Friday, July 30, 2010

Fiesta de Luz 2010

You are cordially invited to attend Fiesta de Luz 2010, the fifth annual fundraising celebration to help us raise critical funds for continued programming focusing on health disparities and economic imperatives.

Call 216.651.8236 NOW to order tickets for Fiesta de Luz 2010 which takes place at the Terrace Club at Progressive Field on Saturday, July 31. The event features an exciting silent auction, great live music, Salsa dancing and fabulous Latin cuisine. It is quickly becoming known as the premier Latino-focused event in Cleveland.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

July's Continuing Education Event

Thank you Alex!!!

July’s Continuing Education Event about the Men of Strength (MOST) Club was great!

Of course it was great because Alex is a great speaker but it was also good to learn more about these clubs that are going on across Ohio (and the coutnry) and why they are so successful. Alex spoke about the MOST Club and shared some of the different outcomes he has seen and heard about from different MOST Clubs around Ohio.

I really enjoyed hearing about the transformation that takes place in the group over time. At first one of the major draws for boys and young men to come to the MOST Club is the food that is provided. Over time the relationships that are built between the club members and with the facilitator become the major draw for the club members to continue to come back.

The MOST Club turns the peer pressure model around. It allows these boys and young men to voice their opinions in a safe place and allows them to redefine for themselves what is right and what is real masculinity. (How often do boys get the chance to sit around and discuss feelings!! This is great!)

The Club also works on making it easier to act when they feel something wrong is happening. It gives them tools for standing up for others. And because they have a group of other young men who feel the same way they do, they know that if they want to stand up against something they know they have an entire group of young men who will stand by them.

If anyone is interested in receiving an electronic copy of his power point presentation please email me and I will send you a copy.

If anyone has any questions feel free to contact me at 216-619-6194x116 or Alex at 216-619-6194x121.

Stay tuned for more information on the August 31st Continuing Education Event!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What happened to Wonder Woman and What's the Feminist Answer?

From The Women's Media Center

EXCLUSIVE Wonder Woman in Pants is Not a Feminist Win
By Shelby Knox

It’s the end of an era. At 69 years old, Wonder Woman has decided to put on some pants.

Actually, the new duds are not an act of self-determination by the woman (formerly) in red, white and blue. According to the New York Times, the new head writer of the series, J. Michael Straczynski, wanted to “toughen her up and give her a modern sensibility.”

This is modernity? Where are her red boots? What about modernization requires her trademark “W” emblem to fade into the background? How is covering her once rippling, now wimpy, muscles a nod to evolved images of womanhood?

I know what you’re thinking: Shouldn’t feminists be happy that Wonder Woman now looks more like a young woman freshly off a college campus, at once ready to go fight some bad guys in an alley or in a pay discrimination lawsuit? Haven’t we been fighting for women role models with more clothing as well as more substance? She couldn’t really fight evil in a bustier—is this not a feminist win?

No, not by a long shot. In fact, it feels like the sad loss of America’s first truly feminist comic book heroine.

This isn’t the first time DC Comics has tried to “modernize” the Wonder Woman character, which debuted in 1930 as the creation of psychologist William Marston. Marston, with the encouragement of his wife Elizabeth, designed her as a “new kind of superhero, one who would triumph not with fists or firepower, but with love.” Wonder Woman, her creator said, was “psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who should, I believe, rule the world.”

As such, Wonder Woman, alias Diana Prince, was introduced as a protégé of the classical goddesses and, like her male crime fighting counterparts, possessed a variety of powers and tools, including superhuman strength, agility and cunning, the ability to fly, bracelets that made her invincible and a “Truth Lasso” that barred those bound by it from uttering lies. Unlike her male counterparts, however, she sought to rid the world of evil by first employing logic and mutual human understanding before breaking out the fire power.

A generation of role-model starved women, finally presented with a truly powerful heroine, proved themselves a reliable comic book fan base—at the height of her early popularity, Wonder Woman had a readership of ten million, appeared in four comic books, and a daily newspaper comic strip, reported Philip Charles Crawford in School Library Journal.

Yet, social progress for women wasn’t correlated with the evolution of their superhero. In 1968, DC Comics debuted a “modern” version of Diana Prince who’d lost her goddess heritage and all her superhuman powers, gained a male mentor and his martial arts skills, and developed a propensity for the domestic arts. She also came equipped with a new “mod” costume: a pantsuit with no “W” emblem, no flags, and no invincible bracelet cuffs.

Feminist outrage at the devolution of their heroine was quick. A group of activists, led by Gloria Steinem, leaned on DC Comics to scrap the “new” Wonder Woman in favor of the more powerful original—and they won, convincing the company to restore Wonder Woman’s powers and history during the next version of the series. They understood that along with equal pay and childcare and the right to hold credit in their own name, young women need to be able to see themselves in strong pop culture role models in order to fashion themselves into the real life versions.

