Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tiff doesn't diminish value of domestic violence shelter

My late grandmother often told a story about how a battered wife who lived next door took the drastic step of killing her husband with a butcher knife in their kitchen.

"We heard her call her mother on the phone and tell her to call the police to have them remove the body."

That was 1924.

In the generations that have followed, domestic abuse has remained a pervasive problem both in our country and in our community. The same type of violent tragedies my grandmother witnessed still occur today with alarming frequency.

Each of us should want to be a part of providing solutions. It's why I've always supported the Spring of Tampa Bay, Hillsborough County's 33-year-old domestic violence shelter.

A recent Times story chronicled past internal struggles at the Spring between former workers and volunteers and its relatively new executive director, Joanne Lighter. Some may have read the story and wondered if the Spring deserves continued support.

I read it and wondered: How can I help more?

I don't disavow the concerns raised by those quoted in the article. I'm certain they believe they did the right thing by airing their disagreements.

Yet I also know members of the volunteer board whose support of Lighter is unwavering. In assuming control in 2008, Lighter was told by the board to streamline expenses, a task made all the more daunting by the faltering economy and a decline in donations.

While bringing greater efficiency to the Spring, feelings were fractured. We've seen it happen before in both the public and private sector when there is a leadership change.

Board members insist the strife has ended and the new Spring is on the way to being better. They say private donations are up from this time last year.

But let's not take sides.

The question of who's right and who's wrong can never take away from the higher purpose of the shelter. The goal of saving lives, nurturing innocent children and bringing peace to deserving families can't take a back seat to the controversy that arose over Lighter's initial changes.

If a series of disputes ever adversely affects the greater mission of this noble organization, we, as a community, will share in the blame.

Each of us must ask, "How do we strengthen the efforts of the Spring?"

No question matters more because, in our community, domestic violence and murder-suicide have become all too common.

As for Lighter, I'm convinced the board recognizes that the mission is larger than any single person. I trust it will do what's in the shelter's best interest. It's why they volunteer to serve.

So I won't call the Spring and ask for Lighter's head. I will call Lighter and ask how can I help her get ahead.

In the final analysis, there are only three options when it comes to involvement with the Spring's critical mission: lead, follow or get of the way.

I chose to follow, with a greater sense of purpose.

That's all I'm saying.

Tiff doesn't diminish value of domestic violence shelter 06/08/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 8, 2010 11:12pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Why are so few Tampa Bay houses for sale? They're being rented

    Real Estate

    Oreste Mesa Jr. owns a modest 40-year-old house in West Tampa just off MacDill Avenue. It's an area where many homeowners are hearing the siren song of builders and cashing out while the market is strong.

    Attorney David Eaton poses in front of his rental home at 899 72nd Ave. North. in St. Petersburg. He's among a growing number of property owners who see more value in renting out unused homes than selling them. 
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  2. In a word, Hernando school leaders say, first day was 'smooth'

    K12

    Over and over on Monday, school district leaders used the same word to describe the unfolding of the first day of school in Hernando County.

    "Smooth."

    Third-graders Teagan Ferguson, left, and Brianna DeLaine deliver attendance figures to the office at J.D. Floyd Elementary School on Monday. Superintendent Lori Romano and other district administrators toured a handful of schools and classrooms throughout the day,
  3. Looking Back: Diana, America's Princess

    Celebrities

    The Washington Post, in her obituary, called her "the most photographed woman in the world." She was loved in England for saying, after her divorce from Prince Charles, "I'd like to be a queen of people's hearts." Americans loved her for her work with charitable causes supporting victims of AIDS and landmines. Aug. 31 …

    Prince Charles and Princess Diana on the balcony of Buckingham Palace on their wedding day.

(AP Photo)
  4. Rays morning after: 5 mistakes that led to loss to Blue Jays

    Blogs

    We've already documented elsewhere what the Rays didn't do, how they failed to take advantage of a prime opportunity to win Wednesday's game, getting just one run after loading the bases in the seventh with one out and three of …

    Jake Faria make too many mistakes, the failure to execute costing him repeatedly.
  5. Unborn baby dies, two critically injured in Largo crash

    Accidents

    LARGO — Two people were critically injured and an unborn baby was killed in a crash that shut down an intersection on Ulmerton Road late Wednesday night, the Florida Highway Patrol said.