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Name change brings new start for Partners for Peace

By Kassadi Moore

For The Weekly

BANGOR– The non-profit organizations Spruce Run and Womancare have been safeholds to victims of domestic violence since 1973 and 1979 respectively. Since they merged in 2013, the organization’s leaders worried that if the name changed, those who reach out to the two organizations might not think they no longer existed and the temporary name Spruce-Run Womancare was created.

However, almost four years after the merger, the Spruce Run-Womancare Alliance has officially changed its name to Partners for Peace.

“We always wanted a new name and a new start together, and especially because we wanted people to know that our services are inclusive of all people,” said Partners for Peace Community Response Team Leader Casey Faulkingham.

After the merger, Spruce Run-Womancare integrated their mission statements and visions, while continuing internal discussions about a new name. Spruce Run-Womancare solicited feedback from the community and partners concerning the change.

Partners for Peace asked staff and community members to identify what words came to mind when they thought of Spruce Run-Womancare, Faulkingham said. Peace, equality, safety, justice and hope were all common responses.

They came to the decision that peace was the ultimate goal and focus of the organization.

“So, the word peace, that kind of came pretty quickly, and then we wanted to talk more in our name how we achieve that with people,” said Faulkingham. “We talk so often about when we’re working with someone, who’s affected by abuse of violence, we walk with them through their journey, and we help support them to do whatever is that they feel is in their best interest.”

In doing so, Partners for Peace “partners” with domestic violence victims.

“We also partner with community groups and organizations all in the services of finding peace in individual homes and relationship, and in the larger sense of the word,” said Faulkingham.

Faulkingham said the organization wanted the name to stand for something, not just express what they were against.

The new name also is more inclusive notes Faulkingham. While Womancare focused on one population, Partners for Peace is a sanctuary for men, women and children.

“I would say that our biggest focus is expanding who we work with and letting people know that our services are for absolutely everyone who has experienced abuse or violence in their life,” said Faulkingham.

Partners for Peace’s new  mission is stated on their website as follows: “Our mission is to engage individuals and the community to end domestic violence in Penobscot and Piscataquis Counties. We provide support, advocacy and safety planning to anyone affected by domestic abuse. We foster safe and healthy relationships through prevention, education and training. Together with our community we recognize the nature of abuse, respond to it and change the conditions which lead to it.”

The vision – fittingly matching the new name – is stated on their website as follows: “We believe that every person deserves to live in peace and equality, and that just and respectful relationships can change the world.”

Partners for Peace announced the name change June 30 at a press conference at the Bangor Public Library. Along with Partners for Peace employees and volunteers, Detective Steve Pelletier of the Bangor Police Department and Bangor City Councilor Ben Sprague spoke at the press conference about their relationship with the non-profit organization to aid those affected by domestic violence.

Displayed below the banner with the new Partners for Peace logo, was a pride flag. Faulkingham said the flag drew many people to the conference.

“They were looking through our materials and really appreciating the inclusive language that we used throughout our materials that really spoke to them,” said Faulkingham.

To make the organization as accessible and recognizable as possible during this change, Partners for Peace has a distribution plan of giving out “goodies” – outreach materials – expressing the name change and the 24/7 hotline number.

“Our number one service is our helpline, because it’s 24/7 and it’s free and confidential,” said Faulkingham. “That tends to be the gateway for all of our other services, which would include sheltering services, legal services, court and accompaniment for things like protections orders.”

“We believe that it’s our job to provide high-quality services to people who endure abuse, but it’s also our responsibility to be in the community doing presentations and training to people who are as young as kindergarten,” added Faulkingham. “Because we believe that we can do our part in preventing abuse from happening in the future.”

Partners for Peace’s next event is a “Cocktails with a Cause” fundraiser on Thursday, July 20, at the Tarratine in Bangor. The Partners for Peace Dover-Foxcroft location will be hosting an open house barbeque from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, August 18. Partners for Peace will also host walks in Bangor, Lincoln and Dover-Foxcroft in October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

If you, or someone you know, has been affected by domestic violence, call Partners for Peace 24-hour hotline 1-800-863-9909 or visit its Facebook page — Partners for Peace – formerly Spruce Run-Womancare Alliance — or its website www.partnersforpeaceme.org.


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