Project Woman honors Ridgewood School for support

For nearly 10 years, Project Woman has awarded local supporters with its annual Purple Ribbon Award, and this year, Ridgewood School will be celebrated for its fundraising and donation efforts toward the organization.

Project Woman opened its first domestic violence shelter in 1975 and has since assisted countless survivors of domestic violence - women, children and men. 

"We are happy to honor Ridgewood School because their students have been supporting us since 2014," says Katherine Eckstrand, Project Woman's communications and community engagement director. "They selected Project Woman as one of their community service projects. They have fundraisers, collect money, collect supplies for our shelters, make birthday cards and supply gifts for kids for the holidays, and they've even made pies for Thanksgiving."

Eckstrand says that Ridgewood School and its students believe in Project Woman's mission, which has made the students excited to help because they recognize the wonderful effects their support has.

"First of all, any money they raise - and they have raised $1,000s over the years - gets put back into services and supplies for clients, whether it is in our shelter or transitional housing or for someone coming to us for assistance with any number of other things," Eckstrand says. "Second, it's so important for the adults and young people we serve to know that there are people in the community who see them and care. They have been so isolated and feel like no one notices or cares about them. So for young people to take time to support them, it means a lot to them.

"Finally, we don't have a large staff. We do a lot with a little, and every time someone does something for us - even something like setting up tables at an event - it creates more of our time we can direct services to our clients."

The collaboration between Project Woman and Ridgewood School benefits more than just the organization's clients. Project Woman's mission includes a community outreach and education component that benefits the Ridgewood students, Eckstrand says.

"We want to start young because that's where habits and expectations happens. And we want to teach young people what a healthy relationship looks like, how to stand up for yourself, how to treat one another, and how to react to bullying," she says. "If we're going to lower the risk and rate of domestic violence and sexual assault, it's going to be because more and more young people are wanting to get involved."

Ridgewood School will be recognized at the 2022 Purple Ribbon Award Celebration from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 17, at the Courtyard by Marriott, 100 S. Fountain Ave.

The event will feature musical performances and art from Ridgewood students, as well as a number of speakers. The school will be honored with a plaque to recognize its support of Project Woman. 

"What we're trying to do is give them visibility for what they do so people in the community can understand their commitment to community service," Eckstrand says.

Anyone interested in attending should RSVP to Eckstrand at [email protected].

Anyone interested in supporting Project Woman through monetary or in-kind donations, can find a donation link and a list of the items they most need on the organization's website. If you're interested in organizing a donation drive or collaborating with Project Woman in another way, you can email Eckstrand at [email protected].

Read more articles by Natalie Driscoll.