Here we go again, it seems. Wonder Woman donning what looks like skinny jeans is being spun as a direct result of the successes of the Women’s Liberation movement, a reaction to requests that female superheroes do a little less baring of buns and a lot more kicking them. Yet in stripping Diana of her overt sexuality the new writers have missed the reason Wonder Woman was a feminist heroine in the first place. As originally portrayed, Diana Prince was sexy not because of her bare legs and cleavage but because her personhood wasn’t defined by them and her powers not derived from fashioning herself for the male gaze. She could work a 9 to 5 job, hold down a relationship, subvert international conspiracies and toss the villains in jail, and perhaps, as the first cover of Ms. magazine suggested in 1972, even be president—and the way she looked was, as it should be, simply an aside.

While it’s yet to be seen whether this costume change signals an intent to again strip Wonder Woman of her super powers, it’s disconcerting to learn that the writers are creating a new back story for the character that deprives her of her upbringing on Paradise Island with her mother, Queen Hippolyta, and her Amazon sisters in favor of being smuggled out of her homeland as a baby as it was destroyed. Wonder Woman’s original feminist creator’s intent in giving Diana the Paradise Island upbringing was to insinuate she knew gender equality existed because she’d lived it and that her powers were derived from living with and learning from her sisters. In effect, all women could become “Wonder Woman” if they tapped into the feminine power around them and strived for a gender just world that, we know from real live history, really did and can exist. Is this rewrite an attempt to impose the myth of “post-patriarchy” on the character, in which she no longer needs to dream of and fight for equality because she’s achieved it?

If the folks at DC Comics weren’t aware, 2010 America is far from a mythical Amazonian paradise. Take for example new statistics from the Geena Davis Institute on Gender and Media pertaining to female role models for young girls. In G rated movies, just one in three speaking roles is female and in PG and R rated films, about 73 percent of the characters are male. While there are notable exceptions, like Dora the Explorer and the girl superheroes in The Invincibles, young women are still hard pressed to find pop culture role models that look and sound like themselves. If, as it seems, Wonder Woman is truly losing some of her characteristic fierceness, that’s one fewer strong female role model for girls to aspire to be.

Jim Lee, the artist responsible for Wonder Woman’s new design, claims he wanted her to look strong “without screaming, ‘I’m a superhero.’ ” Even today, in this “modern era,” it’s still hard not to wonder, what’s so wrong with screaming that?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Dealing Texas Hold 'Em


Don't worry! You don't need to know all the below information to be able to deal for the Nautica Chairty Poker Festival but I thought it would be helpful to take a look at!

Texas Hold 'Em (or Texas Holdem) is the primary version of Poker played in many casinos, and it's the version seen on television shows like the Travel Channel's World Poker Tour and ESPN's World Series of Poker.

These are the basic rules for Texas Hold 'Em Poker.

The Shuffle, The Deal and The Blinds
The dealer shuffles a standard 52-card deck.

(In casinos, the dealer never plays. A round disc -- known as a "dealer button" -- moves clockwise from player to player with each hand. The button marks which player would be the dealer if the deal were advanced from player to player as the game went along.)

Most Texas Hold 'Em Poker games start with the two players to the left of the dealer (the button) putting a predetermined amount of money into the pot before any cards are dealt, ensuring that there's something to play for on every hand. This is called "posting the blinds." Most often, the "first blind" -- the player to the left of the dealer -- puts up half the minimum bet, and the "second blind" puts up the full minimum bet.

Each player is dealt two cards, face down. These are known as the "hole cards."

Betting Begins
A round of betting takes place, beginning with the player to the left of the two who posted the blinds. Players can call, raise, or fold when it's their turn to bet.

The Flop
After the first betting round, the dealer discards the top card of the deck. This is called burning the card and is done to ensure that no one accidentally saw the top card, and to help prevent cheating.

The dealer then flips the next three cards face up on the table. These cards are called the "flop."

NOTE: Eventually, a total of five community cards will be placed face up on the table. Players can use any combination of the community cards and their own two hole cards to form the best possible five-card Poker hand.

After the flop, another round of betting takes place, beginning with the player to the left of the dealer (the button). During this and all future rounds of betting, players can check, call, raise, or fold when it's their turn to bet.

Fourth Street
The dealer burns another card and plays one more face up onto the table. This, the fourth community card, is called the "turn" or "Fourth Street."

The player to the left of the dealer (the button) begins the third round of betting.

Fifth Street
The dealer burns another card before placing the final face-up card on the table. This card is called the "river" or "Fifth Street."

