Friends of Yates luncheon honors efforts on behalf of domestic violence victims

LaDora Lattimore, Friends of Yates executive director-CEO, at the Friends of Yates Domestic Violence Community Luncheon Oct. 26. (Photo from Friends of Yates)

On Oct. 26, Friends of Yates held its 18th Annual Domestic Violence Community Luncheon in honor of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

This event was held at the Friends of Yates Center where community members, partners and government officials gathered together to celebrate and recognize the community partners and members for the collaborative efforts to help victims of domestic violence live violence-free lives.

Friends of Yates, Inc.-Della Gill-Joyce H. Williams Center for Battered Women and their Children, continues to provide comprehensive programs and services for battered women as they make the transition from “victim” to “survivor.”

These programs and services include a strength-based case management program, BridgeSPAN Healthcare Program, Crime Awareness Coordinating Effort (C.A.C.E.), Community Education and Outreach, Individual and Group Counseling, Educational Seminars, Children Programs, Court Advocacy, Job Coach, Budgeting, Substance Abuse Services, Keep a Clear Mind, Transitional Housing and a 24-hour crisis hotline.

With 105 years of continuous service to the community, Friends of Yates Inc. along with its community partners have no plans to rest in their efforts to facilitate a “Safe Place” for victims of domestic violence.

This event was attended by many public officials, agencies, organizations and churches in recognition of the need for collective action regarding the seriousness of domestic violence.

The program was led by Olivia Dorsey, community affairs director from KMBC, Channel 9, as the emcee. The Rev. Robert L. Baynham, Metropolitan Baptist Church, delivered the invocation followed by a warm welcome extended by Fay Gooden, Friends of Yates board secretary.

Rebbecca Johnson, Friends of Yates program director, addressed the audience by giving an account of Friends of Yates-Della Gill-Joyce H. Williams Domestic Violence Program 2018 highlights, which included outreach services to 2,097 individuals and groups. Over 291 victims of domestic violence were provided shelter and transitional housing, who occupied over 5,026 bed nights and over 2,279 calls were answered on the 24-hour service hotline.

Greetings were shared by several government officials and their offices:

Christal Watson, from Mayor Alvey’s office, presented Fay Gooden, Friends of Yates board secretary and artist Brandon Roberson with proclamations from the mayor’s office in honor of domestic violence awareness month.

Kathy Wolfe-Moore, state representative; Melissa Bynum, commissioner of District 1 at large, Unified Government; Harold L. Johnson Jr., commissioner of District 4, Unified Government; Tom Burroughs, state representative and commissioner, District 2 at large, Unified Government, all delivered messages from their offices.

Tyrone Garner, deputy chief of police, KCKPD, shared in depth about the collaboration between KCKPD and Friends of Yates. Kathy Ray, director of advocacy and education, KCSDV, shared statistics about domestic violence nationwide and within the state of Kansas. Finally, District Attorney Mark Dupree shared a testimony of how domestic violence has affected him and inspired him to be a champion for victims of domestic violence.

This year’s featured artist included saxophonist solo, liturgical dance and poem. Dr. Vernard Johnson serenaded the audience with a saxophone performance of “Amazing Grace,” and invited all of those in attendance to his upcoming concert.

Stacy Putman performed an emotional liturgical dance to “Release it” by Vickie Winans, that demonstrated the power one gains when letting go of the pain caused by others. Sheri Purpose Hall delivered a thought-provoking piece as she compared a deer in headlights to a woman experiencing domestic violence and the complexities of why women stay.

In recognition of extraordinary community efforts to not only end violence, but to also be a support and resource to survivors, community activists, officials and advocates received the “Mary Ann Flunder -Castina Cooper Distinguished Service Award.”

The honorees of this award have individually or collectively affected the lives of survivors of abuse.

Deputy Chief Tyrone Garner, and Battalion Chief Morris Letcher presented this year’s honorees with plaques. 2018 honorees included Angela Hobson, Commissioner Harold L. Johnson, Commissioner Melissa Bynum, Deputy Chief Tyrone Garner, District Attorney Mark Dupree, Donnie V. Bowers, Doug Harsh, Dr. George Smith, Erin Jones, Jeff Christopherson, Jennie N. Moore Chapter No. 50, Joe Monslow, Judy Kennedy, Major Kelli Bailiff, Rep. Kathy Wolfe-Moore, Rep. and Commissioner Tom Burroughs, the Rev. Robert L. Baynham, the Rev. Vernon Debose, Sheila Hollis, Sheri Purpose Hall, Shirley Wickliffe and Tamara Jordan. All received a special honor and thanks for their dedication and service.

LaDora Lattimore, Friends of Yates executive director-CEO, made remarks acknowledging publicly the gratitude and appreciation the agency and those served by the agency have for special community partners, donors, contributors and supporters who continue to make the Friends of Yates mission possible. The benediction was delivered by the Rev. Robert L. Baynham and attendees were invited to the center’s dining hall where lunch was served.

The community is asked to support and become a partner, volunteer or donor with Friends of Yates Inc.

Upcoming events include the Holiday at the Apollo Annual Meeting and Benefit Gala from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 15 at Lake Quivira Country Club, 100 Crescent Blvd., Lake Quivira, Kansas. Tickets are $50 per person, $500 per table (10 guests). For reservations or more information, contact the administrative office, 913-321-1566 or visit

– Story and photos from Shanice Gipson, community outreach educator, Friends of Yates Inc.

At the Friends of Yates Domestic Violence Community Luncheon Oct. 26 were, left to right, Fay Gooden, Friends of Yates board secretary; Brandon Roberson, artist; and Christal Watson of Mayor Alvey’s office. (Photo from Friends of Yates)
Stacy Putman performed a liturgical dance at the Friends of Yates Domestic Violence Community Luncheon Oct. 26. (Photo from Friends of Yates)
Dr. Vernard Johnson gave a saxophone performance of “Amazing Grace” at the Friends of Yates Domestic Violence Community Luncheon Oct. 26. (Photo from Friends of Yates)
Mary Ann Flunder – Castina Cooper Distinguished Service Award recipients were recognized at the Friends of Yates Domestic Violence Community Luncheon Oct. 26. (Photo from Friends of Yates)
Olivia Dorsey, community affairs director from KMBC Channel 9 was the emcee at the Friends of Yates Domestic Violence Community Luncheon Oct. 26. (Photo from Friends of Yates)

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