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Press Releases

Contact Peaceful Paths at
352-377-5690 for more information.

June 12, 2024

Peaceful Paths Appoints Interim CEO

Current Leadership Team member, Crystal Sorrow, will serve as Interim CEO 

 

GAINESVILLE - The Board of Directors of Peaceful Paths, Inc. are pleased to announce that an interim CEO, Crystal Sorrow, has been appointed as their long-term Chief Executive, Dr. Theresa Beachy, moves into a new position locally.  Dr. Beachy has led the agency since July 2000, and is leaving to head the Center for Nonprofit Excellence at the Community Foundation of North Central Florida on October 1, 2024.  

 

Ms. Sorrow stated, “I am incredibly excited to serve as Interim CEO, providing continuity for survivors and their families, as Peaceful Paths celebrates fifty years of service. I anticipate fruitful collaborations with staff and community partners during this transition, and am inspired to continue my career-long work of serving families in the local area.”

 

Dr. Beachy and Ms. Sorrow will serve as co-CEOs from July 1-September 30.  The interim appointed has served as the Director of Education and Youth Programs at Peaceful Paths since 2020, and has over 20 years’ experience leading teams, creating programming, and educating students and the community.  Ms. Sorrow is uniquely qualified to lead the agency in the transition, and will ensure continuity of services.  Peaceful Paths is a recognized best practice center for Domestic Violence programming, and is committed to the mission of saving lives and creating change.  Crystal’s skills and dedication will safeguard the mission over the coming months until the permanent CEO is named. Ms. Sorrow can be reached at csorrow@peacefulpaths.org or by calling 352-377-5690, ext. 506.  

 

For more information on the agency or how you can be an ally in our work, please contact Crystal Sorrow at 352-377-5690 or visit us on the web at www.peacefulpaths.org  

We exist to save lives and create change. 

March 1, 2024

Peaceful Paths Celebrates 50 years of Service to the Tri-County Region

Safety and support to adult and child survivors of Domestic Violence remains the mission

 

GAINESVILLE – Peaceful Paths began its mission in the Gainesville area in March of 1974 as the Rape Information and Counseling Service (RICS), a grassroots organization that was formed to fight against sexual violence. Key local women and men, including pioneers like Fern Nix, Martha Varnes, Janet Presley Larson, Judy Levy, Margaret Parrish, and Harvey Budd, pushed to create services that would keep victims safe when systems offered little protection. In 1976, RICS began to expand its services to include battered women, and in 1977, established a spouse abuse hotline. In September of that year the agency incorporated, the name was changed to the Sexual and Physical Abuse Resource Center to better reflect the changing mission. In January of 1978, SPARC was granted a lease on a shelter site and the shelter opened with its first client on March 30 of that year. In 2000, the agency was rebranded as Peaceful Paths Domestic Abuse Network, Inc. to better reflect the mission to serve survivors of domestic violence and their children.

Over the past 50 years, Peaceful Paths has worked to develop comprehensive residential and outreach programs that save lives and create change for survivors. Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) remains a critical issue in the Alachua, Bradford, and Union County region served by the agency, with over 2500 victims identified annually by law enforcement, child welfare, and other partners in the community. Services are free, confidential, and trauma-informed. Using an empowerment -based model, we work with every survivor where they are to offer safety, support, and a path to self- sufficiency.

Dr. Theresa Beachy, Executive Director, stated: “Peaceful Paths reaching the 50-year anniversary is a milestone achievement that we should celebrate as a community. The fact that we exist and have ongoing impact in this community is a gift. The impact that we have been able to make on survivors since the opening of the shelter in 1978 (over 9200 people in Shelter, more than 40,000 in Outreach) is immeasurable. We are all part of a legacy of hope started by concerned feminist activists, including the first female law enforcement officers in our community like Fern Nix, and we are proud of our Legacy of Hope and the work that we do every day to save lives and create change.”

 

Sally Ryden, Board Chair stated: “ I am honored to serve on the Peaceful Paths Board, and am optimistic that the 50th anniversary events will increase community awareness of our mission and the scope of the domestic violence problem, as well as our excellent programs to help and give hope to survivors.”

 

Joe Johnson, longest serving Board member stated: “Since the mother and my 2 children was a victim of Domestic Violence and losing her life in 1989 leaving my kids without their mother, I have been a very strong advocate and supporter of this issue and proudly serving on this board for over 26
years. Thanks to the great service of the amazing staff, Peaceful Paths has become one of Florida's most recognized agencies for the work being done for Domestic Violence. Collaboration is what it takes for success and that is something that is being done well in the communities served by Peaceful Paths.

