Make us your home page

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

  1. Cookbook review: ‘Cherry Bombe: The Cookbook' is like a friend who always has a good recipe up her sleeve


    Cherry Bombe is a biannual indie magazine, weekly radio show/podcast and annual conference that celebrates women and food. And this month's release is a cookbook, a compilation of tried-and-true recipes from women who are famous both in the food world and other industries. Think model and cookbook author …

    By Kerry Diamond 
and Claudia Wu Clarkson Potter, 256 pages, $35
  2. Beautiful Hong Kong is pulsating with life and culture



    “Ah money, money, money!" the cabdriver exclaimed with no small sense of sarcasm in his Cantonese-accented English as he waved in the direction of the spectacular skyline of Hong Kong, a city that revels in its reputation as an international financial capital.

    The Hong Kong skyline, seen here from Victoria Peak, the highest point in the city at 1,800 feet, is a sight to behold.
  3. How to pick the perfect fall six-pack of beer

    Bars & Spirits

    With each fall comes another opportunity to assemble the perfect seasonal six-pack. Of course, this is often a six-pack in name only, as many of the latest seasonal brews come in large- format bottles (with a price tag to match). That just means that you'll need to assemble some friends and family to share with, and who …

     Abita Pecan Harvest Ale: As the name suggests, this toasty amber ale is brewed with roasted Louisiana pecans. The base beer is fairly neutral, allowing the sweet and nutty pecan character to stand front and center. It drinks not unlike a liquid pecan pie — though it’s a bit less sweet, thankfully.
  4. Florida education news: Start times, scholarships, school choice and more


    START TIMES: Hillsborough County schools get new bell schedules for 2018-19, with high schools starting an hour later than in the past. Officials said the move is …

  5. Pasco students get opportunity to tackle big-picture issues


    LAND O'LAKES — At first, Krysten Hart wasn't sure what she was getting herself into.

    Wesley Chapel High senior Emily Prengaman discusses ways to improve graduation rates with Sunlake High principal Michael Cloyd and other teens from around the school district during Pasco County's first student congress. [Photo by Jeffrey S. Solochek]