Genieve Shelter holds annual gala

Published 4:41 pm Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By Tracy Agnew

Suffolk News-Herald

The Genieve Shelter held its annual gala on Oct. 26 during National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

The event at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts featured live entertainment, a storyteller, guest speaker, dinner and silent and live auctions. It also included the kickoff of a new capital campaign for the shelter.

The capital campaign aims to raise $1 million to pay off the debt on the emergency shelter and build a new house to shelter domestic violence survivors. It also aims to bring in enough money to purchase a building for the organization’s headquarters so it doesn’t have to continue paying rent.

“The gala was a successful event,” said Marleisa Montgomery, executive director of the shelter, adding the gala is the organization’s signature fundraiser. “The people that were attending said they had a good time and they enjoyed themselves.”

The guest speaker for the event was Delegate Chris Jones, who reviewed the history of the shelter and some statistics. He also talked about how he came to be so passionate about domestic violence when he and his wife, Karen, supported a friend who went through it.

“You don’t know what goes on behind closed doors,” Jones said. “We saw firsthand with a dear friend what domestic violence and domestic abuse can do to someone.”

Jones said having organizations like the Genieve Shelter is important to help people leave their abusers.

“Leaving’s tough, but staying away, sometimes, is tougher and requires a community and support services to make that happen,” he said. “Many are afraid to come forward; many are affected by the stigma. It’s prevalent, and we cannot stand for it.”

The Genieve Shelter was founded in 1988 by survivor Theresa Connell and supports survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and human trafficking. It serves Suffolk, Franklin and Smithfield as well as Isle of Wight, Southampton and Surry counties.

In the last year, the Genieve Shelter has provided shelter to 234 individuals in imminent danger of domestic violence and sexual assault for a total of 7,508 safe nights, according to a press release. In addition, 586 non-shelter clients were provided supportive services.

The shelter provides an array of services including a hotline; food, clothing and household supplies; court advocacy; legal consultation; intense case management; safety planning; crisis intervention; children’s programs; emergency shelter; rapid re-housing; transportation; individual and group therapy; employment and financial counseling; and more.

Montgomery encouraged people to continue to support the shelter’s capital campaign.

“We would like the communities to join in and help us with our capital campaign and to continue to support us throughout the year as we launch this big endeavor to raise a million dollars,” she said.

Donations can be made at the Genieve Shelter’s website,, or by calling the shelter at 925-4365.

If you are in a domestic violence crisis, call the 24-hour hotline at 1-800-969-HOPE (4673).