 

Alachua County Sheriff Emery Gainey stated: “The partnership between Peaceful Paths and the Alachua County Sheriff's Office is crucial in ensuring that victims have a safe and secure environment to seek shelter and support as they navigate the challenges of domestic violence. This collaboration not only offers a lifeline to those in need but also underscores the importance of community support and coordinated efforts in addressing such critical issues. Congratulations to Peaceful Paths on this significant milestone, and to many more years of making a positive impact in the lives of those affected by domestic violence.”

 

Brian Kramer, State Attorney, Eighth Judicial Circuit stated: “On behalf of the State Attorney’s Office, I want thank Peaceful Paths for their 50 years of service to Alachua, Bradford and Union Counties. Successful prosecution and prevention of incidents of domestic violence cannot happen in a

vacuum. My office relies heavily on the services provided by Peaceful Paths. Their team’s wide programming from prevention, support, and advocacy to training and education are invaluable to their clients, law enforcement, and prosecutors alike. I personally want to thank the Dr. Beachy, this organization and their team for what I know are countless lives saved over the last 50 years in the Eighth Judicial Circuit.”

 

The best measure of the impact is the words of survivors who go on to live the life they choose free of fear, control and violence: “I am beyond grateful for the last year I have spent with Peaceful Paths, and all the healing and growth I have accomplished with your help. I have found a wonderful place to call home. Here’s to new beginnings!” ~ Survivor in residential services

 

To celebrate this milestone, Peaceful Paths is presenting a public exhibition of artwork unlike any in our community. Using loaned works from local artists, collectors, survivors, and youth makers, “Hope Works: A Celebration of Peaceful Paths 50 Years of Saving Lives and Creating Change” will help us generate awareness, allies, and donors to raise $150,000 toward agency investment in our Legacy of Hope. Visit our website for all the information on participating in this unique event: www.peacefulpaths.org/hopeworks

 

You will be able to experience this unique show from April 5-May 5, 2024 at the Peaceful Paths Outreach Office in Gainesville. Throughout the exhibit, a Tree of Hope Mural will be created in our main lobby, featuring the donors and sponsors for the exhibit. On May 5 2024, we will hold the Closing Night for the main exhibit, and the Tree of Hope Mural will be revealed. Survivor artworks will remain open for viewing through October 2024. During the show, we will host private tours, community gatherings, and highlight the Amazing Give event. Your presence and support will make on the difference as we build a Legacy of Hope.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Contact: Dr. Theresa Beachy, Executive Director, Peaceful Paths Domestic Abuse Network, 352-377-5690 theresab@peacefulpaths.org www.peacefulpaths.org

November 27, 2023

Funding Cuts Create Significant Budget Shortfalls for Domestic Violence Centers

Peaceful Paths lost $500,000 in October 2023 and will lose an additional $400,000

in October 2024 due to the reduction of a federal grant, known as the Victims of Crime Act fund

 

GAINESVILLE- Due to a reduction in fines and penalties paid by Federal criminal offenders between 2017-2021, programs across the state are losing vital support. For Peaceful Paths, which provides domestic abuse services for residents of Alachua, Bradford and Union counties, that means a loss of nearly $1 million, or one-third of its budget. Peaceful Paths lost $500,000 in October, with another $400,000 in cuts coming next year. While working toward a long-term solution, critical services across all aspects of Peaceful Paths programs are at risk unless this funding gap can be filled.


What Peaceful Paths lost this year:
• One Lawyer: provides injunction services, referrals and advice to 200 victims annually
• Economic Empowerment Coordinator: provides housing, financial literacy, and case management to over 250 survivors a year
• High Risk Advocate: provides case management to more than 100 victims identified as high risk by police
• Outreach Advocate: provides support to 5-7 survivors walking in for services weekly
• Two Part-time staff at Shelter: provides coverage for helpline, resident services, and facility support, especially during high occupancy periods
• Trauma Counseling Services: Sessions for survivors reduced from 16 to 12 (25% loss)
• Supportive Housing Resources: Supplies and maintenance support for the six Campus apartment units was cut by 75%
• Direct Client Assistance: Cash support for reloca
tion was cut by 75%
• Operations Support: Utility, insurance and office supplies are all cut by 25%


What we will have to cut next year without additional funding:
• Trauma Counseling services
• Supportive Housing support
• Relocation support

• Outreach and Shelter staff (multiple positions)


This cut, which comes at a time of rising operational costs for utilities, food, maintenance and insurance, supports 40% of Peaceful Paths direct client services. As advocacy groups work toward long-term fixes for the Victims of Crime Act Fund, you can help bridge the gap until federal funding returns. Here are the ways to assist domestic abuse survivors immediately:


Donate using our online portal www.peacefulpaths.org/donate
• Consider making your donation recurring and become an Ally in Action or Corporate Partner
• Participate in our Hope Works 50th Anniversary Campaign and Events in 2024
• Provide Pro Bono Legal services to cover reduced staffing
• Contact your state representatives and let them know you support funds being provided for victim safety and support from Florida’s budget
• Contact local commissioners and urge them to support our upcoming funding requests to help fill the gap


