NEWPORT and WARREN, R.I.– In 1996, Melindah Archana Sharma was pregnant and alone with little resources to get back on her feet.
“If it weren’t for the Women’s Resource Center shelter, I would have been homeless,” Ms. Sharma recalls. “The organization’s shelter and services provided a haven with a line of sight to move forward and past a tough situation by allowing me to focus on my degree and gain steady employment. I am forever grateful.”
Today, Ms. Sharma serves as honorary chair of the Women’s Resource Center’s newly created Butterfly Ball, a fundraising gala event happening on April 27th to benefit the domestic violence intervention and prevention agency.
A former Portsmouth resident, Melindah works as a senior director at Johnson & Johnson based in New Jersey. She hopes to get the Women’s Resource Center on the radar of those who don’t know about it; and to raise funds for the expansion of the agency’s resources available to women who need assistance.
“The WRC is helping more and more women from many backgrounds. To transition them from a challenging position, where they have experienced physical and emotional violence, to one where they can flourish and thrive would be a beautiful outcome,” she says. “In the process, we should work towards eradicating domestic violence and degradation by educating future generations to be role models of nonviolent behavior.”
Event Committee Chair of the Butterfly Ball is WRC Board Secretary Kerri Bruneau. A domestic violence survivor herself, this Portsmouth resident reminds us about the why the Ball is named after a butterfly.
“It symbolizes the recovery and emergence from a dark period in a person’s life. For me, it’s personal. When I think about being put down and belittled and losing my sense of self, it took a lot to come back, regain my confidence and shine,” she notes. “We want to empower survivors to emerge from their cocoon, spread their wings, and fly. There’s no stopping a person who has gotten out from under a domestic violence situation. We need them to know there’s a way out, and the WRC can help.”
Can we envision a world without domestic violence in the future?
“Society is shifting forward but we still have a ways to go,” comments Ms. Bruneau. “We can teach our children it’s unacceptable and make them aware, and the WRC is in a very good position to bring more focus and attention to it. The only way to stop it is to break the cycle of violence through counseling and intervention, and to bring the community closer together. It’s a fact that communities where people know one another experience less incidents of domestic violence.”
The Butterfly Ball will take place on Saturday, April 27, 2019 from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at the historic Hotel Viking in Newport, R.I. Hundreds of attendees are expected to gather for an evening of cocktails, dinner, music and dancing. Both silent and live auctions will provide an opportunity for attendees to bid on items including vacations, artwork, sports memorabilia, and more. Proceeds from the event will fund the domestic violence prevention activities of the Women’s Resource Center, including advocacy, education and support services for women, men, children and families throughout Newport and Bristol counties.
Emperor level sponsors include Firestone Foundation, Petrovas Family, California based start-up Roambee, and the RI Turnpike and Bridge Authority Foundation. Monarch level sponsors are Adler Pollock & Sheehan PC, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island, and Newberry Public Relations & Marketing, Inc. Royal level sponsor is Partridge Snow & Hahn LLP. Sponsorships for the Butterfly Ball remain available. For more information, to donate silent or live auction items, or to purchase individual and group tickets, visit www.wrcnbc.org or call 401-846-5263.
A member of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Women’s Resource Center serving Newport and Bristol Counties was founded in 1977 to provide comprehensive domestic violence intervention and prevention services that educate, advocate, and shelter any individual in need of assistance. Each year, WRC helps women, children, families, men and the elderly to obtain the services they required to secure their physical, mental, emotional and financial safety from domestic abuse. Main Office: 114 Touro Street, Newport, R.I.; Phone: 401-846-5263; Warren Office: 624 Main Street, Warren, R.I.; Website: www.wrcnbc.org; facebook.com/wrcnbc.