Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

New executive director revitalizes Dawn Center women's shelter in Hernando

SPRING HILL — Grace Maineri calls herself a "newbie" to the Dawn Center, but the 64-year-old is not new to its cause. She's been an advocate and worked professionally for 12 years supporting services for victims of domestic abuse.

Terms like "V of D" (victims of domestic violence) and "DV" (domestic violence) trip off her tongue with both a stern vehemence and a passion to overcome them.

Since taking over in April as executive director of the Dawn Center, Hernando County's refuge for battered women and their children, Maineri has revived some fallen-by-the-side programs and has more community outreach efforts in mind.

Prime among her efforts has been a renewed affiliation with the Humane Society of the Nature Coast.

Maineri said battered women are often reluctant to leave their situations because of their pets.

"Pets are family members, and we want people to know we take care of family members," she said.

When women, with or without families, check into the Dawn Center, their pets are assigned to the Humane Society. The Humane Society then disburses them to volunteer caregivers.

"They're safe and they're cared for and they're loved until the owner can take care of them," Maineri said. "Then the pet is returned to them. If not feasible, the pet is adopted out."

Maineri also is looking to reopen a thrift shop, a fundraising effort of a couple of years ago that didn't earn sufficient money to pay the rent and add to the Dawn Center's coffers.

"It serves so many aspects," she said, "where people can give things and get a (tax) writeoff and people can buy off the street." The shop also provided clothing to victims and their families, as well as furnishings for them to set up new households.

"I feel we can do it and do it right," Maineri said, adding, "possibly at a better location."

The former shop was in a small shopping center off Broad Street, just west of Brooksville. She hopes a new store can be launched before October, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

While the Dawn Center is mainly financed through grants from the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Coalition Against Sexual Assault and the United Way of Hernando County, Maineri stressed that local contributions and fundraising events are vital.

Maineri said the shelter relies on donations so that those leaving the center can take with them beds, cribs and other setup needs.

Especially needed are disposable diapers, baby lotions and shampoos, paper towels, toilet tissue and clothing for infants and children. Items can be donated at an outreach center in the PineBrook Medical Center, 14540 Cortez Blvd., Suite 202, west of Brooksville.

The Dawn Center's shelter, at an undisclosed location to protect its clients, can accommodate 40 people. The average population is 12 women and six children, but can change hourly, Maineri said.

The facility is a "home times more," she said, describing a playroom, outdoor playground, and computers for women to search for jobs and alternative living facilities.

The center also accepts battered men and batterers themselves.

A veteran of directing the domestic violence center training at Sunrise, in Dade City, and the Spring in Tampa, Maineri holds a degree from the Barry University School of Law in Orlando.

Former Dawn Center director Debbie Andrews left after five years in the position "to pursue other interests," said board of directors president Toby Gray. After posting the position on an executive search website, Gray said, the board interviewed numerous candidates.

In selecting Maineri, he said: "She has a history of working with victims. We feel she's the right candidate for our organization."

fast facts

About the center

The Dawn Center employs 12 professionals, their salaries paid by grants, and as many as 60 volunteers. The center is reachable 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling (352) 684-7191. Monetary donations may be mailed to: Dawn Center, P.O. Box 6179, Spring Hill, FL 34611.

New executive director revitalizes Dawn Center women's shelter in Hernando 08/27/10 [Last modified: Friday, August 27, 2010 7:03pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Heights Public Market to host two Tampa Bay food trucks

    Business

    TAMPA — The Heights Public Market announced the first two food trucks for its "rotating stall," which will feature new restaurants every four months. Surf and Turf and Empamamas will be rolled out first.

    Heights Public Market is opening this summer inside the Tampa Armature Works building.
[SKIP O'ROURKE   |   Times file photo]

  2. Mariners lose lefty Drew Smyly to Tommy John surgery

    Ml

    SEATTLE — Drew Smyly was the centerpiece to one of Seattle's many offseason moves by general manager Jerry Dipoto. He was a priority acquisition as a proven lefty for the rotation the Mariners believed would thrive pitching at Safeco Field.

    Drew Smyly will undergo Tommy John surgery after being diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament. Seattle announced the diagnosis on Wednesday, ending Smyly's hopes of returning during the 2017 season. [AP photo]
  3. Author Randy Wayne White could open St. Pete's biggest restaurant on the pier

    Food & Dining

    ST. PETERSBURG — The story begins with Yucatan shrimp.

    St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin, pilot Mark Futch, Boca Grande, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, and author and businessman Randy Wayne White,  Sanibel, exit a Maule Super Rocket seaplane after taking a fight around Tampa Bay off the St. Petersburg waterfront, 6/28/17.  White and his business partners are in negotiations with the City of St. Petersburg to build a fourth Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille on the approach to the St. Petersburg Pier with a second event space on the pier according to White. The group met near Spa Beach after a ground breaking ceremony for the new pier. "We want to have our business open by the time the pier opens," said White. Other Dr. Ford restaurants are located on Sanibel, Captiva and Ft. Myers Beach. SCOTT KEELER   |   Times
  4. Busted: How a Times photographer captured Donald Trump's fake news

    Blogs

    Tampa Bay Times photojournalist Scott Keeler was on assignment last summer for a story about Donald Trump’s presence in Palm Beach, a tale of glamour and conflict. Along the way he inadvertently captured evidence of a …

    Near the main entrance at Mar-a-Lago, the fake Time magazine cover is on display in July 2016.
  5. Jones: Steve Yzerman's plan for getting the Lightning back into the playoffs

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — Seems like forever since the Lightning played a hockey game.

    If the Lightning season started right now, would Steve Yzerman be happy with what he has? "We're still a couple of players short,'' Yzerman said.. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]