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Hope for the Holidays was held Dec. 7 at the Waterfront Bar and Grill in Menomonie. As a result, $1,105 was donated to Bridge to Hope, a domestic violence and sexual assault shelter and agency in Menomonie and serving Dunn and Pepin counties.
The benefit was organized by students in the Abuse in the Family class taught by Associate Professor Susan Wolfgram. The event included an auction; one of the items was a football signed by Clay Matthews of the Green Bay Packers.
"The Bridge to Hope provides vital services to our community. It supports victims and their families at a time when they are most vulnerable," Wolfgram said, noting in most states the shelters' public and private funding, resources and staffing have declined despite an increase in demand for services.
Wolfgram thanked Jason Davis, owner of the Waterfront, for hosting the event. "He has been our collaborator for years. Without his commitment and generosity the event wouldn't be possible," Wolfgram said.
The benefit started in 2005 and has been held at the Waterfront since 2008. In nine years it has raised more than $7,000 for Bridge to Hope, Wolfgram said.
UW-Stout students who organized Hope for the Holidays were John Sholund, of Merrill, project manager; Sarah Bjork, of Elmwood; Jazmin LaPlante, of Green Bay; Ashley Oliver, of Plover; and Devi Stoffregen, of Coon Valley.
In addition to Hope for the Holidays, another 25 students in the class presented education programs in the fall at schools in Menomonie, New Richmond and River Falls along with the Dunn County Jail and the Eau Claire Transitions Center for Ex-offender Re-entry. The presentations stressed that domestic violence can be prevented and that everyone needs to break the silence and talk about the issue.