Friday, October 18, 2019
The Advocates Cheer a Record Breaker
Veterinarian Heidi Woog, whose husband Dr. Tom Archie heads up The Advocates’ board, checks out a live auction lot offering a Prohibition Party provided by The Warfield Distillery.
Monday, July 8, 2019


In the time it took 300 people to sit down at a dinner of citrus-baked chicken breast and chocolate salted caramel tarts, 14 women, 15 children and two dogs checked into the overnight shelter at The Advocates.

“Much of the work The Advocates do is private and confidential. But just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there,” The Advocates board member Quin Curran told those assembled at Trail Creek Pavilion.

The sobering reality had an impact. By the time the evening was through, The Advocates had raised a record-breaking $360,000 for its programs through ticket sales, raffle tickets, the purchase of auction lots and paddle raises pledging monetary support.

Mike and Bobbi Nichols were among those opting to get their pictures taken in front of The Advocates backdrop.

“This paddle is the most powerful tool you have to stop abuse in Blaine County tonight,” said Shannon Nichols, The Advocates’ director of development. “We want you to raise it high and be proud you’re an advocate.”

The soiree, organized by Trina Peters, Rebecca Neeley, Joy Prudek and Quin Curran, was designed to raise money for an organization that last year provided crisis counseling, legal assistance and more for 579 victims of abuse, answered 8,653 calls for help, provided 4,739 nights of safety and offered violence prevention training to 5,434 local students.

Eighty-nine percent of those who took The Advocates’ 16-week Skills for Success job and life skills training obtained higher paying jobs.

“Whatever your needs, The Advocates are on call for all of that,” Board President Dr. Tom Archie told the crowd. “It costs $1.2 million to provide our services. Forty-two percent of our operating costs come from philanthropy, and 45 percent of that comes from tonight. You’re important. You matter to our mission.”

Luc McCann and Ben Whipple were among the attendees at the Black & White Soiree.

The crowd responded, ponying up $6,800 for a three-night stay in San Francisco with two tickets to “Hamilton.” A Valentine’s Lovefest at Ketchum’s pop-up Gastrolab raised $16,000 spread between eight couples. A week at a five-star resort in Cabo San Lucas brought $7,800, while a stay at the new Lodge at Blue Sky near Park City coupled with dinner at former Sun Valley Chef John Murcko’s acclaimed Firewood restaurant brought $4,200.

The Advocates’ Executive Director Tricia Swartling noted that the evening was not meant to raise the remaining $1.5 million needed to complete 18 transitional living apartments. But she added that that project is on schedule and on budget.

She said the new safe housing on River Street would be an incredible place of healing and warm, vibrant energy.

 “We clothe and feed people, keep them in a safe house, then we provide career education. You’re helping people change their lives and you’re saving lives,” she added.

Michelle Stevens and Ellen Tracy dressed in black and white, as the occasion called for.

To wit, one of The Advocates’ clients recounted how she was on top of the world in 2013. She had a successful career, three children ages 10 through four and had just married a second time—to the man of her dreams.

“He was smart and good looking—I thought we were the perfect couple,” said Amy, who looked like she could have graced the cover of a fashion magazine with her long blond locks.

But things quickly went downhill. He began drinking and became abusive, even breaking her hip at one point. When she saw him come home one night, knowing he had been drinking, she called 911.

“I walked outside and they asked if he’d hurt me and I said, ‘Not today.’ ” And that night she became one of the 579 clients The Advocates would see that year.

Most of those who work at The Advocates’ Attic thrift store in Hailey fittingly outfitted themselves with black and white wear they found at The Attic.

They provided counseling with a trauma therapist and offered classes as they helped her start a new life. Now she is 21 months sober “and I’m very proud of that. They understood what I was going through. And. most of all, they gave me hope.”


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