In 1977, five local women pooled their resources to start an emergency safe house in Morro Bay for battered women and children to escape domestic violence.
Today, says Women’s Shelter Program of San Luis Obispo County volunteer and outreach coordinator Beth Raub, those women’s legacy is only able to continue through the support of one annual fundraiser: Phyllis’ Musical Revue.
Local hotelier Phyllis Madonna, in the 23 years she has sponsored the upbeat and lavishly produced variety and fashion show at the Madonna Inn, has raised more than $1.8 million for the shelter to pay for services that dwindling grants can’t support.
This year’s show will take place March 4 and 5, with the goal of matching last year’s total raised: $150,000.
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Eight years ago, funds raised at Phyllis’ Musical Revue allowed the women’s shelter to put a down-payment on a six-bedroom home, in a confidential location, that can house up to 16 women and children for up to eight weeks each.
The home provides an escape from the lethality of violence in their homes and gives them access to other critical services.
Because state and federal funding for the safe house has since disappeared, Phyllis’ Musical Revue is the primary source for the approximately $150,000 per year it takes to keep the safe house open and its tenants safe.
“If we can’t provide them safety, how can they even get to counseling?” Raub said when describing the vital role the home plays in serving victims of domestic violence.
Raub said the shelter serves 800 to 900 people per year with a variety of services, of which the safe house is only one. Nearly 70 percent of clients are children.
Children are included in the countless local officials, notables and volunteers who have pitched in over the years to strut the catwalk or perform a variety of tunes at Madonna’s show, which this year will take place at the Madonna Expo Center in San Luis Obispo.
Among the more than 100 performers and models participating this year will be Sheriff Ian Parkinson; Mayor Jan Marx; KSBY-TV anchor Jeanette Trompeter; and several county supervisors and city council members.
“It’s an uplifting, happy show you’ll come out wanting to dance,” said Cheri Humphrey, show organizer and retail manager for the Madonna Inn.
Although this is the first year in the show’s history that 82-year-old Madonna will not perform, she will be in the audience watching her granddaughter, Alexis Twisselman, take over the role of opening singer.
In line with the change, this year’s show theme is: “And the Show Goes On”.
Women’s shelter fundraiser
Phyllis’ Musical Revue, the 24th annual show benefiting the Women’s Shelter Program of San Luis Obispo, is set for Friday, March 4 and Saturday March 5 at the Alex Madonna Expo Center in San Luis Obispo.
Lunch show: 11 a.m. $70 ramp, $60 general.
Dinner show: 5:30 p.m. $120 ramp, $110 general. Featuring pre-show wine tastings from eight local wineries and a filet dinner, followed at 10 p.m. by music and dancing.
Tickets may be purchased by calling 784-2441.
— Julia Hickey
AG chamber head gets accreditation
Judith Bean was named an accredited chamber executive by the Western Association of Chamber Executives at its annual conference this month.
Bean has served as the president and CEO of the Arroyo Grande Valley Chamber of Commerce since February 2006.
The “accredited chamber executive” designation was created in 1993 to encourage chamber executives to continually upgrade and expand their skills, and to encourage chamber boards to provide funding for formal training for their executives.
Bean has completed the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organization Management program and the Western Association of Chamber of Commerce Academy program, according to a news release from the chamber.
— Cynthia Lambert