The students behind “Powerful Voices: Stories of Survivors”

Published: Dec. 7, 2022 at 11:35 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Last week, New Directions Center in Staunton hosted the “Powerful Voices: Stories of Survivors” silent auction to raise awareness about surviving domestic abuse and to raise money.

But behind the moving display was a group of James Madison University students in an Organizational Communication class.

Students split into six groups including story collecting, promotions, art liaison, art sales, in-kind giving and logistics. They spend 15 weekspreparing for this event.

The silent auction featured photos from JMU art students. They raised around $800 for New Directions Center, with the highest-bidded piece selling for $150.

In addition to practical learning academic information, the students gained knowledge about a topic that can be taboo.

”We know that they happen but sometimes we feel distant from it,” Nick Caporaletti said. “Actually getting to dive into a project with an organization that works directly with these people, we got to understand better what goes on and how we can prevent it.”

Eliza Snipes and Harry Bradford were two of the students tasked with interviewing the survivors. They both agree that that experience was incredibly impactful.

“It was eye-opening for us as students to realize that a lot of this stuff happens on a daily basis at JMU and all around the world,” Bradford said.

”It really changed my viewpoint on these survivors because I think there is this big stigma of ‘Oh you’re a domestic abuse surivor and that’s what defines you but it’s truly not,” Snipes added. “It was empowering listening to how these people have transformed their lives.”

Students and officials at New Directions were both proud of how the event turned out.

“We were able to work together and really put together an above-average product. It was a great event,” Aidan Blair said.

To view the photos and read the survivors’ stories, click here.