“It is only with substantial funding support that we can weather these temporary reductions and not impact services,” said Dr. Theresa Beachy, Executive Director of Peaceful Paths Domestic Abuse Network. “Relationship violence is more prevalent than many people realize, and Peaceful Paths ensures that survivors and their children have a path to safety and support as well as emotional and financial independence. This is an essential need - not an optional one - for any community that cares about protecting and lifting its most vulnerable people. Please consider an investment in your community and survivor services in this time of crisis.”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Contact: Dr. Theresa Beachy, Executive Director, Peaceful Paths Domestic Abuse Network, 352-377-5690 theresab@peacefulpaths.org www.peacefulpaths.org

April 18, 2023

 

Peaceful Paths Receives Matching Funds as Part of Amazing Give 2023

Subaru of Gainesville Shows the Love Locally

#DoSomethingAmazing

 

GAINESVILLE- Subaru of Gainesville is doing something AMAZING for survivors! Peaceful Paths is excited to announce that Subaru of Gainesville will be awarding $25,000 in operations funding as match to the Building Places & Safe Spaces Amazing Give Campaign for 2023.  They challenge the community to Show the Love and help us reach our 25K goal by pledging another 25K matching donation beginning immediately and ending at 8 pm on April 20th.  Chris Baynard of Subaru will be awarding the check at the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the grand reopening on Thursday April 20 at 11:30. Take a tour of the reorganized space and learn more about our Mission in Action saving lives and creating change.    Contribute to this project now at https://www.theamazinggive.org/organizations/peaceful-paths-domestic-abuse-network

 

In the coming months, Peaceful Paths will continue our commitment to survivor safety and support with additional space renovation and expansion. At the Dutton Schilling Housing Campus, we plan to build a covered walkway to give parents and kids coming home to shelter better protection from the elements.  The dogs who come with the families on Campus need a bigger run area outside and this is a major wishlist item.  At the Outreach office, our unified entrance space is complete, but needs some finishing touches, including a sponsor for the reception desk center that will allow us to serve everyone efficiently, and new furniture for the waiting area.  Our goal of $25,000 can complete these projects and will make the Campus and Outreach safer and more accessible. 

 

For more information on how you can be a part of this project now, or for details on the issue, please contact

Dr. Theresa Beachy at 352-377-5690 or visit us on the web at www.peacefulpaths.org/amazinggive 

November 27, 2023

Funding Cuts Create Significant Budget Shortfalls for Domestic Violence Centers

Peaceful Paths lost $500,000 in October 2023 and will lose an additional $400,000

in October 2024 due to the reduction of a federal grant, known as the Victims of Crime Act fund

 

GAINESVILLE- Due to a reduction in fines and penalties paid by Federal criminal offenders between 2017-2021, programs across the state are losing vital support. For Peaceful Paths, which provides domestic abuse services for residents of Alachua, Bradford and Union counties, that means a loss of nearly $1 million, or one-third of its budget. Peaceful Paths lost $500,000 in October, with another $400,000 in cuts coming next year. While working toward a long-term solution, critical services across all aspects of Peaceful Paths programs are at risk unless this funding gap can be filled.


What Peaceful Paths lost this year:
• One Lawyer: provides injunction services, referrals and advice to 200 victims annually
• Economic Empowerment Coordinator: provides housing, financial literacy, and case management to over 250 survivors a year
• High Risk Advocate: provides case management to more than 100 victims identified as high risk by police
• Outreach Advocate: provides support to 5-7 survivors walking in for services weekly
• Two Part-time staff at Shelter: provides coverage for helpline, resident services, and facility support, especially during high occupancy periods
• Trauma Counseling Services: Sessions for survivors reduced from 16 to 12 (25% loss)
• Supportive Housing Resources: Supplies and maintenance support for the six Campus apartment units was cut by 75%
• Direct Client Assistance: Cash support for reloca
tion was cut by 75%
• Operations Support: Utility, insurance and office supplies are all cut by 25%


What we will have to cut next year without additional funding:
• Trauma Counseling services
• Supportive Housing support
• Relocation support

• Outreach and Shelter staff (multiple positions)


This cut, which comes at a time of rising operational costs for utilities, food, maintenance and insurance, supports 40% of Peaceful Paths direct client services. As advocacy groups work toward long-term fixes for the Victims of Crime Act Fund, you can help bridge the gap until federal funding returns. Here are the ways to assist domestic abuse survivors immediately:


