A Message from our Executive Director
Project Horizon is excited to once again sponsor the community’s Latinx Festival on September 20, 2021 from 5-8 pm in Hopkins Green and the Pride Festival on October 2, 2021 from 2-6 pm also in Hopkins Green. We hope you can join us for these community celebrations of diversity and inclusion!
So you might be thinking that these festivals sound like fun, but you may also be wondering “What does this have to do with Project Horizon?” We’re glad you asked!
Domestic and sexual violence are crimes that are often committed in isolation and fueled by the shame and embarrassment of victims. Perpetrators of violence prey on vulnerable victims who may be isolated because of language barriers, cultural norms, religious beliefs and family systems. Research tells us that only 1 in 10 victims every report to anyone. The number of reports are significantly lower for underserved groups such as the Latinx or LGBTQIA+ communities.
Several years ago, Project Horizon began to take a closer look at how we could increase awareness and improve access to services for victims within these underserved communities. The answer was easier (and harder!) than we expected. To reach marginalized victims we needed to build trust within the community, including hiring staff who reflect the people we serve.
In five years, our services to underserved communities have increased exponentially. In FY16, we served 3 Latinx clients. In FY21, we served 145 Latinx clients. That’s a 4,733% increase! In FY16, we also served 3 clients who identified as LGBTQIA+. In FY21, we served 30 victims who identify as LGBTQIA+, a 900% increase!
It is clear that our outreach is working. The more visible we are in the community, the more likely victims of violence will be to come forward to share their stories and ask for support. Recognizing and celebrating the diversity in our community is a public reminder that NO ONE deserves to experience abuse and that EVERYONE deserves to be in a healthy and loving relationship.
We are grateful to the United Way of Rockbridge, Lexington and Buena Vista for supporting our efforts financially through the Ellen Charske Bequest and hope you’ll join us for these celebrations!
The Violence That Binds Us: A Look Back
Directed and written by Associate Professor of Theatre at W&L Stephanie Sandberg, The Violence that Binds Us, a play about the experiences of survivors of domestic and sexual violence, performed on August 26th at 7pm at Glen Maury Park in Buena Vista. Project Horizon was pleased to be a community partner on this project and to have several staff members act in the play. The play highlighted stories of survivors of sexual and domestic violence in the Rockbridge Community to an audience of 100.
8 of our staff members, Judy Casteele, Annie Baker, Gary Wilson, Adam Schultz, Gloria Fennell, Hannah Knight, Darly Panebianco and Mikhala Stafford, acted in the play.
The WDBJ7 story on the play
Staff Spotlight: Darly Panebianco
Every month, we'll be introducing a new member of our staff. This month's staff spotlight features Darly Panebianco, our LatinX Case Manager!
Q: Who are you, what do you do at PH, and where are you from?
A: "My name is Darly L. Panebianco, I am from Lima-Peru. I came to the USA at the end of 2016 leaving my job as a police officer (almost 9 years). My idea to come here was to start a new life and new career as a Nurse. The following year I met my husband, Scotty. In 2019 we have a precious baby called Bella Valentina. I am the LatinX Case Manager here at Project Horizon."
Q: What led you to Lexington and the work you do now?
A: "My sister Fio encouraged me to come to this country, at first I moved to Lexington and fell in love with culture, community, food, among others.
Project Horizon is an organization that caught my attention since I found out about it, I feel that the experience working in the area of Domestic Violence as a police officer in Peru made me even more interested, since now being part of the Latin Community in Rockbridge County allows me to establish a better connection with my clients."
Q: What’s the best part of your job?
A: "Sometimes I forget that I am doing a job, because the desire to serve the community makes me enjoy every moment. I feel in a family environment, my clients are not only that, they are my friends and that makes me happy."
Q: What’s something most people don’t know about you?
A: "I love to dance and watch Korean dramas."
The Lexington LatinX Festival
Please join Project Horizon for our third annual Latinx Festival on Monday, September 20th from 5-8pm at Hopkins Green. The festival will include dancing, live music, food vendors, and face painting.
Follow us on Instagram to stay in the loop about our LatinX Celebration!
The LatinX Celebration Dance Competition is sponsored by Muchacho Alegre Mexican Restaurant Bar & Grill.
The Lexington Pride Festival
Please join us for our second annual Lexington Pride Festival! The festival will take place on October 2nd from 2pm to 6pm at Hopkins Green in Lexington. The festivities will include a drag show, a costume contest, and a parade!
Funding for the Lexington Pride and Latin Festival is provided by United Way of Rockbridge.
LGBTQIA+ Service and Speak Out
Please join us for our first Speak Out in recognition of LGBTQIA+ History Month on October 10th at Good Shephard Lutheran Church. LGBTQIA+ individuals will have a chance to share about their coming out story or their experiences, and listen to others' stories.
The Play for Peace Golf Tournament
Project Horizon is excited to announce our seventh annual Play for Peace Golf Tournament on Friday, October 15th at 10:30 AM at Lexington Golf and Country Club. Winnable prizes include a new car courtesy of Magic City Ford, cash prizes, door prizes, and tickets to a major sporting event!
Team entries and event sponsorships are available now. To enter your team, please fill out the registration form and send it to Ellen Wheeler at 120 Varner Ln, Lexington Va 24450 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deck the Halls is Back!
Save the date now, because Deck the Halls is back on December 11 at 5:30 PM. Tickets will go on sale in October.
Held every year in early December, this event provides an elegant dinner with live music and dancing and a silent auction.
The real entertainment, however is our live auction. Generous donations from local business and community members make Deck the Hall a wonderful evening.
All funds raised are used locally to provide services for domestic and sexual violence.
Project Horizon will follow recommendations from the CDC, VDH, and VMI. Any announced restrictions are subject to change.