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Kickball tourney to raise funds for shelter

Matt Zalaznick

Locals are invited to put their best foot forward and bring their appetites to the first Vail Valley Kickball Tournament and Pancake Breakfast at the Eagle-Vail Pavilion. The tournament, sponsored by Evans Chaffee Construction, will raise money for “Freedom Ranch,” the Eagle County women’s shelter set to open this fall.

“The women’s shelter will always be in need of help in terms of donations of money, supplies, and volunteers,” says Michele Evans, president of Evans Chaffee Construction. “We hope people will keep in mind the issues facing abused women and lend their support year-round.”

The need for the women’s shelter is proven by the growing amount of abused women and children in Eagle County seeking help, says Megan Park, director of the Eagle County Victim Advocate Program. The program is part of the Eagle County Resource Center, which is building the shelter.



“We’ve sheltered more women this July than we did almost the entire year last year,” Park says. “We could probably fill the shelter as soon as it opens. All other shelters in Colorado are facing being full all the time.”

Currently, the advocates can put women up in a local hotel for a night or two. But that’s not enough time for a woman and her children to escape a dangerous situation, Park says.



“If they’ve been financially dependent on their abuser, then one night is not enough to give them the skills and financial resources they need to make the decision whether to go back into the situation or to start a new one,” Park says.

At the shelter, women will receive counseling, help in writing resumes and other assistance aimed at making them independent of the abuser, Park says.

“There’s a whole lot more we’ll be able to offer,” Park says. “We’ll be able to provide a real option when they do leave, instead of just one night. We’ll be able to give them time to think about where they want to go and what they want to do.”



All proceeds from the kickball tournament will go toward assisting women and their children in Eagle County who’ve suffered from domestic violence and need shelter and assistance, Evans says.

“We are very impressed with the amount of support we are getting from our community for this important event,” Evans says. “It just shows how much people care about each other. We still need volunteers on the day of the event, and we encourage people to call to find out how they can help.”

Evans and her company donated construction services to help renovate Freedom Ranch.. The building was donated by Eagle County. Vail Resorts, as well as Gary and Terie Roubos, also donated money for the shelter’s security system.

The location of the shelter is not being revealed to protect future tenants.

“I encourage people to remember this important cause after the kickball tournament,” Evans says.

Through the first six months of 2002, 120 women sought help from the advocate program, compared to 79 through June of last year, Park says.

During the same time period, domestic violence prosecutions in the Eagle County Courts have dropped by 12 – from 98 in 2001 to 86 this year, District Attorney Mike Goodbee says.

“You have less people calling the police and more people calling advocates,” Goodbee says.

In 2001, 9,426 women were turned away from shelter services in Colorado because the shelters were full. The Resource Center housed 32 women and 15 children through donated hotel rooms due to lack of space that year.

“A woman thinks that “I don’t deserve any better than this and there’s no reason to seek help because this is where I belong,'” Park says. “Their idea of reality has also been altered and manipulated by the perpetrator in a lot of circumstances. He tells her over and over that no one is going to believe her and she believes him.”

For anyone with questions about domestic violence or who feels they have been a victim of domestic violence, please call the crisis hot line at (970)

949-7086.

Vail Valley Kickball Tournament and Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser will be held Saturday at the Eagle-Vail Pavilion and baseball field.

Tickets for the all-you-can-eat breakfast can be purchased at the event. Cost: Adults $6, children $4.

Here is a schedule:

– 6:30-11 a.m. – All-you-can eat pancakes, bacon and sausage breakfast.

– 8-3:30 p.m. – Kickball tournament

– 11 a.m.-3 p.m. – Lunch, a la carte grill and barbecue menu.

– Other activities include pick-up volleyball games and various kids’ activities

Individuals and organizations wanting to get involved, either by participating in the event or making a donation, should call 845-0466 and ask for Beth Christie.

Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 606, or via e-mail at mzalaznick@vaildaily.com.


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