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February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

Throughout the month of February, HOPE Family Services (HOPE) invites the community to participate in Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM). Almost 1 in 10 teens report being physically abused by a boyfriend or girlfriend in the last year. Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month is a national effort to raise awareness, protect teens from violence, and promote programs to prevent it.

Everyone has the right to a safe and healthy relationship. However, 1 in 3 adolescents in the US is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional, or verbal abuse from a dating partner and two-thirds never tell anyone. Teen dating violence is a pattern of abusive behavior done by one dating partner to another. Abusive behaviors can include violent words, threats, or actions. 

Within the last 10 years, cell phones and the internet have become common tools used by abusers to stalk and harass in violent relationships. At a rapidly increasing rate, many teens in dating relationships have reported being controlled, threatened, and humiliated through the use of cell phones, social media, and the internet.

"Our goal is to get the community engaged in prevention and start a conversation about teen dating violence," says Laurel Lynch, CEO of HOPE Family Services. "We want everyone in the community to promote messages to help teach the differences between healthy and unhealthy relationships."

Participation from the community during TDVAM will help to spread awareness and work to stop dating abuse before it starts! Remember, love has many definitions, but abuse isn’t one of them. HOPE staff members have reached out to local middle and high schools to engage and educate students on the importance of Teen Dating Violence Awareness. 

During the month of February, participants are encouraged to engage others on social media using #TDVAM2020 and #HOPE4TDVAM. 

  • Feb. 9-15: Respect Week! This is a great time to learn about unhealthy behaviors. 
  • Feb. 11: Wear Orange Day! Please wear orange and share your picture on social media to increase awareness of TDVAM. Don’t forget to tag HOPE Family Services, too!

HOPE’S 2019 Holiday Recap 


During the holidays, we work hard to ensure a festive atmosphere for the families of HOPE. Throughout the 2019 holiday season, the community was invited to participate in several projects to impact the lives of survivors and their families to take important steps towards healing during what can often be a difficult time of year. We were fortunate enough to have an outpouring of support from our community for our 2019 campaign.

Our holiday projects included: 

Embrace-A-Family 2019: 193 individuals in total (48 families | 145 children) 

The Embrace -A-Family project invited families, neighbors, and co-workers to come together to embrace HOPE families by purchasing specific items from a survivor’s wish list. We’d like to give a special shout out to our friends at Peach’s Restaurants. They embraced 21 families, for a total of 97 individuals (21 adults and 76 children) - a record!

The Holiday Gift Shop 2019: 339 individuals in total (93 families | 246 children) 

Our Holiday Gift Shop gave participants a sense of excitement; each participant had the opportunity to shop for their little ones, free of charge. These gifts ensured survivors experience the joy of providing for their children and feeling safe and happy. The children in the shelter had the special opportunity of surprising their moms with a gift from our mom’s store.

Total Impact of 2019 Holiday Projects: 532 individuals! (141 families | 391 children)

We couldn’t share the news about the holiday without mentioning the wonderful Angels at Work, who donated their time, talent and gifts to ensure the Holiday Gift Shops were organized and well-stocked for participants.

On behalf of the survivors we serve, thank you for opening your hearts to support HOPE’s annual holiday projects. Every gift given helped the holidays become more joyful. Remember, together there is HOPE. 

Click the button below to check out a photo album of donations and thank you cards from our HOPE families! 


The Great Mates Support HOPE Family Services in 2020


Each year, The Great Mates, a nonprofit organization within the Bradenton Yacht Club, selects one local organization to support through their annual fundraising efforts. The Great Mates have raised and contributed more than $525,000 since 2002 to local Manatee County charities. This year, we are excited to announce they have selected to support our mission at HOPE Family Services! Matching funds up $25,000 provided through the generosity of the John J. Gorr Foundation (Alexandra St. Paul, Donor Advisor) of Manatee Community Foundation. We are grateful for the hard work and dedication the Great Mates have for helping the Manatee County community.


Join us for the Great Mates’ Annual Gala!

March 7, 2020 | Bradenton Yacht Club |  5:30pm

The theme “Island Hoppin’ to Kokomo” will feature the sounds, sights, and food of the Caribbean islands! Please support us by attending the event (individual tickets are $95 with $50 to charity), participating in the raffle for a week’s stay at a gorgeous Blue Ridge, GA cabin, donating items for the silent auction or sponsoring the Annual Gala.

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February HOPE Hero - Kimberly

meAbout our HOPE Hero: 
Kimberly is a Bradenton native and graduated from USF with a Bachelor's degree in psychology and social work. Her friends would describe her as very creative, loving, kind and funny. Growing up, she always had a passion for children and pursues that every day through her work as a Primary Prevention Advocate for youth in Manatee County. Kimberly’s role brings her into local schools, programs, and clubs to educate about Teen Dating Violence, the warning signs of domestic violence, and safety planning services available at HOPE. She also trains mental health professionals, nurses and dental students on how to identify and help a victim of intimate partner violence. If you see her at a community event, make sure to say hi!

HOPE Hero Q & A 

What have you learned while working at HOPE?

Working at HOPE has helped me to overcome my fear of public speaking and reminded me that I am exactly where I should be. I’ve also learned that going through difficult situations can teach you important lessons that allow you to better help others.

What motivates you to work with this organization? 

I find new people that motivate me on a daily basis. Whether it’s clients and coworkers in the office or the youth I engage with outside of the office, I am inspired simply by helping, encouraging, and educating them. 

What advice would you give to a future volunteer or employee?

My advice would be if you love what you do and if it comes from the heart then never stop pursuing it. 

Describe the most incredible view you’ve ever seen.

The most incredible view that I have ever seen is when I was on a plane as a little girl. I was on my way to Jamaica and I looked out of the window. I felt like I could see the whole world and that’s when I knew that the world is bigger than we know.

Describe yourself using only film titles.

Jumanji –  I am adventurous,  ready to take on new things and continue to work on my imperfections. Trolls – I want to save the world and make everything glitter again in people’s lives by encouraging them.  


We truly appreciate all of your hard work and dedication to our mission!