Final Betting and The Winner
Players can now use any combination of seven cards -- the five community cards and the two hole cards known only to them -- to form the best possible five-card Poker hand.

The fourth and final round of betting starts with the player to the left of the dealer (the button).
After the final betting round, all players who remain in the game reveal their hands. The player who made the initial bet or the player who made the last raise shows their hand first.

The player with the best hand wins.

(Please note – since this festival is a fundraiser for us, the dealer will take a couple of chips from each pot – these chips are our profit and are called “the rake”)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Film and Discussion: Stolen Childhoods

presented by West Shore Allies Against Human Trafficking

For 246 million children, life is nothing but work.

Narrated by Meryl Streep, STOLEN CHILDHOODS is a documentary feature film about the growing plague of child labor that engulfs the lives of 246 million children today. In extraordinary footage of their working conditions, child slaves, bonded laborers and laboring poor children from eigh countries (including the US) tell their own stories ... children forced to pick pesticide laden tobacco, coffee and vegetables, kids chained to looms, boys kidnapped to work on fishing platforms at sea, girls trafficked for prostitution, children scavenging at dumps and enslaved at rock quarries and brick kilns. All these children tell their stories in their own words.

STOLEN CHILDHOODS features interviews with 2004 Nobel Peace Prizewinner, Wangari Maathai, human rights activist, Kailash Satyarthi and Senator Tom Harkin, who calls the world's child laborers, "a breeding ground for Osama Bin Laden's army and future terrorists."

At a time of increasing global insecurity, STOLEN CHILDHOODS reveals the risks of the world community continuing to waste these children's lives. It portrays local, national and international solutions at work to end child labor, offering a humanitarian path to a more stable world. It gives voice to children still lost to work and it celebrates the resilience of kids whose lives have been saved. It is a shocking, hopeful and energizing film and a call to action.

July 24, 2010
West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church
20401 Hilliard Boulevard
Rocky River, Ohio 44116

Free and open to the public

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cleveland moves fitfully toward making women safer

by Connie Schultz, published Plain Dealer Sunday, July 18, 2010

This is the good news for survivors of sexual assault in Northeast Ohio: For the first time in decades, there is no waiting list at the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center.

Last fall, the CRCC received $600,000 in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds, and hired 11 additional staff members.

The bad news: The CRCC probably will be back to begging for dollars sometime next year, cobbling together one-time grants and contributions to serve a population of survivors whose numbers never diminish.

The national estimates are persistently grim: One in four women, and one in 33 men, will experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetimes.

Yet there is no consistent funding at the federal, state or local levels committed to helping victims of these crimes.

"We don't have a single source of funding we can count on from year to year," says CRCC Director Megan O'Bryan.

The stimulus money came only weeks before news organizations around the world started following the grisly story unfolding in Cleveland's Mount Pleasant neighborhood, where the remains of 11 women were found at the home of Anthony Sowell. CRCC used some of the stimulus money to set up satellite services for those who couldn't, or wouldn't, come to the main site.

The murders ignited community outrage over the handling of crimes that overwhelmingly target women.

In December, Mayor Frank Jackson appointed a three-woman commission to investigate how police handled such cases. In March, the commission released a 900-page report that included 26 recommendations. Jackson appointed an oversight committee to monitor the city's progress.
Last week, Plain Dealer reporters Leila Atassi and Rachel Dissell reported that all sex crimes detectives now have cell phones and e-mail -- a change that illustrates an appallingly low previous standard. The city also has drafted new general police orders for handling missing-persons cases, and plans are in the works for an external agency to audit the caseloads of sex-crimes detectives.

One glaring caveat to this good news: The oversight committee's meetings have been closed to the public and the press, with no plans to change.

O'Bryan, who was on the three-woman commission and is now on the committee, defends the secrecy.

"We are having one-on-one meetings with the police chief and his staff," she says. "We are trying to build a trusting relationship, and it won't help us do that if we're having these conversations in front of the public. . . . They need to trust and respect us to do our job."

I've known O'Bryan for several years. There is no fiercer advocate for survivors of sexual assault. Her organization stakes its work on privacy and confidentiality, which is crucial in helping thousands of survivors every year. It's easy to understand her frustration with calls for transparency.

But in her new role, O'Bryan bears the burden of a community's long-held distrust of its police. Thus the necessary tension: The police want to work out their problems in private, and The Plain Dealer has a duty to examine their every step.

One of the commission's recommendations was that the Cuyahoga County Chiefs of Police Association provide a set of best practices for investigating missing persons and sex crimes.
John Maddox, the organization's president and chief of the Middleburg Heights force, says he is waiting to be asked.

