Monthly Archives: November 2011

We Need Your Help ~~ We Don’t Want Any Kids Disappointed on Christmas!!

Next Door’s Holiday Boutique is in desperate need of gifts of all kinds for kids and moms this year.  By this point in the past, our store room is just about filled with gifts ~~ and this year it isn’t even a third filled yet.


Here’s how you can help:

  • Click here to find out what gifts we need this year
  • Spread the word by re-posting this to your Facebook, intra-office and neighborhood email lists and ask your family, friends and co-workers to join you


If you need more information, send an email to and Amanda will get back to you as soon as possible.


Thanks for helping us brighten the holidays for battered women and their children.


Next Door Staff and Board

Facing the Holidays as a Survivor

This is one of an occasional post from Margaret Epperheimer, a seven-year member of Next Door’s Board of Directors. 

The woman had a big smile on her face, but the red-purple scar she couldn’t hide on her upper chest told a different story. I think of this brave woman and her four toddler-to-teen smiling children this time of year as I prepare for the holidays. It’s a time of celebration, good cheer and giving thanks for each other and for all that we have. And every year, without fail, it’s a time when I think of this woman.

It was seven years ago when I first volunteered to help at Next Door’s annual Holiday Boutique. This is an uplifting event that brightens the holidays for victims of domestic violence, some of whom have fled a violent home with just the clothes on their backs. Next Door’s community office is transformed into a boutique where moms and their kids “shop” for each other at no cost. A volunteer accompanies each mom and child into one of two gift rooms to choose gifts for each other. Separate gift-wrap stations ensure the gifts are a surprise.

I volunteered for the gift-wrap station. It was over donated gift wrap and bows that I met the smiling woman’s teenage son. He, too, was a volunteer gift wrapper. I didn’t know his story and assumed he was the son of another volunteer. I marveled at his enthusiasm and his maturity and gentleness in dealing with the smaller children – helping them choose gift wrap and exclaiming over their “perfect” choice of gifts for their mothers.

As families gathered to leave, I met her. Surrounded by her children and a mountain of wrapped gifts, she was beaming. The red-purple scar hadn’t had time to fade, but this woman and her children were safe. They were happy and hopeful. The teenage son, clearly the “man” of the family, helped his brave and resilient mother gather the gifts and his siblings. I don’t how this beautiful family has fared since, but I’d like to think the wounds have healed, the children are thriving, the woman is still beaming, and the teenage son is a grown man, possibly with a family of his own and the wherewithal to stop generational domestic violence dead in its tracks. I do know, however, that they have forever changed my own attitude and approach to the holidays. Despite setbacks and losses, there is profound gratitude for the safety and peace we enjoy in our family and in our home.

I am thankful for Next Door and the many volunteers and donors that have, for almost 20 years, made the annual event possible. Last year, 331 women and 848 children “shopped” for gifts for each other. This year’s Holiday Boutique is Dec. 13-15. Donations of new and unwrapped items, as well as cash and corporate sponsorships, are still being accepted. There are multiple ways to get involved. If you or your company is interested in making a difference for survivors of domestic violence, I can guarantee a pay-back for years to come. Call Next Door today: (408) 501-7550.

Next Door’s Annual Holiday Boutique

Next Door’s annual Holiday Boutique is right around the corner ~~ December 13, 14 & 15. Through the generosity of hundreds and hundreds of individual and corporate donors we are able to fill conference rooms donated by Swenson Builders with new gifts. Then, battered women and their children are invited to “shop” (please be assured, no money changes hands) for one another ~~ mom off with her own helpers in the kids’ room and kids with their own helpers in the moms’ room picking out gifts for mom. Each is then able to wrap their treasures and when the family leaves they take with them surprises that are sure to brighten up their holiday celebrations.

We offer three ways for you to become involved ~~ enriching your holiday season by helping others in need:

To find out how to donate gifts, please click here.

To find out how to volunteer, please click here.

To find out how you and/or your business can sponsor the Holiday Boutique, please click here.

Next Door receives $10,000 from the Leo M. Shortino Family Foundation

Next Door has again been honored by the Leo M. Shortino Family Foundation, which has granted Next Door $10,000 to support its Teen Services. The Shortino Foundation acts as a catalyst to enhance the quality of life in Santa Clara County, California through charitable giving to support at-risk youth and their families through education, healthy lifestyles and the arts. Their grant of $10,000 will fund Next Door’s efforts to stop teen dating violence before it starts through our innovative Youth Leadership Forum, which will implement social media and sports outreach, prevention and education campaigns to local middle and high school students. The grant will also fund Next Door work at the Foothill High School, where Next Door’s Teen Coordinator facilitates support groups for youth impacted by domestic violence.

Full Shelters and “Shredding the Safety Net”

This is one of an occasional post from Margaret Epperheimer, a seven-year member of Next Door’s Board of Directors.

Kudos to the San Jose Mercury News for putting a human face to the plight of women and children fleeing abuse and confronting the “no vacancy” sign at local shelters.  The recent front-page story, featuring the plight of Melissa Strawn and her two young sons, details the statewide dilemma of increasing need and more severe abuse, at the same time budgets are being cut and shelters are closing. Next Door’s Kathleen Krenek calls this “the reality of shredding the safety net.” Indeed!

Tragically, it’s not just domestic violence programs and services that are suffering. Recent years have seen cuts upon cuts of government funding for social and human services. Unfortunately, the abused, the homeless, the disabled and the disadvantaged tend not to have a voice. They are too fearful, injured, sick or simply incapable of doing anything other than struggle day-to-day to survive. Because they are invisible to most of us, we are lulled into believing they do not exist — or at least don’t exist in the staggering and increasing numbers the local health and human services agencies are seeing.

Next Door is not the only agency in the Bay Area providing domestic violence services and emergency shelter, but, like the others, it is operating at capacity.  Its emergency shelter in San Jose, which happens to be the first bilingual battered woman’s shelter in the U.S., provides more than 5,500 bed-nights annually to victims fleeing domestic violence.  It provides supportive services at HomeSafe facilities in San Jose and Santa Clara, which are 48 affordable transitional housing units for women and children – also at capacity.  Staff and volunteers operating 24/7 crisis hotline (408-279-2962) responded to more than 15,000 calls last year.  Amazing!

Domestic violence shelters are often the only thing standing between victims and grave physical harm.  We may look the other way because we have our own safe, peaceful, non-violent homes to shelter us and our loved ones.  But we’re kidding ourselves if we think we’re not affected.

With domestic violence on the rise in the declining economy, serious public safety issues increase. Studies show gangs, child abuse, juvenile detention and violent crime are all tied to exposure to domestic violence.  The cost to a community is staggering in terms of health care, property loss, ambulance services, police response, criminal justice processes and lost productivity.

Those of us who are safe, warm and peaceful in our homes need to help shoulder the responsibility of making certain there’s shelter for those whose escape from a batterer can mean the difference between life and death.  Our shelters are over-flowing, but if we all ante up, agencies can provide more emergency hotel-night stays to victims whose only hope of survival is to flee.  It won’t take much if we all share the burden.  Can you afford $25 right now to provide someone with one night’s peace? Do it!

Translate »