CAAW 40th anniversary celebrated Thursday

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - The Committee to Aid Abused Women (CAAW), founded in 1977 by a group of concerned local citizens, is celebrating its 40th year of working to rebuild safe and hopeful lives for survivors of domestic violence (DV) in northern Nevada.

CAAW will pay tribute to its founders and this year’s Hannah Humanitarian award winner, Sylvia Gonzalez, at a celebratory event Thursday, September 28, from 6 to 9 p.m., at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa, 3800 S. Virginia Street.

Sylvia is a longtime DV advocate. She has worked for CAAW for 16 years. Prior to that, she worked for a DV organization in Fresno. And, she survived DV as both a child and young adult herself. One has to believe that is where a large part of her empathy and compassion for CAAW clients comes from – the fact that she has “walked a mile” in their shoes and knows what they are going through.

Sylvia is very even keeled, which is very nice since she is often problem-solving with those in crisis. When asked why she continues to work in this very stressful line of work, she says, “I love my job. You know how some people wake up in the morning and dread going to work? That’s not me. I have a passion for helping others and letting them know that they are not alone, that there is no judgement when they come for help.”

“Sylvia is a true inspiration. Her knowledge, empathy and patience make her a powerful advocate for our clients and a tremendous mentor for our staff,” said Denise Yoxsimer, CAAW executive director.

At the event, New York Times bestselling author Leslie Morgan Steiner will deliver the keynote address detailing her harrowing experience surviving DV. To make reservations for the 40th Anniversary Celebration event or to make a donation to CAAW, visit or call 775-329-4150.

Since 1977, CAAW has fought to end domestic violence in Washoe County. CAAW provides free, confidential, bilingual services to families as they seek to end the abuse in their lives. CAAW offers men, women and children emergency shelter, transitional housing, protection orders, and support programs. It also operates a 24-hour crisis hotline.