"Nobody's contacted me about that," he told The Plain Dealer's Atassi. "I haven't personally, nor has anyone from the organization, been approached to work on any of those issues. I have no idea what's in that report. And what little I do know, I read about in The Plain Dealer."
Why hasn't the city of Cleveland requested those reports? And why would the police chief of any city in Cuyahoga County wait for an invitation before taking steps to improve the safety of women?

As for having "no idea what's in the report," Maddox and his association of fellow chiefs are hereby invited to visit The Plain Dealer's affiliated Web site,, where they will find a link to the entire report.

Think of it as mandatory summer reading.

And expect a quiz.

check out the comments left regarding this article right here

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

July's Continuing Education Event

I wanted to let you all know about this Month’s Continuing Education Event. On July 21st at 6pm Alex Leslie will be presenting on the Men of Strength (MOST) Club.

I am extremely excited for this event (I will be learning about the club right along with you, I don’t know too much about the club).

I am also excited because the idea for this presentation came from feedback on an evaluation form from a previous Continuing Education Event. An Advocate wrote that they were interested in learning more about “educating boys about rape/ domestic abuse”.

The MOST Club is just that, an evidence-based youth development and mentoring program. The MOST Clubs are the country’s premier primary violence prevention program for mobilizing young men to prevent sexual and dating violence. It provides young men with a structured and supportive space to build individualized definitions of masculinity that promote healthy relationships.
Who: Alex Leslie, Prevention Specialist at the CRCC

What: Presenting on the MOST Club

Where: CRCC Training Room on the 14th Floor

When: Wednesday, July 21st at 6 pm

If you are interested in attending this event please RSVP to me at or 216-619-6194x116. And as always please feel free to contact me with any questions, comments, or concerns.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Charity Poker

The poker festival is coming and I am super jealous I cannot be there; however, the reason I will not be there is that I will be on my honeymoon in Costa Rica and well... its my honeymoon so I am going to go to that!! BUT if things go well this year and we get asked back next year I will be there FOR SURE.

I was super excited when I got to go see the room where the poker takes place. It is a really neat looking room full of tables. The tables have fancy card shuffling machines in them (which I guess are really expensive and not all places have them so it’s pretty cool that they have them).

My favorite thing that the guy we met with said was “You don’t need to know how to play the game. You need to come to the training but you don’t need to know who won, the people sitting at the table will tell you who won and will probably help you with anything else you need help with”. This was nice to hear since I don’t have a clue about the rules.

If you are not excited about dealing there are other opportunities to help. Collecting the money, counting the money, signing people in when they arrive, etc. It seems like no matter what your job, there will be a lot of energy in the room and it will raise the CRCC a good amount of money in a pretty short period of time.

We need to make sure that this event goes well so that we get invited back and I can deal next year!!!

Monday, July 19, 2010

I Am That Girl

from Bilyana Simonoski, Resource Development Intern

This year, I had the privilege of listening to Alexis Jones, Founder of I Am That Girl, speak to a crowd of college students and inspire them to follow their passion, whatever it may be, and empower girls to shatter stereotypes and positively impact the world. Jones herself is a shining example of this; proven by her tales of climbing Mount Everest, living in a garage while paying her way through college, and becoming Founder and CEO of I Am That Girl, all before the ripe old age of 26.

Jones and her staff have a fun, honest approach to empowering women to have confidence in themselves, change the world in whatever way they can and “look good while doing it.” They are also determined to redefine the definition of beauty, which they believe:

“…spawns from the intangibles; passion, integrity, charisma, creativity, intelligence, independence, sense of humor, savvy, humility, compassion, courage, our audacity to dream big, our resilience to get back up and our ability to love ourselves and others unconditionally.”

Please visit for more information!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Wait List is Gone for Rape Survivors at Cleveland Rape Crisis Center

CLEVELAND, July 15, 2010 – Call today and get an appointment with a counselor tomorrow. That doesn’t seem like too much to ask from someone who has experienced a life-changing trauma like rape, but for decades, Cleveland Rape Crisis Center received too many calls to respond that quickly. Many rape survivors who were not in immediate crisis when they called were put on a waiting list that stretched up to six months before they could talk to a therapist.

This summer, thanks to an influx of funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and the addition of 11 new staff, Cleveland Rape Crisis Center has eliminated its client waiting list for the first time in decades. Now, when a rape or sexual abuse survivor calls to request therapy, an appointment can be made within days.

“This is monumental,” said Megan O’Bryan, president and CEO of the Center. “Sexual assault survivors deserve immediate access to free services that can help them heal. Now for the first time in a very long time, Cleveland Rape Crisis Center has the resources to meet that demand.”

Last year, the Center received more than $600,000 in federal and state grants that allowed them to expand their staff from 16 to 27 professionals. All of the positions added are in client-serving roles, such as therapists and justice system advocates.

