FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 22, 2014
Safe Harbor honors Susheela Varky, a staff attorney for the Virginia Poverty Law Center, as the 2014 recipient of the Beacon of Hope Award.
The Beacon of Hope is awarded annually to an individual or group who has been instrumental in empowering survivors of sexual and domestic violence, and/or promoting healthy relationships for all. Safe Harbor created this award in 2007 to recognize the outstanding people and organizations working to break the cycle of relationship violence within the Richmond community.
Ms. Varky works on the front lines of sexual and domestic violence by providing legal services to individuals affected by these complicated issues. “I feel privileged to be able to work with Safe Harbor’s many talented and dedicated staff people to help domestic and sexual violence victims move on to happier, healthier lives for themselves and their families,” Ms. Varky said.
Ms. Varky has been involved in the public interest arena for more than 20 years. She gained experience with housing and women’s issues through her work in D.C. with the McAuley Institute, The National Housing Trust and Women Empowered Against Violence. In 1998, she joined the national drafting committee of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and helped write VAWA’s original housing provisions.
After relocating to Richmond, through collaboration with other state agencies while at the Office of the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court of Virginia, Ms. Varky worked to improve domestic violence protective order policies in six Virginia localities. For the past seven years, she has continued to work in domestic and sexual violence law as a staff attorney with the Virginia Poverty Law Center, the statewide support organization for local legal aid offices in Virginia.
Ms. Varky also serves as a valuable resource for local agencies working to address the same issues. Kristi VanAudenhove, executive director of the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance, credited Ms. Varky for co-creating her organization’s Legal Advocacy Continuing Adocacy training program.
“[Ms. Varky] has partnered with us on numerous public policy initiatives,” VanAudenhove said. “She was one of the first Lifetime Members and she designed and continues to handcraft the beautiful Lifetime Member pins.”
Kathleen Demro, the president and CEO of the Partnership for Nonprofit Excellence, commended Ms. Varky for standing up on behalf of the most vulnerable and disenfranchised survivors.
“I think of Susheela as a passionate advocate who gives voice to people and issues that are often left silent,” Demro said. “And she does her work not just on the front lines, but also extends her influence into the public policy arena, which multiplies her impact in Virginia.”
Safe Harbor honors Ms. Varky’s accomplishments and expresses gratitude for her dedication to our shared mission: To empower survivors and end domestic and sexual violence in our community. She will be formally recognized at a ceremony to be held Saturday, Nov. 8 at the Willow Oaks Country Club.