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Poles here ‘purpled’ to bring awareness to domestic violence

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Roberta Radosevich, middle, watches as the mother-and-daughter team of Jalene, left, and Kylee Berger attach a purple ribbon to a pole in a Rio Rancho parking lot. “This is our opportunity to help our community understand that domestic violence is an ongoing problem and for the community to ‘stand against domestic violence’,” Radosevich said. 

Lately, it seems a lot of Americans have been seeing red.

Here in the City of Vision, it’s hard not to see purple.

Close to five-dozen volunteers showed up at Jalene Berger’s Allstate Insurance office last Saturday to “purple the poles,” tying large purple ribbons on the light poles along NM 528 and Southern Boulevard as a way to keep folks focused on Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which began Oct. 1.

“I’ve been volunteering and doing financial workshops with victims for about three years now,” Jalene Berger said. “The reason I do it is it empowers women; and most of the abuse is not always physical, some of it’s financial and they need to be taught.

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Poles here ‘purpled’ to bring awareness to domestic violence

She said she’s learned a lot about domestic violence through the workshops: “Some of the women open up,” she said.

“That’s how I started out — just doing my workshop out there (at Haven House),” she said. “Because of the Allstate Foundation’s involvement, I’ve been able to take advantage of some of the things they offer to get grants. We have the Purple Purse Month (crowdrise.com/haven-house-rio-rancho-purplepurse2017) coming up, when we’ll be doing some fundraising. The more (money) we raise on the site, the better chance we get of earning free dollars.

“So it’s just growing and it’s enabling me to give back to the community — and it’s a great group of people that are volunteering with Haven House, so it’s very easy to do.”

Berger annually collects items from her policy holders and anyone else in the community wishing to donate — diapers, toys, gently used clothing, and even cash — at her office on Southern Blvd.

“It’s all about support, not judgment,” added Roberta Radosevich, executive director at Haven House for the last two-and-a-half years.

A former detective with the Rio Rancho Police Department, Radosevich, whose career began with a one-year stint in Los Lunas and then 21 years with RRPD, remembered the pre-Haven House days, when support was available at what is now the offices for MVD Express, just north of where City Hall once stood.

She’s seen the effects of domestic violence — “I’ve worked with Haven House since its inception,” she said — “all the way to homicide.”

Mayor Gregg Hull’s annual barbeque and picnic will be held at Haynes Park Saturday, starting at 5:30 p.m. There are plenty of activities, not to mention great food, and a candlelight vigil.

Volunteer options at Haven House are available; call 896-4869 for more information.

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