Research shows that the sooner a rape survivor accesses healing services after an attack, the less likely they are to experience long-term trauma symptoms, like nightmares, flashbacks or anxiety. Yet, more than half of the adult women and men that call the Center have waited years or even decades to ask for help.

“The stigma that surrounds sexual violence is still very real,” said Kirsti Mouncey, vice president of client services at the Center. “A large percentage of the people that call for services survived a rape or long periods of sexual abuse 20 or more years ago and never told anyone. When someone finally calls to ask for help with something they have been coping with for decades, it is absolutely critical that we can respond immediately.”

A recent United Way report estimates that more than 150,000 Cuyahoga County residents have survived a rape and have never sought services. National studies suggest that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 33 men will experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetime.

Cleveland Rape Crisis Center received 3,174 calls on its 24-hour hotline last year and offered therapy to 1,032 survivors before the positions were added.

“Sexual violence is a pervasive problem in our country and in our world and there have never been even close to enough resources to adequately respond to survivors,” added O’Bryan. “We are fortunate to have a temporary increase in funding from the federal and state government as a result of the ARRA grants.”

O’Bryan said temporary because none of these positions that have helped the Center eliminate the waiting list is permanently funded by ARRA. Many are contracted for only 12 or 24 months.
Cleveland Rape Crisis Center is committed to sustaining at least some of the staff positions for longer periods. They have asked local foundations for help and their recent fundraiser, Sing Out! for Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, raised a record-breaking $318,000, compared to $255,000 in 2008.

“The Cleveland community has been extremely responsive to our requests,” said O’Bryan. “We are very grateful for the confidence that the federal and state governments and local philanthropists have shown in our work to support survivors of sexual assault.”

“For now, women, men and children can call the Center and get help immediately. After decades of waiting lists, we are thrilled to make that statement.”

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Male Virginity Test Frees Three Convicted Rapists from Prison

From Huffington Post

HANOI, Vietnam — An acupuncturist who claims she can detect a man's virginity based on a small dot on the ear has become a minor celebrity in Vietnam, where she is credited with helping to free three convicted rapists from prison.

Traditional medicine practitioner Pham Thi Hong started lobbying for the men's release, pleading their case all the way to the president, because she believes all three men are virgins and therefore could not be guilty of rape.

"They all had small red spots on the back of their ears," said Hong, 54. "The spots should have disappeared if they had had sex. My many years of experience told me that these men did not have sex before."

Her claims are unusual even for a country where acupuncture and traditional medicine are still common remedies, but Hong's determination to have the case reopened – even threatening to light herself on fire – led to prosecutors re-examining the case. The convictions eventually were suspended due to flaws by initial investigators.

"Thanks to her efforts, investigators revisited the case which otherwise could have been buried," said Nong Thi Hong Ha, a lawyer for one of the freed men.

Hong says she discovered the spot on Nguyen Dinh Kien's ear the first time he visited her for treatment four years ago. He was brought to the hospital from prison, where he was serving a 16-year sentence after being convicted of gang raping a 20-year-old woman in 2000.

After seeing the spot on Kien's ear, Hong believed his insistence that he was innocent. She later examined his two alleged accomplices and began a campaign for their release. Eventually, President Nguyen Minh Triet ordered that the case be re-examined.

Investigators who revisited the case discovered flaws, including the fact that testimonies of witnesses indicating their innocence were not included in the case's files, according to the local Pioneer newspaper. The three men, having served 10 years in jail, were released in January.

Vietnamese newspapers have dedicated profiles to Hong and her virginity test, crediting her with helping to free the men while not expressing any skepticism of her ability. Earlier this week, she went on an online chat on Pioneer newspaper where readers expressed their "great admiration" for her efforts.

A link to this story.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Poker Festival Volunteer Positions

Thanks to everyone who has expressed interest in the Nautica Charity Poker Festival fundraiser we're running on Tuesday, August 17th and Wednesday, August 18th!

I'm getting very excited to, not only make money, but to see everyone and have a good time!

I wanted to give everyone a sense of what we'll all be doing at the festival - working hard for our money but also enjoying ourselves!

Dealers - The dealer position is the easiest and most vital of all positions - without dealers there is no card playing and without card playing there is no money to be made! Dealers hand out cards to the players. That's about it! Each table features an automatic shuffler so the dealer just pulls the top card off the shuffled pile. Players all receive the same number of cards each hand so there's no need to "hit" or "split" or "stand" or anything else that can get confusing. Dealers have nothing to do with bidding do not determine who wins each hand - the players are all very aware of who wins and that player takes their chips. Then the next hand starts. Easy peasy!
Scheduler/Registration - Have you ever gone to a restaurant and been told there was a wait? They take your name and ask you to hang out for awhile until your table is ready. That's essentially what these volunteers are doing - creating a list of those who want to play and, when there are enough interested players, sending them to the correct table. It's basic computer skills and, if you're lucky, a bit of work on the microphone!

