A ‘Week Without Violence’ begins Monday

For Toni Gormley, the YWCA has been a life raft amid a sea of abuse and addiction. Now she spends 20-40 hours a week rescuing others.

“I had experienced every type of abuse ... except for one. That was death,” Gormley said. She first reached to out YWCA services in Pierce County in 1990.

“I was a scared, abused, confused battered woman with a family,” Gormley recalled. She attended mandatory support group meetings and learned how to break the cycle of abuse and codependency. She, as with many of the women the YWCA helps, has become one of their biggest advocates and volunteers.

She and six other individuals and organizations will be honored Wednesday at the 26th YWCA Unity Luncheon. The event, scheduled for 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. at Mary Mac’s Restaurant, is part of a “Week Without Violence” Oct. 18-22.

The week’s events begin with a vigil and survivor’s panel 4-6 p.m. Monday at the YWCA Community Center. A faith forum and workshop is scheduled 10 a.m.-noon Tuesday at the center. Wednesday’s luncheon features Bainbridge Island Mayor Darlene Kordonowy as the keynote speaker. Other honorees include: The Home Builders Association of Kitsap County; T. Nichelle Inman, community services manager for Girl Scout Unit 315; Bainbridge Island Windemere Real Estate; Susan Vitale-Olson, Kitsap County Domestic Violence Task Force; Steve Foster, Poulsbo/ North Kitsap Rotary; and Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church.

A Kids KAMP (Kids are Making Progress) is scheduled for 4-6 p.m. Thursday at the community center. Silent Witness exhibits will be displayed throughout Kitsap County. On Friday, YWCA board members will visit the exhibits and encourage the community to join them.

Gormley moved to Bremerton about a year ago to help her daughter. Almost instantly, Gormley knew she was home. She volunteers with the Kids KAMP program, the “Study Buddies” program at Naval Elementary and has gotten the fledgling professional clothing closet off the ground.

“That shows a lot of courage that despite all the things she’s been through she finds the time and love to give to other people,” said Linda Joyce, executive director for the Kitsap County YWCA.

All of the program directors there began as volunteers and many of the volunteers were receiving services.

“They are a reflection of the work that’s being done in Kitsap County,” Joyce said.

Last year the organization fielded close to 5,000 calls from people seeking information or immediate assistance according to the group’s 2003 annual report.

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