By Monique Farrell, Executive Director
Laissez le bon temps rouler! Let the good times roll! That is exactly what we are planning on doing at our “Unmask the Violence” event on Saturday, February 10. This Mardi Gras themed fundraiser for Next Step Ministries hopes to bring a bit of Bourbon Street to Main Street, Kernersville. It will be an entertaining evening of live jazz, tasty New Orleans inspired delights, and exciting auction and raffle items, while also celebrating an important milestone.
Twenty years ago, in February of 1998, Next Step Ministries was founded. After the death of a local schoolteacher at the hands of her estranged partner, community leaders saw the need for a local agency dedicated to serving victims of domestic violence and their families. Such agencies existed in surrounding areas, but not in Kernersville. Committed to meeting that need, they worked tirelessly to get us where we are today. We started in a mobile home and office, grateful for the space we had. This year, we moved into a brand new, custom-built safe house with five bedrooms and seven bathrooms, a playroom, ample storage and office space, and a fenced in back yard. We also cut the ribbon on our Community Resource Center (named by First Christian Church in honor of Martha Pearson). This center serves as a central point for us to provide resources to those in our community who may not need temporary housing in our safe house, but are seeking a support group, advocacy, and/or agency referrals.
The mission of Next Step Ministries is “To provide refuge, advocacy, and education to survivors of domestic violence and the broader community.” Our new safe house, as well as our Community Resource Center, allows us to do just that. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that 1 in 4 men and 1 in 3 women have been victims of [some form of] physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime. That startling statistic tells us that the work that we do is vital and necessary. With the support of proceeds from our Thrift Store, our faith and business community, and individual support, we are proud to have provided housing and basic needs for 70 guests, handled 690 phone calls to our Crisis Line, and advocated for countless other members of our community confidentially.
We hope that you will consider joining us for “Unmask the Violence” in celebration of the last 20 years of Next Step Ministries. The event will be on Saturday, February 10 from 7-10 p.m. at Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden. Come dressed in your best Mardi Gras attire–think beads, masks, and boas! Enjoy the live jazz performed by the East Forsyth Jazz band, munch on tasty food from Providence Kitchen, and enjoy beer, wine, and a signature cocktail (non-alcoholic options available too, of course). Get your tickets and bids in for the live auction and raffle…here is a sneak peek of just a few of our raffle and live auction items:
- Dinner for 6 cooked in your home by Chef Timothy Grandinetti from Winston-Salem’s Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen & Bar. This also comes complete with a wine pairing and autographed copy of his newly released cookbook Soulful Harvest: Signature Recipes, Timeless Techniques & Culinary Reflections.
- A truly dazzling diamond infinity pendant and necklace, generously donated by Bruce and Angie Hutchins of locally owned Ellington Jewelers.
- A night on the town in Winston-Salem. Will include limo transportation, a gift certificate for dinner at Ryan’s Restaurant, an evening stay in luxury and style at the Cardinal Kimpton hotel, and a voucher for brunch for two at the Katharine Brasserie and Bar, located in the hotel itself.
Tickets are $50 a person or $80 a couple and can be purchased online at www.NextStepDV.org, or by visiting our Thrift Store (955 Hwy 66S) or Administrative Office (233 West Mountain Street). Corporate and individual sponsorships are still available, as well as various underwriting opportunities. Please call our office at 336.413.7054 with any questions.
We are eager to make this event our best ever in honor of our founders and those we have been lucky enough to serve over the last 20 years. Hope to see you there!