Table Monitor - These volunteers are on their feet and taking it all in! In addition to being able to watch the exciting play, they are also keeping their eyes out for open seats that could be filled or running chips if someone needs more money.

Floor Supervisor - In the movies, these are the pit bosses who wear expensive suits and always have their arms crossed in front of their chests. For our event, these are the volunteers who are making sure everything is going smooth, making sure the dealers have everything they need and offering breaks if a dealer needs one. They may cross their arms in front of their chests but will be wearing a much cooler CRCC volunteer t-shirt (free to all event volunteers!).

Tournament Assistants - There are two types of play at the festival - one is Texas Hold 'Em where players win or lose at the end of each hand. The other is Texas Hold 'Em where players are in a tournament and put in a bunch of money at the beginning and keep playing until the run out of money or win everyone's money! These volunteers will help get the tournaments started and assist in making sure they're moving along.

Cage Volunteers - Don't worry - it's not nearly as bad as it sounds! These volunteers collect the money boxes from the tables each hour, calculate the amount of money coming in from each table and record this with the official auditor. This happens in a "cage" which is essentially just a small office. I'll have to work on that title ...

Miscellaneous - As always, there are odds and ends that will need attention throughout the course of the event!

Clearly there are a lot of things to be done and a lot of volunteers needed to keep things running.

The more volunteers we have, the smoother things go, the faster cards are played, the more fun we all have and the more money we make!

If you are interested in volunteering and have not yet done so, please get in touch with me at or (216)619-6194 x119. Remember you do not need to be an active volunteer with the CRCC so anyone can volunteer and bring some friends or family along with you!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Texas Hold 'Em

from Bilyana Simonoski, Resource Development Intern

Cleveland Rape Crisis Center is eagerly anticipating its first-annual Nautica Charity Poker Festival taking place August 17th and 18th.

You don't need any knowledge of Texas Hold 'Em to volunteer (even if you're dealing!) but for those of you who have never played, or for the pros that need a quick refresher, here is a crash course from (AceNine, LLC, 2010) to make your Texas Hold’em abilities Vegas-worthy.

A Texas Hold'em poker game goes as follows:
  • Depending on the limit and betting structure, players will place out blinds and antes so there is an initial amount to get things started. This is called posting.

  • The dealer shuffles up a standard deck of 52 playing cards.

  • Each player is dealt two private cards face down. These are called your hole cards or pocket cards.

  • Then there is a round of betting starting with the player to the left of the blinds. This is the preflop betting round. Like most games of poker, players can call, raise, or fold.

  • After the betting round ends, the dealer discards the top card of the deck. This is called a burn card. This is done to prevent cheating.

  • The dealer then flips the next three cards face up on the table. This is called the flop. These are communal cards that anyone can use in combination with their two pocket cards to form a poker hand.

  • The player to the left of the dealer starts another betting round.

  • After the betting concludes, the dealer burns again then flips another communal card onto the table. This is called the turn.

  • The player to the left of the dealer begins another round of betting. In many types of games, this is where the bet size doubles.

  • Again, the dealer burns a card and places a final card face up on the table. This is called the river. Players can now use any of the five cards on the table or the two cards in their pocket to form a five card poker hand.

  • There is one final round of betting starting with the player to the left of the dealer.

  • After that, we have the showdown. All of the players who haven't folded reveal their hands. This begins with the player to the left of the last player to call. Players use a combination of their pocket cards and the community cards to form a five card poker hand.

  • The player who shows the best hand wins! Although sometimes players with the same hand split the pot.

    For more information, follow the link below:

Monday, July 12, 2010

"Keep Up the Fantastic Work!"

Hi! My name is Rebecca Walker and I am the Non-Profit Management Intern here at the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center. I do things from writing thank you letters to helping design t-shirts for future CRCC events.

I’m so glad that I have the opportunity to help out around here where I can because I truly believe that this is an incredible place and resource for those affected by sexual violence.

One of my best friends was a client at the CRCC last year and she recently sat me down to tell me about her experience here.

She told me about her art therapy sessions and her talks with different members of the staff. Reflecting on her experience here, she spoke of how kind and accepting everyone at the center was towards her, and how she was finally able to understand that the actions of the man who sexually assaulted her were not her fault. She was able to break free from the guilt and shame she felt.

She told me that the CRCC saved her life, and she doesn’t know where she would be today without the staffs’ help and support.

It’s great to be able to do little things around here to help out staff members, but what makes it even better is knowing how much the CRCC does for its clients. Keep up the fantastic work!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Nautica Charity Poker Festival!

That's right - it's for a great charity!
It's poker!
It's definitely a festival!

