More than 30 students from DECA High School spread out across downtown Dayton this week to Paint the Town Purple, a YWCA Dayton campaign to recognize Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Together, they installed more than 400 ribbons. In addition, several staff and volunteers ensured Preble County streets saw their own share of purple, tying on more than 150 bows from Eaton to New Lebanon.
“I think it’s really important that our students are aware of domestic violence, and I also know that some of our students have experienced it. It’s important that they know there is a place they can go for safety,” said Kellee Callahan, ninth grade advisor and science teacher. “For them to play a part in sharing that information with other people out in the community, and help bring awareness to it, matters.”
1 in 4 women in the U.S. will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. YWCA Dayton provides the only domestic violence shelter in both Montgomery and Preble counties, and is part of YWCA USA – the largest network of domestic violence shelters and service providers in the nation.
Although past purple ribbon installations had their own challenges – windy days, rainy afternoons, runaway ribbons – this year posed a unique challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I honestly wasn’t sure it would happen this year, due to COVID; or, I thought it would take a significant amount of time,” said Kelsi Martinez, volunteer coordinator. “So to be able to, even during this time, have a significant amount of students safely come together and help us paint the town purple – I’m proud of that.”
Students worked in teams of two to three to cover several downtown blocks, from Monument Avenue to Fifth Street and from Sinclair College to Dayton Metro Library. An added bonus in 2020? The use of Spin scooters to quickly move between locations. The ribbons draw attention to cards featuring YW’s 24/7 Crisis Hotline (937-222-SAFE), which Martinez hopes is seen by those who need it most.
“Every year, I hope the same thing: that these ribbons spark interest, and if someone does need to use our services, I hope that they feel that they can remove a card or take a picture of it and reach out to us. I want them to know what domestic violence is, and who they can call. I just want people to be able to get help,” she said.
If you, or someone you know, is experiencing domestic violence, YWCA Dayton can help. 24/7 Crisis Hotline: 937-222-SAFE.