Rape Crisis Center hold gala to raise awareness

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By Kenia Marrufo

Guests gathered at The Victoria Club in Riverside for the 38th Annual Auction & Dinner Gala to raise awareness for the nonprofit organization, Riverside Area Rape Crisis Center on May 4.

The event was sponsored by the support of Riverside University Health System, Riverside Medical Clinic and Professional Construction Management Inc.

Over 400 items were being bid on during the silent auction. The items varied from art pieces, home items, discounted vacation trips, quilts, woven baskets, sports memorabilia, local Riverside restaurant gift cards and even a cocker spaniel puppy.

“We have built community support over the 38 years that we’ve done this and the community supports us by coming back year after year,” Sandy Schnack, president of the Riverside Area Rape Crisis Center Board, said. “They support the center and they are huge supporters of the work that is done by the center and they are more willing to support it financially.”

The Riverside Area Rape Crisis Center’s goal is to provide emotional support and counseling for victims and survivors of sexual assault to help them with their trauma.

They offer many programs such as The Community Education Program where they visit schools, college campuses and even employee groups to bring importance and training on how to cope with and prevent sexual harassment.

Adriane Lamar Snider, executive director for the Riverside Area Rape Crisis, has been working in policy and legislation for women’s health over 30 years and said she hopes more young professionals are willingly to volunteer in the future.

“We listen to the victims and survivors of sexual assault to understand who they are and what they need from an agency and what they need from us an individuals,” Snider said.

Throughout the evening, the live auction began and the most memorable auction item was the survivor bag. The survivor bag is the same item the volunteers and staff gift the survivors of sexual assault to help them cope and find their path to recovery from trauma.

The Survivor Bag includes a journal, clothes, toiletries, a stuffed animal and a book.

Several Survivor Bags were auctioned for around $1000-2500.

The Gala was a success for the Riverside Rape Crisis Agency so they can continue to deliver the message for the victims and their families that they are not alone facing the trauma.

Elaine Talamaivo, a returning guest, believes more people should attend to support the great cause.

“This fundraiser brings awareness to such a taboo subject in society, but it raises so many great points about what is needed in Riverside,” Talamaivo said.

For more information about volunteering or information on resources for those who need help, visit rarcc.org or call the 24/4 hotline 951 686 RAPE (7273).

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