And you can help play a part in helping out, having fun and helping us to raise a lot of money!!

We are currently in need of volunteers for the following shifts:

Tuesday, August 17th

Wednesday, August 18th

Interested? You should be!

Let's get down to the details:

What is this festival fundraiser?
Charity poker is a fundraising event held each week that is run by an experienced, licensed organization. A charity provides volunteers who staff the event and receives the event's profits.

Who can volunteer?
Anyone over 18 without a felony on their record. Volunteers for the festival do not need to be trained volunteers with the CRCC. Volunteers do not need to know anything about the game of Texas Hold 'Em. Bring your siblings, spouses, classmates, neighbors, bus driver ... the more the merrier!

Is there training?
Yes and it's both easy and required! We have scheduled 3 training sessions so that we can all learn together! These sessions are:
Wednesday, July 21st 6:00-6:30
Wednesday, July 28th 6:00-6:30
Wednesday, August 4th 6:00-6:30

Will I have fun?

I'm in! Sign me up! And I'll bring some friends!
Great news! Please contact Wendy Hanna at or (216)619-6194 x119. To register, please provide the following information:
Name, e-mail address and phone contact for you and anyone volunteering with you
Times you are available

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Allow me to introduce ... Pat Fleming

I'd like everyone to learn a bit about Pat Fleming. Pat shot to CRCC fame in April when he developed the analogy of scheduling hotline shifts to playing a game of Battleship! Pat is one of our newer Advocates, completing his hotline training this past fall, but he's already made quite an impact both on the program and in the lives of survivors.

What led you to volunteer with CRCC?
I was a peer educator at Miami University presenting to males on campus (specifically fraternities and athletes) about sexual assault, prevalence, and their role in preventing it/supporting friends who experienced it. After moving to Cleveland I really wanted to stay involved in the area and learn how I can better serve the community.

Pat is pictured above with his sisters

What do you enjoy most about volunteering with CRCC?
Besides Wendy's e-mails telling me that I got all the shifts I requested from her ... letting callers know that they're not along with whatever they're dealing with and there's always someone available to try and help.

What do you find most challenging about volunteering with CRCC?
Besides dealing with the rejection Wendy dishes out when I request a 6-10 shift my peers have already snatched up ... I guess I would say the nature of now knowing what happens next for a caller, because you can have a great talk with someone and they may seem totally eager to call up the referral you gave them, but there's no way of knowing for sure if they follow through with it so it can leave you feeling a bit incomplete - but that's the nature of it!

What do you enjoy doing when you're not volunteering?
I love watching and playing sports!! I always have high hopes for Cleveland sports teams. I'm also very active in youth ministry at my church and even helped start/coach our girls' basketball team. Otherwise, I love hanging out with my friends, having hilarious life experiences and trying new beers. I also enjoying ragging on Wendy for being a Steelers fan.

What do you do most often to practice self-care?
Working out and video games.

If money wasn't an issue, describe your ideal vacation.
I studied abroad for a semester in college and had the best 5 months of my life. I would do that again (minus the studying) and travel Europe and the Middle East. I managed to get all over Europe but there's still so much I want to explore. The Middle East's history is so vast and interesting - I haven't had a chance to explore it at all yet! I'd like to bring some of my friends so I've got someone to take pictures with me and translate!

Favorites ...
Book: Rainbow 6 by Tom Clancy, After Silence by Nancy Venable Raine
Movie: The Dark Knight and The Departed
Website or blog:
Vacation spot: Ireland or anywhere with friends
Meal: Prime rib, mashed potatoes, Caesar salad
Spot in your house: Couch (haha!)
Sports teams: Desperate Cleveland sports fan and huge Notre Dame Irish fan too

Pat (standing, second from left) with friends during a recent trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Fired NY banker's suit, and suits, raise eyebrows

from Bilyana Simonski, Resource Development Intern

The following is an article from The Associated Press discussing sexual harassment in the workplace and if it applies to the New York Banker filing a lawsuit against Citibank for allegedly being fired for “looking too distracting for her male colleagues to handle.”

Fired NY banker's suit, and suits, raise eyebrows

(AP)-June 29, 2010

NEW YORK — It went viral as the ultimate example of being punished for circumstances beyond one's control: a woman who said she was fired from her banking job because she complained that her male colleagues called her bodacious figure a workplace distraction.

Then - after the tabloid headlines, the TV interviews, the New York Times column - came the disclosure that the buxom banker who said she couldn't help the way she looked had, in fact, helped it a lot, through a series of cosmetic surgeries she had extolled on reality TV.

When Debrahlee Lorenzana asked state human-rights officials on Monday to investigate her claims against Citibank - which the bank denies - her story had already become a crucible teeming with touchy subjects: sexual harassment, women's workplace fashion, society's obsession with beauty, Americans' mixed feelings about publicity-seeking. It's a morality play for the YouTube era.

