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Sunday, February 25, 2024
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Family Resource Center to Honor Local Peacemakers

The Family Resource Center will honor two deep-rooted community members Thursday at its annual Peacemaker Gala, celebrating their longterm commitment and efforts to make the Virgin Islands a safer place.

Based on St. Thomas, the FRC is a nonprofit agency that has worked more than 35 years to end family violence in the Virgin Islands by offering counseling programs and shelter for victims of domestic abuse.

According to the FRC, the V.I. Police Department receives more than 2,000 calls related to domestic and child abuse issues each year. Without the center’s help, many of these victims would not receive the support they need to deal with and recover from acts of violence.

As the main fundraiser for the FRC for more than a decade, the gala has sought to honor the community’s most dedicated change makers, those who have gone above and beyond their regular work to bring peace to the wider community.

This year’s honorees are Paula Edwards and Shaun Pennington, who both have long histories of serving their communities by volunteering for and supporting a number of community organizations and non-profits, including the Family Resource Center.

Edwards was born on St. Thomas and graduated from Charlotte Amalie High School in 1981. She is treasurer of the Girl Scouts of America, a member of the League of Women Voters, a member of the National Notary Association, and is serving her second term as president of the Inner Wheel Club of St. Thomas, as well as her first term as the Inner Wheel National district delegate.

In addition to her many appointments, Edwards has been a victim advocate at the Family Resource Center for the past 16 years. She has given comfort and support to numerous men, women and children of all ages from the community.

Pennington first visited St. Thomas in 1967 as a senior in high school, and has made the island home since 1981. Over the years she has taken on countless community projects in addition to founding the first online newspaper in the territory, the Virgin Islands Source, for which she was awarded the Rotary Person of the Year award in 2001.

Pennington’s other community endeavors have included being a board member of SHINE, the organization that sought to provide support for those affected by HIV/AIDS, and co-organizing the Peace Summit, which brought a team of four well-known peacemakers and activists to the territory to work with the local community and stakeholders towards solutions for a safer Virgin Islands. She is also the co-founder of Rwanda Project USVI and more recently the annual Sunrise Rotary Kids Triathlon.

FRC invited the public to join its staff in honoring Edwards and Pennington from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday at the Prior-Jollek Hall on the Antilles School campus. The brief awards ceremony will be preceded by a reception that features tapas, wine pairings and a small silent auction.

Tickets to the gala are $150 per person with 100 percent of the proceeds being given to the FRC for its operating costs. Seats can be reserved by sending an email to peacemakergala@gmail.com. 

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