The word hero may conjure up images of valiant soldiers heading into battle, of first responders arriving on the scene of an accident or of self-sacrificing individuals who have changed the outcomes of history. You might also think of the everyday heroes; of individuals who think nothing of giving of their time and resources to help those in their community who are need.
If you were to ask Safeplace Executive Director Rachel Cabaniss what a hero looks like to her, you will see a sparkle in her eye as she shares the stories of those who have stepped up to offer help for victims of domestic violence. The Hero Project is a new way for people within the Northwest Alabama service area to be involved in Safeplace’s mission of promoting healthy relationships.
One of the most recent projects was the idea of Jack Mann of Florence. Mann, who is the president of InsureWell and a husband and father of two young boys, gives of his time on a regular basis serving as a board member for Safeplace. He said it was during a board meeting where he heard of budget shortfalls and grant cuts that he was inspired to do more.
“I did what I thought was something fairly simple,’’ he said. “And I was amazed at the generosity of others.’’
Mann, who attends Crosspoint Church of Christ, said there are times when members of the church will pass around an envelope when they know of a great need or worthy cause. He said he got a large envelope, stapled a Safeplace brochure to the right side and wrote Jack Mann’s Hero Project on the left side. He passed it around to the different classes at church and then waited.
“ I set what I thought was an obtainable goal, ‘’ he said “Then I sent out an email and passed the envelope.’’
Although Mann believes his efforts were minimal, Cabaniss said the reward was wonderful.
“Safeplace would not be the organization it is without our everyday heroes like Jack,’’ she said. “We are so grateful. I love to see somebody take this kind of project on to spread the word about services that Safeplace offers and at the same time does something to ensure the future of those services.’’
Cabaniss said the Hero Project is a way for individuals or groups to raise money using their network of friends, family and coworkers. Over the last year that the project has been in place, many supporters have come up with ideas based on things that interest them. Ginger Stone, a Safeplace staff member, and her husband Rocky, became Heroes by selling shirts provided through a partnership with a distributor that had a heart for Safeplace. The couple raised over $5,000.
Cabaniss said it means so much to her and the staff to know they serve a community of people who really want to see victims of abuse have the services they need to become survivors. Safeplace not only provides shelter services but also works throughout the six counties of Northwest Alabama to provide educational and interventional programs.
Cabaniss said to become a Safeplace Hero interested persons or groups should call the Safeplace office to have their fund raiser approved. For more information contact Safeplace at (256) 767-3076.