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Local

Batavia Woman's Club gives $40K to charities

Mutual Ground, Rise From the Ashes receive $20K each

The Batavia Woman's Club awarded $20,000 each to Mutual Ground and Rise From the Ashes at its Jan. 6 meeting. Mutual Ground Advancement Director Kathy Melone (left), Cynthia Kieckhefer, women's club event chairwoman, Mutual Ground Executive Director Michelle Meyer, Batavia Woman's Club President Mike Burke and Stephanie Austin, executive director and founder of Rise From the Ashes.
The Batavia Woman's Club awarded $20,000 each to Mutual Ground and Rise From the Ashes at its Jan. 6 meeting. Mutual Ground Advancement Director Kathy Melone (left), Cynthia Kieckhefer, women's club event chairwoman, Mutual Ground Executive Director Michelle Meyer, Batavia Woman's Club President Mike Burke and Stephanie Austin, executive director and founder of Rise From the Ashes.

BATAVIA – The Batavia Woman’s Club marked its biggest profit yet from its annual fall fashion show and luncheon, being able to present checks for $20,000 each to Mutual Ground and Rise From the Ashes at its Jan. 6 meeting, the group announced in a news release.

Two $20,000 checks were presented to Michelle Meyer, executive director and Kathy Melone, Advancement Director of Mutual Ground and to Stephanie Austin, founder and executive director of Rise From the Ashes.

Mutual Ground, based in Aurora, serves adult and child survivors of domestic and sexual violence in their pursuit of safety and healing. For those who need information and support, counselors are available on the 24-hour crisis hotline or in person at offices in Aurora, Batavia and Yorkville.

In any given year, Mutual Ground provides services to approximately 1,500 survivors, about 400 of which are children. Additionally, Mutual Ground provided prevention education about sexual abuse and assault to 40,000 students in 104 schools.

Rise From the Ashes provides free and low cost legal services in Kane and neighboring counties to financially struggling women trying to navigate marital and custodial issues in order to escape domestic violence.

The Batavia Woman’s Club fashion show and luncheon, held Nov. 2, 2019 at the Q Center in St. Charles, drew 370 residents to attend.

“We are thrilled by the overwhelming support of our friends, family and community,” committee chairwoman Cynthia Kieckhefer stated in the release.

“Every year we have more guests, more donated items for auction, more raffle baskets, and make more money for these important and vital charities,” Kieckhefer stated in the release. “Our event has evolved into a great blend of fun, fashion and philanthropy. And our club has embraced and placed a special focus on these two charities. Mutual Ground, a children’s emergency shelter and counseling organization has been filling its beds all year. It has opened an office in Batavia as well.”

As the club organized its event, talked to people and solicited auction items, Kieckhefer stated in the release that they “were shocked at the incidence of domestic violence around nearly every turn we took.”

“Domestic abuse is such a hidden problem, and the Batavia Woman’s Club, together with Mutual Ground is bound and determined to keep our community talking about this,” Kieckhefer stated in the release.

Kieckhefer praised Rise From the Ashes for its work, providing “literally life-saving legal help for women who can’t afford to hire attorneys to help them sever the ties that bind them to domestic abusers.”

“Stephanie Austin started this organization after her own first-hand experience,” Kieckhefer stated in the release. “What a brave and generous young women. The club is so happy to have found her and her good work.”

Mutual Ground can be reached to request services, at 630-897-0080, or for information, call the business office at 630-897-0084. Rise From the Ashes can be reached online at rfta.co.

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