Woman of the Year Gala Celebrates Milestone


Women and Children First’s 10th annual Woman of the Year
Celebrating “The Men Behind the Mission”

February 6, 2016

“Nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something.” While the author of this quote is unknown, the message is simple. We all have the opportunity to help others and do “good” in the world. That may sound simple, but just look around at all of the wonderful non-profit organizations and opportunities that exist in the community of Little Rock. I think our city, for its size, is likely way above average for causes and fundraisers to help those in need.

So how does one go about choosing from all of the opportunities, and which ones do you support? That’s a good question, and many times we, the board members of Women and Children First, the shelter against family violence, are asked just that: “Why are you involved with domestic abuse issues at the WCF shelter?”

Domestic abuse is not easy to talk about. Frankly, it is a part of our society that we would rather not think about — it’s a reality that is too painful. Mistreatment and abuse of others is just flat wrong, any way you look at it. Everyone deserves a life free of violence. And there is way too much violence in our world, in our state and in our city. So if your passion is to help others lead better lives, to help them get free from abuse, then the Women and Children First shelter can become your passion. It’s a great way to begin to help end the cycle of abuse.

We have a strong, working board of committed individuals who have great compassion and big hearts. They care. They love, and they want to make a difference. Whether it’s with one family, one life, or one less incident, they care about our cause.

Many of our families show up during the night, sometimes the women have nothing: no purses, no driver’s licenses and no hope in their current home life situations. They leave everything behind to help provide a safe place for their children. The children are the most effected. They are effected emotionally, physically, from watching abuse take place within their families. It’s difficult to imagine a 5 year old or 10 year old or any young age child living in this situation.

So how could anyone ever question why we do what we do at the shelter? The families need clothes, food, medical care, jobs, transportation and education. You name it and they need it. And when you work with these families, it isn’t labor. It is a burning passion, one in which we are compelled to help others who may have nowhere else to go and no one to help them. If we can just help one family, one girl or boy, then we have helped make the world a little bit better.

We want to stop the cycle of violence. We must stop the cycle of violence. We want to provide education. We want to promote self-esteem where none exists. We want to provide hope for those in need.

On Feb. 6, 2016 at 6 p.m., the Women and Children First shelter will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Woman of the Year gala. This fundraiser event, which accounts for about one-third of our shelter’s budget, was created by Cindy Murphy. The Woman of the Year Gala as it is aptly named, honors a woman who is an exemplary, outstanding community leader and philanthropist. Thus far, we have celebrated nine outstanding women with this honor and have helped raise money to keep the shelter doors open. While we receive some grant money and other donations for income, this gala is essential in helping us provide services in our lean months and really all year long.

Cindy serves as the honorary chair each year. As the creator of the event, no one knows and understands the gala better than she. And everyone who has worked with her agrees with that. Her keen marketing background is essential to all we do to raise funds. So it should come as no surprise that for our 10th anniversary, she recommended that we break from tradition and honor the four men who have supported us the most over the past 10 years. It is a brilliant concept, and it has taken off like wild fire. It is the right thing to do to celebrate these men, whose wives, by the way, are all former Women of the Year honorees.

In order to be successful at fundraising, you must have a strong concept and strong honorees. This year we celebrate Mr. Chuck Erwin, Mr. George Gleason, Dr. Ricardo Sotomora and Mr. Chip Murphy as our “Men Behind the Mission.” These men have been the biggest supporters of the shelter in the biggest ways. So on our 10th anniversary, we are proud to celebrate and recognize these men, who are outstanding in their respective fields. Who would have imagined that this concept to honor these men would take such wings and fly so high?

The Woman of the Year Gala will be held at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Little Rock, and to make sure that our other loyalist and supporters of these 10 years know how much we appreciate them, this will be an evening of gratitude and appreciation. The individuals and companies who have stood behind us and supported us to help the families at the shelter will receive accolades during the evening as well.

For tickets and information about the gala, log on to wcfarkansas.org, or contact Sarah Pollack at 501-960-6778. For shelter needs or to learn how you can become involved with the Women and Children First, the largest shelter against family violence in Arkansas, call 501-376-3219.

1 Comment

  1. by meg dunn on October 5, 2016  10:46 am

    Sandra: My name is Meg Dunn and I am trying to locate one Sandra Storment, as requested by Carol Powell, a long time friend (we go back as far as junior high together). I'm not sure if you're the correct person, or how many women are named Sandra Storment in Little Rock. If not, please excuse this email.

    Carol used to attend St. James United Methodist Church and said she would sometimes see you there.
    Carol also mentioned that she had met you at 1st National Bank (that goes back awhile) while she was there working a long but temporary assignment.

    She is wanting to contact you but did not have a number, and does not have a computer to goggle you.
    She contacted me this past weekend (she now lives in Beebe, AR) and asked if I would try and find/reach you.

    If you are "the" Sandra Storment I'm looking for, please email me at megdunn19@outlook.com. I'll be glad to give you Carol's number, or if you will give me your number to give to her.

    Thanks so much.

    Thank you for your time. and have a great day.

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