A silent auction held by the Zonta Club of Quaboag Valley on May 6 raised funds for four nonprofits that support women, including Gándara’s Esperanza Women’s Transitional Support Services.

The local Zonta Club is a chapter of Zonta International, an organization that empowers women through service and advocacy. The theme of the event, the Silent “No More!” Auction, was a call to end violence against women and help survivors rebuild their lives.

The proceeds for the auction, which took place at the Ludlow Country Club, will also assist the organizations Strong Women and Girls Read (a Zonta partnership with four local libraries to stock up on books highlighting women and girls who refused to stay silent), as well as Soldier On Women Veterans, and Zonta International Foundation.

Gándara Center’s Esperanza Women’s Transitional Support Services (TSS) is a short-term residential program in Westfield for women who need further stabilization and intensive case management after detox or for women who may be coming from a public shelter and were recently in detox or a higher level care. TSS provides residents with 24-hour structured, supportive, and safe environment, structured psycho-education, and a recovery-oriented milieu management.

“A lot of the women who come to us have been homeless and have very little,” said TSS Lead Case Manager Charlene Franco (pictured above). “We do the best we can to bring back some light into their lives and give them some guidance. We want to empower them—just like Zonta’s mission of empowering women.”

Danielle Petrangelo, sexual assault counselor at the YWCA of Western Massachusetts, had nominated TSS to be an auction recipient because “the program and its staff are amazing.” The residents, she said, could use such items as movie DVDs, journals, colored pencils, candy, coffee, games, adult coloring books, nail polish, makeup lotions, and hair products. “I witness these counselors and directors go above and beyond to help make these women’s journey a success,” she said. “Working so closely and witnessing this amazing program, I feel any extra donation they could use to provide the items needed to make their days more comfortable would be greatly appreciated.”

Franco agreed, saying that the clients would also benefit from funds to purchase supplies for arts and crafts, crocheting, and knitting. “They would love the simple things that really do put a smile on their faces,” she said. “We’re also looking to expand our Whisper Hope garden.”

YWCA Executive Director Elizabeth Dineen praised TSS’s “fantastic work” with women who need support in their recovery process. “They have been a great community partners with the YWCA of Western Massachusetts,” she said.

Interested in donating to Gándara Center’s Esperanza Women’s Transitional Support Services? Click here.

Pictured below are (L-R) TSS Intake Coordinator Phaedra Carco, TSS Lead Case Manager Charlene Franco, TSS Program Director Nicole Kraverotis, and TSS Clinical Director Alisha Boucher.

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