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June 3, 2010

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June 3, 2010

On opening night of "The Vagina Monologues," a woman approached me. Surrounded by t-shirts bearing testimony to survivors and victims of violence, she told me: "Thank you so much for doing this. I've been a advocate for survivors for years and I am always touched seeing what you put on. I will always come here every year." Her remarks, and many others, illustrate the ever expanding reach of V-Day. While powerful in itself, V-Day also invites creativity to its campaign. Every year we put on a variety of different events to raise awareness and money for our local Rape Recovery Center. All of this is in conjunction with "The Vagina Monologes." I am sure I am not alone in saying my experiences with V-Day will continue to inspire and strengthen me throughout my life.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

As a volunteer and Organizer, I've developed my ability to coordinate and manage large events. But, on a deeper level, I've experienced emotional strength. V-Day helped me recover from past abuse and it gave me a venue to re-empower myself.

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How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

June 2, 2010

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June 2, 2010

I hosted the first V-Men event to take place in the state of Rhode Island and I have to say, V-Day was an organization I would gladly work with again. They made the process clear and easy to understand. Mark Matousek went above and beyond to make the experience a valuable one. Eve Ensler was truely an amazing person and I have to say she is an excellent dancer! The inights V-Day provided through their artist work has honestly changed my life. I now have a new perspective because of them. I view the world differently, I see women more positively, and I even have a better sex life because V-Day and The Vagina Monologues!

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The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Providence, RI

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How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

May 31, 2010

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May 31, 2010

I was first introduced to V-Day in 1999 when I performed in the first ever production of The Vagina Monologues at Georgetown University. This experience moved me in unexpected ways - as a survivor of sexual violence I began a long overdue healong process; as a college student I changed my major from Nursing to Women's Studies and ended up writing my senior thesis on TVM; and I became more aware of myself as a global citizen. I continued to volunteer with V-Day for the next 3 years of college and resumed my relationship with the organization during the 10th Anniversary celebration in New Orleans. My mother, sister and good friend accompanied me to this event, which made it even more amazing. That fall while in graduate school I committed to organizing V-Day events at San Diego State University and was once again reminded that V-Day is a tremendous asset to the global campaign to end violence against women. I remain impressed that with a small staff V-Day is able to hold workshops for volunteers, coordinate new productions , raise millions of dollars and stage new spotlight campaigns each year. As an instructor at SDSU I was able to use the Congo Teach-In multiple times on campus and helped an undergraduate student begin a chapter of STAND. My awareness of the atrocities in the DRC was enhanced by the information provided by V-Day through the teach-in, the website and a workshop with Eve Ensler in L.A. so I could pass along what I learned to my students and other members of the community. I will continue to support V-Day and its mission for as long as I am able and encourage others to do the same. A final story is worth mentioning to highlight the dedication of the V-Day staff. My support of V-Day is no surprise to my friends and family and in 2007 my fiance found a publisher's proof of The Vagina Monologue to give me as a Christmas gift. He thought an autograph from Eve Ensler would make the text even better so he contacted the generic V-Day email to see if this would be possible. He immediately heard back from Kate Fisher, Communications and Campaigns Manager, who let him know that Eve was in and out of town for the next month or so, but if he mailed the copy of the book to her she would do everything she could to get it signed. When it looked like the autograph would not happen, Kate sent the book back to make sure that he had it to give to me on the holiday. Just before Christmas, however, he got another email from Kate saying that Eve would in fact be in the office for a very short time and could he send the book back. He FedExed the book, it was signed and sent back in time for Christmas. This is an example of the kind of dedication one can expect from the V-Day organization. This request could easily have been ignored, but Kate went above and beyond any expectation. If this is the type of care the V-Day staff takes with an autograph request, imagine what they are doing to end violence against women!

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the dedication of the staff to disseminating the mission of V-Day through events, workshops, emails, press releases, building relationships with like-minded organizations such as the Enough Project and STAND, the spotlight campaigns, and V-Day New Orleans

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How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

May 31, 2010

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May 31, 2010

Statistics for sexual assault - as well as the results of - are horrifying to say the least and, at the same time, it often feels like no one cares. I feel that people should be screaming down the street, throwing tantrums in stores and stopping traffic. Men, women and children everywhere should be stopping their lives to not just take notice, but to take action. V-Day is one of the only organizations that isn't just reacting to the facts, we are actively trying to change them. Training at other centers focuses on dealing with the after affects of sexual assault, whereas V-Day is a grassroots movement aiming toward community organization and unification to stop sexual assault from occurring in the first place. They encourage and try to cultivate leadership and ownership of one's own voice and intuition via numerous avenues including theater, film, and most importantly, open and honest communication. They provide training, have high level executives communicating directly with grassroots organizers, and encourage positive individual futures while still knitting a powerful, forward-thinking community.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my every day interactions. Just casually talking about my involvement provides me with nearly daily encounters of women in need of healing and empowerment. These very same interactions feed my sense of civic duty and dedicate me further to our cause.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

build and strengthen relationships between organizers in order to stay true to the goal of building a global community and to better effect change. I would also add 'continuing education' to truly utilize the volunteers to their maximum potential.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

meeting others who are as passionate about this issue as I am.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

concerned, grateful, supportive and encouraging.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

develop feasible, long-term plans to reduce all types of violence internationally, and change our world.

