Welcome back to our regular series: the Supporter Spotlight!
Every member of our community has a story… a reason why the work of SafeHouse Denver means so much.
As we celebrate Women’s History Month, Misti Petrie – one of our corporate volunteers – shares how women in business set a lasting example of generosity and local impact.
Tell us a little more about yourself.
Misti was born and raised in Montana, but she has spent the last 17 years in Colorado. She currently lives in Parker with her husband and their two children, ages 13 and 10. Misti is a District Sales Manager with AstraZeneca, a pharmaceutical and biotechnology company, where she has worked for the last 15 years. In her free time, staying active is key. “We’re constantly doing something. I think the team knows that about me,” she laughed.
How did you first get involved with SafeHouse Denver?
Misti and her colleagues first learned about about the agency while attending a virtual women’s conference last fall. Her company encourages taking time to volunteer, so the group tried to find an ideal opportunity. “We reached out to multiple organizations, and [SafeHouse Denver] made it very easy,” Misti remarked, noting that other agencies had limits on the amount of time and the size of the group they could accommodate. “Crafting the experience of what we were able to give, in the time we were able to give and the number of [volunteers]. I hope that people understand that [SafeHouse] curated that so well with us.”
Members of AstraZeneca’s cardiovascular and respiratory teams came in two groups for service projects at the Emergency Shelter. In October, they worked on the storage space for donated items and made a generous monetary gift. This donation was matched by AstraZeneca, and the funds were used to purchase new dining room tables for the Shelter. In November, they organized toys and art supplies for younger Shelter residents, and they also provided two new shelving units for the facility. “We just love seeing the transformation [of the space],” Misti said. “We appreciated […] building a project that we could do but that also benefitted [survivors].”
What does the mission of SafeHouse mean to you personally?
A close friend of Misti had experienced domestic violence in the past, which made this connection with SafeHouse Denver even more tangible. “It was a very personal approach for me […] to see her through the journey,” Misti shared. “When you see it firsthand, any way that you can help individuals go through that moment in life […] is such a gift.”
What do you wish more people knew about domestic violence?
Misti expressed her disappointment that many people will often blame survivors or question them about what happened. She believes that asking why survivors don’t just leave abusive situations is detrimental without understanding the difficult choices they often make regarding their stability: housing, work, finances or even children. “They’ve been abused, and they’ve changed the way that their thought process works. After so many years of that, I don’t think you can place that blame on the [survivor],” Misti explained. “Any steps when they’re coming out of that are huge milestones.”
What advice do you have for people who want to get involved with our mission?
Professionally, Misti feels fortunate to be part of a company that aligns with her values, and she embraces the responsibility of giving back from a leadership perspective. “When you can be a role model for someone, you never know who you are that role model to. You may never know. The fact that you display yourself in the workplace is inspiring someone else to follow in those footsteps,” Misti observed. “When you let your talent and passion thrive, you can change the world.”
Overall, it comes down to knowing that any activity or dollar amount – of any size – will add up to a meaningful impact for survivors. “Picking something for a company – that they feel like is going to make a difference in the community – is really important for people to get behind. A huge part of our company is inclusion and diversity and women in the workplace, so what better way to pair it with a mission that helps our community?”
Is your company or community group interested in a service project to support survivors of domestic violence and their children at SafeHouse Denver? Contact Dana Roberts, Donations & Volunteer Coordinator, at email@example.com or 303-302-6128. Interested individuals are also encouraged to learn more about volunteer opportunities and fill out the online application form.