But as commentators ranging from legal analysts to comedians debate whether she's a novel form of discrimination victim or a gold digger trying to cash in on male attention she courted, the 33-year-old single mom at the center of it all says she's unbowed and trying to teach corporate America a lesson.

She followed the bank's dress code and tried to do her job, she says, and so what if she strove to look - in her own words - like a Playboy model?

"There's nothing wrong with that," Lorenzana said at a news conference Monday. "One thing has nothing to do with the other."

Read the rest of this article at:

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Congress Passes Legislation to Expand Rights of Victims Sexually Assaulted on Cruise Ships

Legislation Requires Passenger Access to the National Sexual Assault Hotlines
July 1, 2010 – (Washington, DC) – Cruise passengers are one step closer to enjoying a safe vacation, thanks to Congressional passage of the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act. The bill, introduced by Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) and Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA), requires safety measures for Americans at sea and provides protections for those sexually assaulted on board. It also mandates that cruise lines provide victims with “free and immediate access” to the National Sexual Assault Hotline and Online Hotline, both operated by RAINN. The president is expected to sign the bill shortly.

According to Scott Berkowitz, president and founder of RAINN, “Safety protections in this bill will significantly reduce passengers’ risk of sexual assault, and expand the rights of those sexually assaulted on board. By connecting cruise passengers with the support services available through the National Sexual Assault Hotline and Online Hotline, this legislation provides a vital lifeline for victims on cruise ships.” Berkowitz added, “We are thankful to Rep. Matsui and Sen. Kerry for their leadership on this issue, and look forward to working with the cruise industry to ensure that passengers in need receive the help that they deserve.”

Each year more than 10 million Americans take cruises, often unaware of the possible dangers on board. According to the FBI, sexual assault is the leading crime reported on the high seas. This legislation requires that cruise ships provide passengers with free, immediate, and confidential access to RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Hotline (800-656-HOPE) and Online Hotline ( The hotlines, which have helped more than 1.4 million victims of sexual violence, both provide 24/7 support to those in need.

Other provisions of the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act require cruise ships to address the immediate medical needs of a victim by providing anti-retroviral medications to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, as well as give victims access to sexual assault forensic exams (commonly known as “rape kits”) to ensure that all forensic evidence is properly preserved. Ships will also be required to have a U.S. licensed medical practitioner on board at all times to perform the necessary medical examinations and administer treatment. Additional provisions of the legislation require that cruise ships equip all staterooms and crew cabins with peep holes and security latches to further enhance safety.

According to Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-CA), “Implementation of H.R. 3360 is critical to providing the security and safety measures that all Americans need and deserve. I would like to especially thank RAINN for their tireless advocacy on behalf of this legislation, and other key measures that will help prevent sexual assault events from happening - and providing the support victims need if and when it does.”

“As a former prosecutor and advocate for sexual assault victims, I was proud to work with RAINN to ensure that no one forfeits their right to be protected when they board a cruise ship,” said Sen. John Kerry (D-MA). “I applaud my colleagues for helping to ensure that security, safety, and accountability are strengthened, criminals are held accountable, and the cycle of serious crimes on these vessels comes to an end.”

Kendall Carver, the chairman of International Cruise Victims and the driving force behind the legislation, said: “The approval of this legislation represents an historic step towards securing for all passengers the safety and security they need and deserve.” He added that it is “proof to the world that our small group of volunteers with limited funds has been able to make a difference in the safety of Americans. When the Cruise Safety legislation is signed into law, it will serve to protect Americans across the nation during what ought to be relaxing vacations.” He also thanked RAINN for the “major efforts they made to support our efforts in passing this major legislation.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Fourth of July

I hope you enjoy the three "F"s this holiday weekend ...

  1. Family/Friends

  2. Fireworks

  3. Fun

Have a safe and happy 4th of July!

And a special thanks to all of you keeping our 24 hour programs running even over the holiday.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Shatter the Silence Trail Run

SHATTER THE SILENCE is a trail challenge open to guys and gals. A portion of the proceeds benefits the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center.

The course is contained within the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and is semi-hilly with plush foliage, beautiful scenery and just enough of a challenge to keep you on your toes.

Three event categories:
  • 1.5-mile hike for those new the trails (7:10 p.m.)
  • 5K (3.2 miles) for newbie runners (7:05 p.m.)
  • 10K (6.4 miles) for trail runners (7 p.m.)

Thursday, August 19, 2010
7:00 pm
Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ledges Shelter
701 Truxell Road

Registration Closing Date
Monday, August 16, 2010

To register, you can go to: Click the races and events tab, and you will find the application. You can also register online Shatter the Silence.