Ways to make it better...

there was just a touch more guidance, such as a regional contact or ongoing education for people who want to do more but need an umbrella to work under.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

coordinating the army they have built.

One thing I'd also say is that...

V-Day has saved many lives and peoples' sanity, including my own.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

May 28, 2010

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May 28, 2010

Being part of the V-Day movement for me is a priviledge and a cause very dear to my heart. V-Day brings the issues of violence against women and young girls up front and center, not only nationally but internationally. It is because of wonderful organizations like V-Day that we now truly know the atrocities that women from around the world suffer every day. The hardships of women and young girls from Iraq, to Afghanistan…to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico…to the Democratic Republic of Congo affect us all…our families, our children and our overall communities. Violence against women should be as important as any other issue that is troubling the world today. V-Day is an organization that we absolutely need in order to continue to raise awareness about violence against women and young girls locally, nationally and worldwide. On a personal level, V-Day single handedly changed my life back in 2006 and continues to do so up to this day. V-Day has taught me that women need to stand by women and that men can stand by women as allies and that together we can change the story of women. From performing, to directing and organizing The Vagina Monologues; it has helped me and given me the opportunity and the power to raise my voice…to reach within myself and stand tall and be heard. V-Day has not only helped me become a better woman, but has opened the lines of communication within my own family. Being able to openly talk to my conservative parents about what V-Day stands for - has become a life changing experience. V-Day has brought many beautiful, strong and wonderful women into my life who I now call my V-Sisters. My life will never be the same because I have crossed paths with them and I have V-Day and Eve Ensler to thank. V-Day is and will always be a part of my life. Viva la Vagina!

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have been empowered by V-Day and have shared this new found energy with other women. I am part of a collective voice that refuses to stay quiet about violence against women and young girls.

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How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

May 28, 2010

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May 28, 2010

V-Day is focused on empowering women to tell their stories and gain control of their lives through education and discussion. It releases women from shame and reluctance to celebrate their complete feminine selves by complete honesty and open acknowledgment of their bodies, their identity, their strength and their character. Performing in the Vagina Monologues was an amazing affirmation of the various roles we inhabit as women, plus exposing the hypocrisy of a male dominated society which forces women to hide their sexuality and differences from men to fit the male worldview.

Photos

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Personal growth, confidence and meeting goals for my life.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Make Eve Ensler immortal.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

The focus and positive energy of everyone involved.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

helpful, good listeners, creative and diligent.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Empower young girls and women to celebrate their complete femininity with courage and vision, through more presentations of Vagina Monologues, more information distribution and organizing events.

Ways to make it better...

I could have repeated performing the play.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

indifference and ignorance of our young people, especially in the cases of global oppression of women in areas like genital mutilation and basic human rights for women.

One thing I'd also say is that...

I've run out of things to say.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2007

May 28, 2010

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May 28, 2010

It's difficult to describe how moving and impressive this organization is. I haven't had the opportunity to dive into as much as I'd like. However, participating in the The Vagina Monologues v-day performances has given me the chance to enrich the lives on my college campus. It's a show that gives women confidence and confronts our embedded societal fears. It empowers women to take ownership of oneself while trying to remove the "woman stigmas" still left in the world. Finally, every show gives a sense of global awareness causing donors to fight the war again women not just on the home front but internationally as well. I am so proud to have found this organization and look forward to participating in V-Girls when I learn more about it and how to get involved.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Everyday. Just knowing that there is a group of women out there that care about empowerment as much as I do has really opened up my own voice in the world. I love sharing this empowerment with all of my friends and family also.

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How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