Donate using our online portal www.peacefulpaths.org/donate
• Consider making your donation recurring and become an Ally in Action or Corporate Partner
• Participate in our Hope Works 50th Anniversary Campaign and Events in 2024
• Provide Pro Bono Legal services to cover reduced staffing
• Contact your state representatives and let them know you support funds being provided for victim safety and support from Florida’s budget
• Contact local commissioners and urge them to support our upcoming funding requests to help fill the gap


“It is only with substantial funding support that we can weather these temporary reductions and not impact services,” said Dr. Theresa Beachy, Executive Director of Peaceful Paths Domestic Abuse Network. “Relationship violence is more prevalent than many people realize, and Peaceful Paths ensures that survivors and their children have a path to safety and support as well as emotional and financial independence. This is an essential need - not an optional one - for any community that cares about protecting and lifting its most vulnerable people. Please consider an investment in your community and survivor services in this time of crisis.”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Contact: Dr. Theresa Beachy, Executive Director, Peaceful Paths Domestic Abuse Network, 352-377-5690 theresab@peacefulpaths.org www.peacefulpaths.org

April 18, 2023

 

Peaceful Paths Receives Matching Funds as Part of Amazing Give 2023

Subaru of Gainesville Shows the Love Locally

#DoSomethingAmazing

 

GAINESVILLE- Subaru of Gainesville is doing something AMAZING for survivors! Peaceful Paths is excited to announce that Subaru of Gainesville will be awarding $25,000 in operations funding as match to the Building Places & Safe Spaces Amazing Give Campaign for 2023.  They challenge the community to Show the Love and help us reach our 25K goal by pledging another 25K matching donation beginning immediately and ending at 8 pm on April 20th.  Chris Baynard of Subaru will be awarding the check at the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the grand reopening on Thursday April 20 at 11:30. Take a tour of the reorganized space and learn more about our Mission in Action saving lives and creating change.    Contribute to this project now at https://www.theamazinggive.org/organizations/peaceful-paths-domestic-abuse-network

 

In the coming months, Peaceful Paths will continue our commitment to survivor safety and support with additional space renovation and expansion. At the Dutton Schilling Housing Campus, we plan to build a covered walkway to give parents and kids coming home to shelter better protection from the elements.  The dogs who come with the families on Campus need a bigger run area outside and this is a major wishlist item.  At the Outreach office, our unified entrance space is complete, but needs some finishing touches, including a sponsor for the reception desk center that will allow us to serve everyone efficiently, and new furniture for the waiting area.  Our goal of $25,000 can complete these projects and will make the Campus and Outreach safer and more accessible. 

 

For more information on how you can be a part of this project now, or for details on the issue, please contact

Dr. Theresa Beachy at 352-377-5690 or visit us on the web at www.peacefulpaths.org/amazinggive 

FEBRUARY 7, 2023

Recent Appeals Court Decision Puts Victims of Domestic Violence at Higher Risk

Allowing perpetrators to have access to guns while an injunction is in place increases danger of homicide.

www.peacefulpaths.org

 

GAINESVILLE - The recent ruling issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in United States v. Rahimi struck down 30 years of federal law prohibiting those under a protective order for domestic violence from possessing firearms. In a unanimous decision, the three-judge panel ruled a domestic violence abuser subject to a protective order has a constitutional right to possess a firearm. Research and decades of advocate, judicial and law enforcement experience tell us the following things:

 

  • Domestic violence and firearms are a lethal combination.

  • When a male abuser has access to a firearm, the risk that he will shoot and kill a female partner increases by 1,000%.

  • Prior to this decision, federal law prohibited convicted abusers and those who are under protective orders of domestic violence from possessing firearms. 

  • While the 5th Circuit left in place the federal ban on firearms for convicted abusers, it ultimately ruled the prohibition on possession of a firearm in civil restraining order cases was unconstitutional.

  • In summary, the court struck the federal law that prohibits guns from abusers under domestic violence protective orders. 

  • Some survivors may not wish to or be able to seek a conviction, but an order of protection can be another tool for increasing survivor safety. 

    • This decision reveals an utter disregard for domestic violence survivors’ safety.

Executive Director Dr. Theresa Beachy stated, “Peaceful Paths leads the Coordinated Community Response to Domestic Violence in our tri county region.  Victim safety is the focus for all our collective efforts, and this ruling is truly a shock.   Our High Risk Team and Lethality Assessment Protocol with local law enforcement are designed to predict and prevent domestic violence homicides.  This ruling makes this work that much more difficult by allowing volatile individuals access to firearms despite the fact that they have demonstrated to a judge that their actions could lead to injury or death of the victim.  Undermining the judicial authority to protect victims with an injunction by reintroducing weapons to the mix reduces the effectiveness of one of the few system safeguards victims can access.” 

For more information on the agency or how you can be an ally in our work, please contact Dr. Theresa Beachy at

352-377-5690 or visit us on the web at www.peacefulpaths.org

We exist to save lives and create change.

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