Aaron Eckhardt - Wednesday, April 27, 2016


BRAVO Announces 2016 Community Service Award Recipients
Awardees To Be Honored At Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner 2016

April 27, 2016

Media Contact: Gloria McCauley, Executive Director
614-294-7867 | gloria@bravo-ohio.org

Click here for tickets and event information

Columbus: Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization (BRAVO) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2016 BRAVO Community Service Awards. Each year BRAVO honors individuals and organizations that have gone above and beyond in their service, dedication and work within and on behalf of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex (LGBTQI) communities. Traditionally BRAVO acknowledges those whose work goes on behind the scenes, often unnoticed and under appreciated. The selection of the award recipients this year certainly holds to that tradition.

Sam Schisler, Chief Marketing Officer for Axis/Union Café is no stranger to the Columbus LGBTQI community. In addition to his longstanding commitments to the Columbus Lesbian and Gay Softball Association, and Bat-N-Rouge, Sam was a driving force behind the community response to the disappearance and tragic death of Joey LaBute. Sam took the lead with the media, Joey’s family, and in organizing the search for Joey. He was also one of the key people to organize the candlelight vigil allowing our community to mourn Joey’s death. In his leadership position with Union/Axis, Sam cooperated fully and worked closely with detectives and the Columbus Division of Police to aid in their investigation. BRAVO is honored to award Sam the very first BRAVO Spotlight Award, acknowledging his exemplary service.

Karen Ball, Esq. is an attorney in private practice in Columbus. She is a longtime activist fiercely defending and advocating on behalf of the LGBTQI communities and survivors. She remains invaluable in helping BRAVO clients seek access to justice. For several years, she has worked with BRAVO and the Ohio Domestic Violence Networks (ODVN) Legal Assistance program. Through that program BRAVO has connected LGBTQI survivors of intimate partner violence, sexual violence, and stalking to free legal representation and assistance with civil legal needs. For many reasons, many LGBTQI survivors are hesitant to engage with legal systems. In conjunction with ODVN, BRAVO and Karen identified this gap, and developed and implemented BRAVO LGBTQI Legal Office Hours during Fall of 2014, a program that allowed survivors to connect to an attorney for a free legal consult around civil legal needs related to intimate partner violence, stalking, and sexual violence (i.e., protection order/safety concerns, housing concerns such as evictions, etc.). Through the implementation of this program, we have seen an increase in LGBTQI survivors having access to legal information and options. Karen continues to go above and beyond in the support she provides to the survivors we work with, and remains a huge support and resource for BRAVO victim services staff working with survivors. She passionately cares about the wellbeing of her clients and works tirelessly to find innovative and unconventional solutions to their problems. BRAVO is proud to award Karen our Community Service Award for her efforts on behalf of our clients.

Marge Rizalvo is an officer with The Ohio State University Police Department with over 15 years of service. She has been a tireless advocate, working with crime victims and providing self-defense training to hundreds if not thousands of women, through the Rape Aggression Defense (R.A.D.) Program at The Ohio State University. Marge began co-instructing BRAVO LGBTQI community self-defense classes in 2008. She is a staunch supporter of an individual’s right to protect themselves and her work with the BRAVO self-defense and street safety programs has helped many members of the LGBTQI community feel safe and confident in moving through the world. The BRAVO program is ground breaking in approaching self-defense from an LGBTQI specific perspective. Marge’s professionalism and guidance have allowed the program to grow and develop into one of the premier programs in the country. BRAVO is delighted to award Marge our Community Service Award for her dedication and commitment to safety for all.

Nate Kralik has been a helpline volunteer with BRAVO since the fall of 2013. Nate has responded to several acute crisis incidents during helpline shifts, including being instrumental in supporting a survivor of intimate partner violence that had just left an abusive relationship and connecting them to shelter and support. In all instances, Nate responds with compassion, professionalism, and a survivor centric focus. Additionally, Nate attends numerous trainings to further his knowledge of issues impacting the LGBTQI community, showing great initiative to become the best advocate he can for the folks he works with. BRAVO is thrilled to award Nate our Volunteer of the Year Award for his outstanding service and continued dedication to survivors of violence in the LGBTQI communities.

The 2016 BRAVO Community Service Awards will be presented at the annual BRAVO signature event Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner 2016 on Saturday May 14, 2016. The awards presentation will take place at the opening cocktail reception at 5:30 PM at Copious - McGowan Loft, 520 S. High Street, in the Brewery District. For more information or to purchase tickets contact the BRAVO office 614-294-7867 or visit www.bravo-ohio.org.

BRAVO works to eliminate violence perpetrated on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identification, domestic violence and sexual assault through prevention, education, advocacy, violence documentation and survivor services, both within and on behalf of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender communities.


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