DANBURY, Conn. — From 9 to 5, Lynne Phillips and Barbara Cottingham are part of the books production team at Newtown-based Taunton Press, with 30-plus years of experience between them.
But for the past several years, many of their non-work hours have been devoted to the Women’s Center of Greater Danbury, which provides services to victims of domestic and sexual violence.
Last month, these two were honored with the Service Above Self award given by the center at its annual Hearts of Hope breakfast.
Phillips and Cottingham have both served on the center’s Board of Directors; Phillips for four years and Cottingham for six. That’s a lot of service in itself.
But between them, they have also put their talents to work to give the center a new, more approachable public face by creating a new logo, invitations for special events, posters, website features, brochures, annual reports, and much more.
Now the center is saying thank you, in a rather public way.
“I’ve always liked working behind the scenes; I’m not very comfortable in the spotlight,” Phillips said. “But I feel passionate about advocating for human rights; in particular the rights of those who have been marginalized and alienated by mainstream society. And I believe that everyone deserves to be safe and have a voice.”
“So many people volunteer their time and expertise to the center,” Cottingham added. “So it feels a little uncomfortable to be highlighted.”
But Women’s Center President and CEO Pat Zachman is happy to honor the two co-workers.
“We are thrilled to honor Lynne and Barb for all that they have done, and continue to do, on behalf of the Women’s Center,” Zachman said. “They are very special women who have given so much of their time, talent and commitment to us and we are so very grateful!”
The Women’s Center of Greater Danbury provides services in Bethel, Bridgewater, Brookfield, Danbury, Kent, New Fairfield, New Milford, Newtown, Redding, Ridgefield, Roxbury, Sherman, and Washington.
Last year alone, 94 women and 34 children in the region faced such violence in their homes that they were forced to flee and turned to the Women's Center for help. Nearly 600 others who were the victims of a sexual attack also sought help.
The Women's Center helps people when they need help the most. In 2016, it provided direct services to 25,000 individuals, whether in the form of direct intervention in cases of domestic abuse or sexual assault, or through education programs in schools, in courts, and for medical professionals and first responders.
The Women's Center also maintains a safe and secure emergency shelter for women and children who have suffered domestic abuse, and a separate shelter for men who are victims.
And they do it all free of charge, thanks to a team of passionate volunteers, fund-raisers, supporters, and staff.
For more information about the center, go to wcogd.org .