Wednesday, October 30, 2013

First Lady Dianne Bentley Delivers 10,000 Phones to HopeLine from Verizon in Efforts to Stop Domestic Violence

What an exciting day for our domestic violence prevention efforts in the state of Alabama!  Today the First Lady continued her efforts to help victims by donating another 1,300 cell phones to HopeLine from Verizon Wireless Foundation.  After today's donation, Mrs. Bentley has now delivered more than 10,000 phones for HopeLine from Verizon since 2012. 

The phones turned into HopeLine are given to victims of domestic violence with free minutes so they can call for help without the abuser's knowledge.  Numbers for hotlines and shelters across the state are also programmed into the phones.  Phones that can no longer be used are sold for parts, with proceeds going to domestic violence shelters. 

Join Mrs. Bentley and the Verizon Wireless Foundation by turning in your old phones (or accessories!) to any Verizon Wireless store.  Thank you to the Verizon Wireless Foundation and the Alabama Department of Corrections for your support of domestic violence prevention!

First Lady cuts the ribbon to the new play house at One Place Family Justice Center

Alabama's First Lady has developed a wonderful partnership with the One Place Family Justice Center in efforts to prevent domestic violence and promote healthy marriages.  Because of organizations like One Place, shelter, counseling and protection are provided for the victims of domestic violence and their children. 

Today marked a very special day for One Place, because of an initiative made by Alabama youth to build a playhouse for the children's room.  Miss Pre-Teen Alabama Laura Grace Henry and teen volunteers from Bridge Builders raised $4,600 to construct and paint the playhouse, giving children a joyful and comfortable experience while their mothers receive counseling.  In order to continue her support of One Place and thank the teens for serving the kids of Alabama in such a special way, the First Lady attended the playhouse's ribbon cutting.  She even shared a few words about her passions for domestic violence prevention and the children of our state.

Thank you One Place Family Justice Center, Laura Grace Henry and the Bridge Builders for giving children from battered homes a happy home.  The First Lady and her staff are delighted with your work!


Monday, October 28, 2013

FLDB talks to Alabama women's groups

The First Lady considers it an honor to share her heart with the women of Alabama and was grateful to have the opportunities to speak to the Woman's Club of Gadsden and the Pike County Republican Women

While in Gadsden, she spoke about the importance of letting God take the lead in our lives.  When her husband decided to run for Governor, she knew her life would become drastically different.  However, when the Lord calls you to step up into a leadership position "at such a time as this," you must answer to it.  She continued talking about the peace God gave the first family and the amazing things that happened in their lives once they allowed him to have control. 

The Pike County Republican Women hosted a large event where the First Lady spoke about her faith and agenda items.  After discussing what she has done for domestic violence prevention, adoption and childhood literacy, she talked about her number one agenda item: taking care of our Governor.  Whether she is helping him find what he needs throughout the Mansion or making sure his health and well being are protected, she is his caretaker, confidant, and constant. 

Thank you Woman's Club of Gadsden and Pike County Republican Women for your hospitality to the First Lady and her staff!

FLDB speaks to high school students about safe dating

During Domestic Violence Awareness Month, First Lady Dianne Bentley and representatives from the Family Sunshine Center spoke to both Carver High School (Montgomery) and Minor High School (Adamsville) about safe dating.  She joked with both groups that although they may be wondering what an "old lady knows about dating," she has been married for 48 years and might be able to provide insight!

In order to grab the student's attention, she informed them of the following statistics from the Center for Disease Control:

  • One in three adolescent girls in the U.S. is a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner.
  • Nationwide, one in ten high school students has been hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend.
  • One in five tweens (ages 11-14) say their friends are victims of dating violence and nearly half who know friends who are verbally abused.
  • Fourty-five percent of teens have been pressured to become intimate.
Her goal in speaking to the students was to prevent them from becoming a part of the alarming statistics.  It is much easier to teach a teens to respect themselves and their partners rather than heal the physical and emotional wounds that come with unhealthy relationships.  She encouraged the students to really listen to the tips that the Safe Dates program shared and reminded them of their value. 

