jacobs promises we will see more and has even invited members of the community to be Social Media Ambassadors. Mayor Jacobs is the first sitting mayor in Florida to feature a Social Media Ambassador program in her State of the County address. Alongside a core group of Orlando’s best and brightest, I am honored to be one of them! The spirit of this program falls in line with what #Glass4good is all about, so to me it was a no-brainer.

We’re transforming the way we create infrastructure and how we get around,” says Mayor Jacobs. She even communicated in Spanish, “Me da mucha alegría poder compartir este día especial con todos ustedes y me siento bendecida de poder vivir en el Condado de Orange.” Translated means: “I am very happy to share this special day with you all and I feel blessed to live in Orange County.

Along with several great partnerships, she is championing The Year of Transformation in Orange County. “There are so many things happening right now. It’s amazing!” says the Mayor in our chat with her below.

In her State of the County address this morning, Mayor Jacobs gave many shout outs to the tech community and digital entrepreneurs saying, “Thank you for engaging our online community and for sharing our message through Google Glass and Social Media. With Google Glass in the room, I guess it won’t surprise you to learn that we are legitimately cool? That’s right… there’s proof!”-  motioning over TO US!

Also noteworthy! Some newer, some known info;

Connect with Mayor Jacobs online on Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | OCConnect

Keep up with Orange County on your smartphone!

OCFL 311                     Android | iOS

OCFL Alert                  Android | iOS

NEW! OCFL News   Android | iOS

**In honor of D-Day,  please take 12 minutes to learn more about the first female American pilots of World War II by checking out Orange TV GM Bill Suchy’s documentary, Silver Wings, Shattered Dreams: The Long Road to Redemption.