There's no place like a safe home

Sixth annual Colorado Ski for Women theme hits close to heart

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— Becoming a healthy adult can be difficult for children exposed to domestic violence.

The "Winter Land of Oz" theme for the sixth annual Colorado Ski for Women event could not be more appropriate considering the new project initiated by Advocates Against Battering and Abuse, the local nonprofit that is the beneficiary of the Ski for Women fundraiser.

"We were recently funded for the first year of a two-year project to recognize, respond to and understand the impact of domestic violence on children," said Diane Moore, executive director of Advocates. "In the first year, we will research and develop a curriculum for early childhood education staff. Part of the project will be community outreach and education as well as hosting a conference in the second year."

Colorado Ski for Women entails a noncompetitive, 5-kilometer ski or snowshoe event followed by a chili lunch. The Yampa Valley Boys will provide the music, and KFMU and Jack FM will do a live remote broadcast during the event. Starbucks Coffee Company will provide coffee and hot chocolate, and there will be silent auction and door prizes given away after the "race."

Proceeds from the event will assist Advocates in helping to make home a safe place to be.

"We served more than 330 individual victims last year," Moore said. "And we know that relates to more than 450 children in those homes."

Domestic violence can affect infants and teenagers alike, Moore said.

"It impacts them in various ways," she said. "It can create health problems, self-esteem issues and a whole arena of behavioral problems with peer relationships and ability to focus at school. For other children, there are concerns around suicide, drug abuse and running away from home."

Early intervention is essential for children to become healthy adults and to intervene in the generational cycle of violence.

"Helping kids understand - whether it's through counseling or helping the family - can make the difference," Moore said. "What we know is that children must have at least one appropriate adult in their lives, and resiliency is really critical to some of that normal development."

Colorado Ski for Women is an opportunity for individuals and families to share time together in a positive and interactive way.

Dressed up as characters from "The Wizard of Oz," children will be reminded of the magical film that touches on important issues surrounding the home, their relationships with adults and the fact that powerful people may turn out to be masters of deception when unmasked.

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