Thank you Family Sunshine Center and Verizon Wireless for the Safe Dates program and for what you are doing for Alabama teens! 

Photos Below:
1. FLDB with the Minor High School Ambassadors.
2. FLDB with the Minor High School Jazz Band who performed at the reception
3. FLBB with coaches and principal from Carver High School

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Blankets With A Blessing 2013


First Lady Dianne Bentley announced Tuesday her Thanksgiving tradition, “Blankets with a Blessing” has officially started to help those in need this holiday season.
“As a quilter, I know how much a blanket can mean to someone,” Mrs. Bentley said. “Not only does it provide for a physical need by keeping a person warm and protected, but it also serves an emotional need.  When a person receives a blanket, they are reminded that someone else cares.  They may not know the identity of the person who gave them this gift, but they know that they are a neighbor and a friend.  Although it is a small gesture, it has a big impact.”

Since the initiative began in 2004, “Blankets with a Blessing” has provided thousands of quilts and blankets to homeless and displaced families during the holiday season.  Last year, Mrs. Bentley donated blankets to SafeHouse of Shelby County to help victims of domestic violence.
The Thanksgiving collection will take place starting immediately and will continue through November 18.  Blankets can be dropped off at the Governor’s Mansion Guard Gate or the Governor’s Mansion Gift Shop on Finley Avenue in Montgomery.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Roses for the Cause

One of the causes I’ve adopted as First Lady of Alabama is domestic violence awareness and prevention. In support of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I am planning to be a part of various events and activities around the state aimed at raising awareness about this important issue.

On October 1, I held the first DVAM Candlelight Vigil at the Governor’s Mansion. State leaders, directors of domestic violence shelters from across Alabama, awareness organizations and other community partners joined together to remember victims and re-energize the efforts of those fighting domestic violence crimes in our state.  

Another big part of my DVAM plan is taking special care to remember victims and survivors. I am partnering with the Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence to raise money in honor of victims of DV through Roses for the Cause. Throughout October, for every $10 donated, a rose will be placed at the Governor’s Mansion to honor victims of domestic violence. Each person who donates will be able to write a short note about the person they are donating the rose on behalf of. I am truly looking forward to honoring all of the survivors and hearing their inspiring stories.
If you’d like to donate, I encourage you to visit the Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s Facebook page. From there, you’ll click on the “Roses for the Cause” tab and be able to follow instructions to donate your rose. The initiative will run October 1 through October 31. Purchase of the flowers will be supported by HopeLine® fromVerizon, with your full donation going to support domestic violence prevention and victim services across the state.

Photo taken by Mickey Welsh, The Montgomery Advertiser

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Candlelight Vigil for Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Shortly after becoming First Lady of Alabama, Mrs. Bentley had the opportunity to meet and work with victims of abuse whose stories captured her heart.  She then decided to use her role to become an advocate for domestic violence prevention.  On the evening of Oct. 1, Mrs. Bentley held a candlelight vigil to bring attention to Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the organizations across the state that give victims the strength to leave unhealthy relationships. 

During the program, Mrs. Bentley read the proclamation signed by the Governor declaring October Domestic Violence Awareness Month and had representatives from Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence and One Place Family Justice Center speak about their services and their impact in Alabama. 

Mrs. Bentley was ecstatic about the Verizon Wireless Foundation and HopeLine presenting a $95,000 grant toward domestic violence prevention and a $5,000 award in Mrs. Bentley's name that will be given annually to an outstanding organization that works to fight domestic violence, encourage healthy relationships and support victims.  This year's award was given to Harriet's House.  The generosity displayed was remarkable and greatly appreciated.

It is Mrs. Bentley's hope that the candlelight vigil and the rest of her speaking engagements this month encourages the people of Alabama to intervene unhealthy relationships and gives the abused knowledge of where to seek help.  Domestic violence must be stopped, and there is a way out.

Purple ribbons line the Governor's Mansion in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Other links:
Montgomery Advertiser photos, "Candlelight vigil against domestic violence"
Montgomery Advertiser video, "Dianne Bentley holds candlelight vigil for domestic violence"