May 28, 2010

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May 28, 2010

I was first introduced to V-Day in 2004 when I was invited by a friend to see her perform onstage. I witnessed a group of women sharing stories of other women around the world. These were stories of rape, domestic violence, female genital mutilation, oppression, hatred, servitud, as well as ingenuity, transformation, strength, empowerment, resilience, passion, love... I remember laughing and crying as I took in all for a little over an hour. The message was clear and powerful as these stories were shared. I decided that I wanted to share this message in my community. As a Latina, I knew I had to share it in my Latino community to raise much needed awareness in order to break the silence. Six years later I am still involved in this extraordinary cause along many others in my community. All this, thanks to the vision of one extraordinarily committed woman, Eve Ensler, and her dedicated team. The journey I have taken has changed my existence as a woman and as a human being and has allowed me the opportunity to work with other volunteers and witness their transformation as well. We've done this one person at a time. Empowered by the awareness that has been brought into our lives and that now we go on to bring upon many in the community. We've learned to share a passion through our voices and collective efforts. We have joyfully spent many hours doing volunteer work to raise funds and have seen the impact it has had on the population we committedly strive to support. The funds we've generated have allowed for the continuation of much needed services in our community, e.g., at a local domestic violence and sexual assault shelter. We've seen how individual's in need that have benefited, have been supported in their efforts to break the cycle of violence. This help may include helpipng someone acquire sustainable housing by helping them pay move-in costs. As part of a community involved with such an amazing organization as V-Day, we have strengthened many bonds as individuals and have put forth the effort to reach incredible goals to help social service agencies in our community. Furthermore, we have witnessed many in a crowd impacted by the awareness raised. And their moving words have let us know that they had been touched by the work of V-Day. The effort of V-Day continues to be multiplied worldwide and I am proud to say that I am part of that effort on a local and worldwide basis and continue to see the growing involvement of others in my community. I continue to see the lives that are touched of the volunteers themselves as they gain personal growth, hence creating in them the passion to work for such an important cause. In closing, I treasure the fact that I am part of a local and worldwide movement and have successfully joined efforts to stand up against the oppression and violence generated against women and girls locally and worldwide in an effort to end the atrocities and crime and help those in need follow a path of healing. Thank you, V-Day. Thank you for making a difference in my life and the lives of millions in the U.S. and around the world. Thank you for helping a woman in my city free herself from domestic violence and recover from rape and incest while helping a young girl in Africa be saved from Female Genital Mutilation or a group of women in the Congo recover physically and emotionally from multiple rapes suffered as a result of the war, to name a few. My heart is humbled at the opportunity to work with such an empowering and effective organization as V-Day. Thank you, again, for the opportunity. Cynthia Trejo

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have had a personal transformation, which has empowered me to have the strength to speak up and stand up for the most vulnerable. I am stonger and more confident because of my experience with V-Day. I have learned to create positive change.

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How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

May 27, 2010

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May 27, 2010

it happened that the play we put on was not the vagina monologues but we had a congo teach-in in conjunction with the play and people learned about v-day. to be honest, i got too emotional when speaking about what the women in the DRC are facing each day. this prevented me from drilling home the issue---- although i did have lots of literature around which stated clearly the horrors that women and girls face. v-day org. has alot of materials that can be quite useful when you are putting on any kind of event for the public. even when you think that everyone must already know what's happening to women and girls, you'd be surprised! this is a subject that no one wants to speak about and thus it continues. eve ensler has been the brave soul who has "opened this can of worms" and now many more women are speaking up......that's all it will take - we cannot be silent about this issue - no matter how much of a bringdown the truth is.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

just watching the vimeos of the city of joy being built. from a pile of bricks to buildings with windows and roofs.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

none

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

that they work with the people that they are helping. they follow the lead of women that live there rather than coming into a place and telling them what to do. they listen.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

do alot more.

Ways to make it better...

can't think of anything that would make it better.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

the fact that the truth is not pretty and people don't want to talk about it.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

May 27, 2010

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May 27, 2010

To me VDAY is more than the production of The Vagina Monologues which sits at its core. VDAY is an opportunity to share with others through creative and educational means a terrible truth which happens daily in this world and in our own cities and towns. That truth is that women and girls are abused and violated in horrific ways. And that this... 'culture of violence'... must be seen by the greatest number of citizens on the planet and stopped by their awareness. But to do that through theatre and art, through education and through the community-building which develops from VDay is the positive RIGHT direction for change. In Florence we do a bilingual version of The Vagina Monologues with 26 women on stage: Italians, expatriates from around the globe and US study abroad students. Women who would never know each other form a bond around this work. This past year we held a Chianti wine raffle created by one of the women, we had a gorgeous exhibit of art in response to the situation in the DRC in the lobby. We showed a film which brought information to people who knew nothing of the situation in the DRC. Eve Ensler and her team have given me and those of us in Florence the opportunity to be a part of a positive movement. I have learned about horrors which I never knew existed and I have learned the power of communal response which I continually stand behind with gratitude and joy. VDAY gives that opportunity.... to learn, and to fully give through your own creative voice and expression. I have been able to include my passion for US study abroad students having a healthier, intimate engagement with the communities they visit through including them in this project. VDAY is an exceptional organization.

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The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Florence International Theatre Company, Florence Italy

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I honestly have no changes that I feel would be made. I feel a push toward a more global presence involving US students abroad would be something I would stand behind and take part in.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Within its structure it supports creative expression and builds incredible community.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

We worked in two languages with women from around the world. The project reflected that.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Literally change the world. The moment violence against women stops humankind would have to shift its focus from a violence-based society to something else. The question is... are we capable of that as a species?

Ways to make it better...

If we, in Florence Italy where this project was implemented, were financially supported for the project. Finding funders in Italy is a very difficult thing. Generally Italians do not fund charities in their culture so it does make being effective hard

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

The truth Eve Ensler speaks. She is opening doors to areas of this world which many people simply do not want to see. This is why she is my heroine. Her road, though not impossible, is a very difficult one.

One thing I'd also say is that...

Being involved in this project opens your heart, your mind, your body and creative emotions to the community you live in. It is a rare opportunity to do that for anyone. It is a gift you receive and then share.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

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