"Walk a Mile" to help the YWCA fight domestic violence - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

TUESDAY, September 28, 2010

"Walk a Mile" to help the YWCA fight domestic violence

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By News 8's Carlo Cecchetto

SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - It's time to walk the walk. In these tough times, domestic violence is up and state funding at one of San Diego's most prominent shelters is way down. By joining me to Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, you'll be helping victims of domestic violence be safe and get a fresh start.

"When it started to get really bad he threatened to shoot anyone who opened the door. He went and grabbed a gun and said it right in front of the kids. We didn't know what was going to happen," domestic violence survivor Stacey Phelps said.

That's when Stacey decided to get out, turning to the YWCA in her Michigan hometown and making a plan to escape close to her family here in San Diego.

"They were just afraid he was going to lose it. They called me and said you need to get out of your parents' home because he knows where your parents live and he knows where your sister lives. You need to go to a shelter," Stacey said.

With 24 hours, Stacey and her three kids were into the San Diego YWCA's Becky's House program, a safe place to get a fresh start with everything they would need, from shelter to clothing.

"So not only do we provide a safe place for them to stay, but we also give them the guidance and support that they need to rebuild their lives to self sufficiency and help them live on their own and discover their dreams," YWCA of San Diego County CEO Heather Finlay said.

But keeping the doors open at Becky's House takes money, and it can take ridiculous measures to bring that money in.

"This is a very lighthearted way to bring community awareness to a very serious issue -- domestic violence," Finlay said.

I'll be there again to help out, and while there's really no way for me to understand what it's like to be a victim of domestic violence, I can suffer a little embarrassment and pain to raise money and awareness and give someone in dire need a soft place to land in the worst of times.

"It took the whole gun situation where my kids could have died before I realized it. You can't break it that fast. You can't do it on your own," Stacey said.

The YWCA's Walk a Mile in Her Shoes is this Thursday, Sept. 30, with check-in starting at 5 p.m. at Fourth and K in downtown San Diego. The walk is at 6 p.m. and the after-party is at Hotel Solamar at 6:30 p.m.

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