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SAFE Groups Launch Event Held in Oxnard

Pictured from (r. to l.) Ritchie Wimberly, Co-Founder and Vice President; Dr. Ingrid Dineen-Wimberly, Founder and President,; Mr. Dineen, Advisor; and attendees to the SAFE Groups launch event. (Photo Credit: Gary L. Harbour)

OXNARD,  CA—SAFE Groups (Sexual Assault Forums for Every veteran and civilian) hosted a launch event on Sunday, June 29, 2014, from 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. at Café on A located at 438 South ‘A’ Street. The veteran and survivor-founded non-profit offers private discussion and support group meetings for victims of sexual assault, abuse or general violence. The fundraising event was held to raise community awareness of the invaluable services it provides and featured a silent auction, live musical entertainment, raffle prizes and a meet and greet with the organization’s founders and leadership.

The organization’s founders include Navy veteran and philanthropist Dr. Ingrid Dineen-Wimberly, an author and history professor at University of  La Verne; local educator Dr. Angelica Chavez; Navy veteran and small business owner, Ritchie Wimberly; Thomas O’Halloran, who holds a master’s in clinical psychology; survivor and community activist Karen Martinez; and Krista Smith, long-time volunteer to victims of assault. The focus of the organization is to provide a comprehensive range of services for survivors of assault with a highly specialized, therapeutic and anonymous approach.

According to SAFE Groups, there has been widespread support from a coalition of groups and individuals throughout Ventura County. “I’ve learned that when victims of assault help others, they help themselves. It is my hope that those who are impacted by recent or past sexual assault or violence will trade in shame for service. Given the warm reception SAFE Groups has received from the military, veterans’ organizations and other civilian non-profits, it’s a message of empowerment that resonates,” says Dr. Dineen-Wimberly. “I’m proud of our city, and proud to help create a cohesive community wherein seemingly disparate groups of people join forces to support one another. This community-celebration party is a huge pat on the back to a wide range of supporters.”

The launch event was open to the public and included musical performances by “The Question” (Reggae), “Duo Subito” (Classic Rock), and “Big Ben Garcia” (Folk). A pasta lunch, raffle and bingo prizes, as well as a wide range of silent auction items were donated from local organizations.

For more information about SAFEGroups, visit www.safegroups.orgwww.facebook.com/safegroupsmeet; email: safegroups.ca@gmail.com; via Twitter: @SAFEGroups; by phone: (888) 511-0567; or, SAFEGroups, 1237 South Victoria Avenue, #201, Oxnard, CA, 93035.

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