The lobby of the Hilton was filled with decorations and fancily dressed patrons on Saturday night in honor of Crossroads Safehouse Tenth annual fundraising gala.
The evening began with a silent auction, before relocating to the ballroom for dinner, auctioning and speakers, including the keynote speaker, Kira Kasantsev — a.k.a. Miss America.
Professor Phillip Risbeck’s summer graphic design course at Colorado State University created designs for Crossroads Safehouse and the top three students’ work were displayed at the gala.
Britney Rosenquist, who recently graduated with a degree in graphic design, had her work displayed. As a survivor of domestic violence, the assignment was personal.
“I actually almost dropped the class when I heard what we were doing, because I didn’t want it to bring back any memories or anything like that, but I ended up sticking with it and the ladies that we were working with were really helpful in every situation,” Rosenquistv said.
Her decision to follow through with the class and learn more about the organization proved helpful to her.
“It was kind of like a healing process for me just for learning what Crossroads Safehouse does and how they help men and women and children and everybody,” Rosenquist said.
Tess Heffernan, a member on the Board of Directors, helped bring Kasantsev to the event.
“She’s young, but she’s experienced domestic violence herself, she’s a professional, so she knows how to get the message across,” Heffernan said.
Kasantsev’s speech lived up to expectations. She emphasized the severity of domestic violence in this country before moving on to focus on a need for awareness and change.
“We can pass laws, but changing people’s minds is how we’re actually going to do something about this issue,” she said.
Multiple auctions were held to help Crossroads Safehouse raise money.
“We need to raise money. I mean, quite frankly, the reason we ask people to come here is for their generosity, their heart, and we’re hoping that they will support this organization, because it’s a non-profit organization. It’s very heavily dependent on donations,” Heffernan said.
Pat Parker, the director of programs/operations at Crossroads Safehouse looked forward to this annual gathering of volunteers and supporters of the organization.
“It’s a chance for us to celebrate with our donors,” Parker said. “A lot of these people we’ve met over the years and they come to some of our events. So it’s kind of fun, because we can celebrate with them and it’s heart-touching, because we have some speakers that will touch your heart and awareness raising,”
Aside from donors and awareness, the organization relies heavily on their volunteers.
“We would not exist is we didn’t have a really large core of volunteers,” Heffernan said. “It would just be really hard to operate. I don’t think we could afford it.”
Miss America wanted people to understand that socioeconomic status, race and gender have no effect on whether someone will deal with domestic violence, but instead said that the person suffering could easily be your next door neighbor, making it everyone’s issue.
“We need to start asking loudly and boldly, ‘what can we do to help?’” she said.
Collegian A&E Writer Cassie Maack can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @maackcl.