Kristi House and 600 friends and supporters came together for organization’s 7th Annual Breaking the Silence program designed to build awareness and focus attention on the epidemic of child sexual abuse. Leon Medical Centers, Eller-ITO Stevedoring, Commissioner Lynda Bell District 8, Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz District 12, City of Sweetwater Mayor Manuel Maroño and Broad and Cassel Attorneys at Law were sponsors of the luncheon on April 26 held at Jungle Island. The event netted $175,00 in gifts and pledges for Kristi House.
The event Host Committee for the 2013 Breaking the Silence included Michelle & Ken Charles, Bobbie Jones-Wilfork, Lourdes Leon-Vega & Dr. Otto Vega, Loretta & Miguel Nido, Valerie & Cesar Pazmino, Dr. Zandra Rucker and Judy & Juan Trescastro. Fifty-seven Table Captains and community leaders each filled tables of 10 for the major awareness- and fund-raising event.
Nelson Diaz, President of Kristi House Board welcomed guests, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle highlighted Kristi House’s 17-year journey to the present and the unique public-private partnership working on behalf of child sexual abuse and exploitation victims. Executive Director Trudy Novicki presented the vision of Kristi House for the future, and what it means to open Miami’s first safe house for girls who have been victims of sex trafficking.
Guests also heard from survivors, including a special 31-year-old mother “Kristi” who told her compelling story about overcoming trauma she endured. Crediting her therapist and Kristi House Board Member, Dr. Andrea Loeb, for helping her to heal and recover. Another survivor Kathy Andersen—who prefers the term “Thriver” to “Survivor” and who is an international success & wellbeing coach, leadership expert, award-winning author and speaker—shared her odyssey of overcoming familial childhood sexual abuse for many years.
“We launched Breaking the Silence because we believe that as a society we are finally seeing widespread recognition of child sexual abuse as the public health epidemic it is,” Kristi House Executive Director Trudy Novicki said. “You can hardly pick up a newspaper or see the news without hearing a story about child sexual abuse or exploitation. People are speaking out.”
In addition, a talented staff member, Sarah Gali, and her brother Frank Gali, performed two songs, “The Climb” and “Can’t Help to Fall in Love with You.”
Kristi House was founded 17 years ago to bring together the legal, medical and emotional support services needed to help child sexual abuse victims and their non-offending family members. Kristi House serves as the Children’s Advocacy Center for all of Miami-Dade County, working closely with seven other agency partners.
Kristi House is located in the Health District at 1265 NW 12 Avenue, next to the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital campus. Its south facility is located on U.S. 1 and 152nd and its north facility is located at 18441 NW and 2nd Avenue. Founded in 1996, Kristi House has served more than 10,000 victims of child sexual abuse and their families. Thousands more are reached every year with education and prevention outreach programs. Services include case coordination/case management, therapy, comprehensive assessments, transportation, advocacy and emergency assistance. Visit www.kristihouse.org for more details.