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New name, new opportunities for region’s domestic violence resource center

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DOVER-FOXCROFT — Earlier in the summer the former Spruce Run-Womancare Alliance announced a name change to Partners for Peace. The organization, which provides support services to anyone affected by domestic abuse and violence in Piscataquis and Penobscot counties, celebrated its new identity with an open house and free barbecue at the 8 Mechanic Street resource center on Aug. 18.

“I think in this community it’s taking time,” Partners for Peace Prevention Education Angie Alfonso said about the getting word out on the new name locally, in-between talking with volunteers and visitors coming through the doors during the midday open house. She said for multiple decades the agency was known as Womancare before the Piscataquis County-based organization joined with Spruce Run of Penobscot County in 2013, and the alliance name was intended to only be a placeholder before a permanent identity could be established.

“Partners for Peace more accurately reflects the work we do, we can’t do this work alone,” Alfonso said. “We work with anyone needing our services, has questions, or wants to volunteer — we are always looking for volunteers.”

“This name really resonates that we can’t do this alone,” she said. “We can help people thrive and that’s really exciting to me.”

“Today is really a day to celebrate our union with Spruce Run,” Alfonso said. “Our mission is to continue to provide high quality services in our region as well as new services.” She said examples of new Partners for Peace services are an arts-based support group and various education programs.

“We have new staff people in the community doing outreach to make services more accessible,” Alfonso said. “Our legal services expanded so we have a presence in all courts in our two county region. We have more outreach and resources in schools and in libraries which was new and different.”

“Our hope for today is people visit our building that have never been here before,” she said. Passing and then steady showers moved the serving of burgers and hot dogs and a half chocolate and half vanilla cake inside, but Alfonso said this got attendees under the roof to learn more about Partners for Peace which had items such as posters, brochures, bags, magnets, wooden nickels, and pens to giveaway with each featuring the agency’s new name and logo.

“Part of our goal today is this is still where we are but we have a new name and that’s creating opportunities for us and we can celebrate that,” Alfonso said.

Partners for Peace officials are planning events to mark Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October. Alfonso said in 2017 the organization, after doing so for about 20 years, will not be hosting a five kilometer road race in Guilford but instead is planning an awareness walk in Dover-Foxcroft. Walks will also be held in Penobscot County as has been done since Spruce Run was separate Womancare.

She said a mile-plus walk is being scheduled for the late afternoon of Wednesday, Oct. 4, starting and ending at the gazebo near Kiwanis Park behind the Piscatquis Regional YMCA on Park Street. “This event will be more inclusive so anyone and everyone can participate,” Alfonso said.

For more information on Partners for Peace visit www.partnersforpeaceme.org. To speak with an advocate, please call the 24-hour helpline at 1-800-863-9909. Services are free and confidential.

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