The Betty Griffin Center hosts its annual art show “A Day Without Violence”

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — In recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, The Betty Griffin Center is hosting its yearly art show, “A Day Without Violence” at Flagler College’s Crisp Ellert Art Museum located in downtown St. Augustine. For more than 20 years, the show has exhibited art work and poetry completed by students of St. Johns County celebrating “what a day without violence” looks like.

Professional artist Antonio C. Scott and Fonya Lord, a St. Augustine-based writer and visual artist judged the competition. Selected winners were placed in an annual calendar that was distributed to every classroom in St. Johns County - a tally of 3,000 calendars.

Kenlie Kubart, Development Director for the Betty Griffin Center, describes the art as amazing. Kubart said the yearly theme focuses on peace at home as well as “around the world.”

“The competition is open to every student highlighting what a violence free day looks like,” she said. “Whether it’s a coy fish pond or a world with a heart around it, holding hands, friends in the park, tranquil scenes of lakes and mountains, the art represents what that student sees as world peace.”

This year’s competition garnered over 1,000 submissions.

Charita Parvahaneni, a seventh-grader at Fruit Cove Middle School, won first place and Danica Klir, a ninth-grader at Allen D. Nease High School, won second.

Winners of the poetry contest included first place winner, fifth grader Katie Meyer from Hickory Creek Elementary School, and sixth grader Brynn Jenkins from Fruit Cove Middle School, in second.

Other winners included Freya Nesargi, Patriot Oaks Academy; Annabelle Hollis, Hickory Creek Elementary School; Amanda Faldman, Creekside Hickory Creek Elementary; Alissa Carde, Creekside Hickory Creek Elementary; Mckenzie Gladden, Pacetti Bay Middle School; Lily Cullinane, Pacetti Bay Middle School; Maya Alexander, Fruit Cove Middle School; LeighAnn Landrum, Fruit Cove Middle School; Ellie Cantor, Fruit Cove Middle School, Olivia Gullion, Mill Creek Academy; Jocelyn Rivera-Cook, Tocoi Creek High School; and Olivia Strickland, Tocoi Creek High School.

Hartley Printing Inc., sponsored event for the second consecutive year.

Winners received recognition during a St. Johns County School Board Meeting. Artwork is displayed at the Crisp Ellert Art Museum throughout the month of October.

Additional month long events include “Stand Up Against Domestic Violence at Flagler College’s Gamache Theater on Thursday, October 20, at 6 p.m.; Awareness Table at Ancient City Kids Day on Saturday, October 22, at St. Augustine’s Francis Field at 11 a.m.; Leadership Donor Society 600 on Saturday, October 20, at the Palencia Club at 5 p.m.; and Holiday Giving programs that will run concurrently through December.

The Betty Griffin Center offers protection and services for domestic violence and sexual assault survivors for St. Johns County residents.

In addition to a 24-hour, victim advocate Help Line, the Center acts as an immediate, confidential shelter space for victims and their children.

Longer-term services include transitional housing and community education programs for adults and children. Licensed therapists run strength-based support groups to empower those traumatized with coping strategies. The Center also offers confidential counseling, advocacy and forensic medical exams for sexual assault victims. Court advocacy volunteers assist with applications for protection injunctions and court appearances. Legal assistance is made on a case-by-case basis.

The Center operates two thrift stores, one at Julington Square and one at Anastasia Square to assist in funding the agency’s ongoing operations.

Established in 1990 by Mary Alice Colson, Betty Griffin’s granddaughter, the property opened as a shelter in 1994. The namesake was Colson’s reminder that the property was purchased by funds used by the sale of her grandmother’s former home.

At the time of her grandmother’s death, Colson had been working with the Sheriff’s Office as a victim advocate. She quickly discovered that domestic abuse and sexual assault victims lacked a safe place to seek help. Working with community leaders, Colson, determined to shatter the cycles of abuse, established a shelter that offered assistance, counseling, and transitional support. Today, the Betty Griffin Center shelters more than 420 victims of domestic and sexual abuse every year.

2450 Old Moultrie Road, Ste. 202

St. Augustine, FL 32086

24-Hour Help Line (904) 824-1555

For more information, visit www.bettygriffincenter.org

Lucia Viti

Lucia Viti

Lucia Viti is a seasoned journalist, photojournalist, and published author and works as a reporter for WOKV News. Lucia is a graduate of the University of West Virginia with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Journalism.

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