Harley Owners Group pushes S.A.F.E. House message

In addition to their leather vests, jackets and pants, the Black Mountain chapter of the Harley Owners Group took off from Henderson Harley- Davidson on April 2 wearing a purple ribbon to recognize S.A.F.E. House, an organization that promotes domestic violence awareness.

"People don’t want to talk about the issue," said Samantha Willey, the community outreach educator with S.A.F.E. House. "They just want to push it under the rug. We want to put it more in people’s faces."

S.A.F.E. House is a Henderson-based organization that supports domestic violence needs around the entire valley.

Willey said the organization provides people with safety and shelter while promoting awareness and educating the public about the issue.

"We are a 20-person staff," Willey said. "Because of the hard times, we are seeing an increase of severity in domestic violence."

Willey said women are staying longer at shelters, leaving S.A.F.E. House on a tight budget.

"We take care of all their needs, including food and shelter," Willey said. "We try to put them up in apartments and hotels , o ffer them paper and canned goods."

The organizations came together to hold a community event to raise support for S.A.F.E. House.

"We usually get involved with charities trying to raise awareness and give back to the community," said Jennifer Seaquist, a member of the Black Mountain chapter who helped organize the event. "We saw S.A.F.E. House was in need due to budget cuts."

The Black Mountain chapter does a ride on the first Saturday of every month and decided to dedicate its April ride to S.A.F.E. House.

The event wasn’t necessarily about raising monetary donations but to connect the community and other motorcycle enthusiasts to the organization.

"If we could show the community we found a cause and it was something worthy to look into, then we can create more awareness," said Robert Scott, another member of the chapter. "And while on (S.A.F.E. House’s) website, if they want to donate, they can. (The April 2 ride was) more about raising awareness."

Scott said he hadn’t known about the organization before the chapter partnered with it . Now he makes sure to spread the word about what S.A.F.E. House does.

Seaquist also said the partnership works out because it pairs S.A.F.E. House not only with local bikers but also with people from all professional backgrounds.

The Black Mountain chapter is composed of lawyers, doctors, accountants and many more professionals who can take the word back to their respective professions.

The timing also worked out that April also is National Child Abuse Awareness Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month .

Willey said April is a big month for S.A.F.E. House because it is trying to educate the public on both topics.

"(Both) go hand-in-hand with domestic violence," Willey said.

During April, Henderson Harley-Davidson, 1010 W. Warm Springs Road, is spreading the word about S.A.F.E. House with word-of-mouth connections and by offering informational handouts at its store.

It also is collecting goods such as cans and clothing to donate to S.A.F.E. House.

Willey said that even though the organization has gone through budget struggles, it has received generous food and clothing donations from the public.

"We have never gone without," Willey said.

Both organizations hope to have future events. Because the S.A.F.E. House shelter is at a discreet location, the organizations are trying to think of events, such as a community picnic, that won’t encroach on people’s privacy and safety.

For more information about S.A.F.E. House, visit safehouse.org.

Contact Henderson and Anthem View reporter Michael Lyle at mlyle@viewnews.com or 387-5201.

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