Helping Works by Anna Webb: Group aims to help victims of abuse speak out

awebb@idahostatesman.comJuly 8, 2014 

Speak your Silence is a local nonprofit on a mission to conquer the stigma of child sexual abuse.

The idea is this: People buy a $20 stitch kit. The kit contains everything someone will need to stitch a jagged orange line of thread onto an article of clothing. The stitch is meant to represent the frequency of the human voice and the idea that victims of abuse should be free to talk about what they've gone through. The stitch also symbolizes the willingness of others to hear those stories and support victims.

Here's what organizers say about the project on their website, speakyoursilence.org: "By wearing 'The Stitch,' our voices join together to create a melody of hope + healing for current and future generations."

Local man Matt Pipkin founded Speak your Silence in 2012. He was sexually abused by a family friend at age 6. He kept the abuse a secret for many years because of fear, shame and guilt. Pipkin eventually "found his voice" and became an advocate for the cause. The best thing about the stitch kit: All proceeds support counseling for abuse victims.

Organizers also urge stitch wearers to photograph themselves wearing the stitch, then share the image "with the world," using #thestitch.

Check out the website to learn more about the project and available counseling resources.

'LITERACY IN THE PARK' PROGRAM GROWS

The Idaho Commission for Libraries' program is a great summer treat for kids ages 1 through 18. It offers storytime, activities and traveling lending libraries packed with books.

Last year's pilot program in parks throughout Boise and Garden City was such a success that the commission is expanding it to Caldwell, Nampa and several other communities this year.

The program runs in concert with the Idaho Foodbank's Picnic in the Park initiative and the Idaho Department of Education's Summer Food Service Program so that young readers can also enjoy free, healthy lunches.

Literacy in the Park continues through Aug. 8.

Find a full list of times and locations online.Click on "2014 Program Overview."

Here are a few Boise locations to get started:

• Mondays: Veterans Memorial Park, 930 N. Veterans Memorial Parkway, Boise, 12:15 to 1:30 p.m.

• Tuesdays: Borah Park, 801 S. Aurora Drive, Boise, 1 to 1:30 p.m.

• Wednesdays: Ivywild Park, 416 W. Ivywild St., Boise, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• Thursdays: Manitou Park, 2001 S. Manitou Ave., Boise, 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

• Fridays: Winstead Park, 6150 W. Northview St., Boise, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Note: The Hidden Springs Branch of Ada Community Libraries is hosting its Picnic in the Park event at noon every Monday through July 21. Participants are invited to bring their own lunch and join in storytime and other activities.

The Nampa Public Library is conducting its Literacy in the Park program every weekday through Aug. 8. The effort piggybacks on Oasis Food Center's Summer Feeding Program.

The Caldwell Public Library is also staging Literacy in the Park events twice a week through Aug. 8. The events are held 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays at Sebree Park (the corner of 12th and Grant streets) and Fridays at Brothers Athletic Park, 4099 S. Indiana Ave. in Caldwell.

Both the Nampa and Caldwell Literacy in the Park events include storytime and related activities, and traveling libraries with a good collection of books in Spanish.

YMCA HONORS LOCAL VOLUNTEERS WHO GO ABOVE AND BEYOND

The Treasure Valley Family YMCA has given awards to five men and women to recognize their years of volunteering and service to the Y and the larger community.

Russ Stoddard, head of local creative marketing agency Oliver Russell and a Y board member, received the Vern Emery Award for his work, which includes founding numerous companies, including the Social Good Network. The network makes it possible for portions of members' online purchases to go to their favorite charities.

The Vern Emery Award is named for the Y's former longtime director.

Four others received the Y's Service to Youth Award: Kay Alspaugh, Jerry Bauman, Nancy Cernusak and Andy Erstad. Learn more about the award recipients through the videos below.

DRAW OR PAINT YOUR FAVORITE CHARACTER

Boise Public Library is getting ready for its Comic Con on Aug. 30 at the Main Branch. The festivities include the Library Comic Con drawing contest. Comic fans are invited to draw or paint their favorite comic book, television or movie character, or invent a character of their own.

Here are the rules:

• You must submit your art with an entry form, which are available at any Boise Public Library location or online at boisepubliclibrary.org/LibraryComicCon.

• Limit of one entry per person.

• Submit your art and form at the checkout desk at any Boise Public Library before 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 31.

• The contest is open to all ages. You do not need to have a library card to enter.

• Entries should be your original work, may be black and white or color, may be drawings or paintings, and should be no larger than 24 by 36 inches.

Prizes will be awarded to first-, second- and third-place winners for entries in the Adults, Teens and Kids categories. Depending on the age distribution of entries, prizes may also be awarded for additional age categories. Winners will be notified by phone.

Winning entries will be on display at the Library Comic Con. Prizes will be awarded and winners will be announced during the event.

The four Boise Public Library locations are the Library! at Cole & Ustick at 7557 W. Ustick Road in the Library Plaza; the Main Library at 715 S. Capitol Blvd. in Downtown Boise; the Library! at Hillcrest at 5246 W. Overland Road in the Hillcrest Shopping Center; and the Library! at Collister at 4724 W. State St. in the Collister Shopping Center.

Anna Webb: 377-6431

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