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02/06/2012 - Welcome to the home of Social Lights. Read new online reports with photos each week and their reprise in the monthly print edition mailed to homes in Birmingham-Bloomfield at the start of each month. If you are not receiving the print edition by mail, you can order a subscription in the upper right index at the top of this page (subscriptions). If you want e-mail notification of when new Social Lights columns are posted to this site each Monday, sign up in the Newsletter Sign Up box at the lower right side of this home page.

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CARE House Circle of Friends Events

"CARE House gets it," declared child abduction survivor Elizabeth Smart. She was speaking about preventing child victimization to the sold out (360) crowd at the 16th annual Circle of Friends luncheon at the Townsend. Her account of the nine months she spent as the captive of "Emanuel" and his wife was compelling. It revealed her ingenuity as well as the importance of her faith and her love of her family. Smart attributes her subsequent happy and productive existence to the advice her mother gave her the day after her rescue: "Don't let that man take one more minute of your life...move on…let go!" And although her experience was horrendous, something good has come of it.  "Now people listen when I speak," she said. What she tells them, through her Elizabeth Smart Foundation, is how to prevent what happened to her from happening to other children. Her foundation has developed a program to empower children to Resist Aggression Defensively, RADkids. It will be coming to CARE House soon. Before Smart told her story, CARE House interim executive director Cathy Weissenborn paid an especially warm tribute to former CARE House CEO Pat Rosen. Not to be outdone, Rosen's heartfelt praise of the CARE House staff, board and volunteers evoked a second standing ovation. The preceding evening Rosen and Smart greeted another sold out crowd (120) at the Preview Party generously hosted by Vicki and, in absentia, Tom Celani. There were no speeches, just serious socializing, great food from Andiamo's Joe Muer's restaurant, and great wine from the Celani Family Vineyards. The 16th annual two-part Circle of Friends event raised $95,000 to help the 35-year-old agency bring hope and healing to abused children.

HAVEN's Celebration of Strength

"How lucky we are to have HAVEN," concluded Ed Sosnick. The compassionate judge was speaking to supporters (130) of the Oakland County domestic violence and sexual assault center. They had given him a standing ovation when he went to the podium at the Townsend to accept the Heart of HAVEN Award for a lifetime of dedication to abuse victims. His memory of seeing a battered woman and her child sneak up a fire escape to a secret shelter for safety because the police response to her call for help was so weak revealed the tremendous change in the system's response since HAVEN was founded 37 years ago. Sosnick's recollections were the high point of the cocktail hour event but there were other well-deserved awards. These went to WDIV's Paula Tutman, volunteer Peg Hamilton, survivor Harriet Cammock, and Plante Moran and Art Van Furniture. It was also HAVEN's annual meeting. Outgoing board chair James Moritz thanked other retiring board members Gay Tosch, Lynda Ronie, Kathryn Elston, and Rebecca Donnini before passing the gavel to Terry Merritt. Meg Gordy, Deborah Roeloefs, and Mary Ann Lievois are chairing HAVEN's signature Promenade of Hope fundraiser May 9 at the GM Heritage Center. To get involved contact Kristi Pavlak at (248) 334-1284, ext. 341 or kpavlak@haven-oakland.org

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