WATCH bid a fond, but sad farewell to staff member Anna Light in August. Anna applied for an internship to WATCH in 2007. She excelled in that role, quickly picking up on what is important to note during monitoring, and helping prepare and accompany new monitors to court. We were thrilled when she applied for the volunteer coordinator position approximately 6 months later. Anna was a warm, competent presence in the office, with talents ranging from excellent writing skills to ways to make volunteers feel welcomed and appreciated. She left WATCH to attend William Mitchell college of Law.
As the newsletter goes to print, we are also saying goodbye to Sarah Coulter, Court Monitoring Coordinator at WATCH for the past three and a half years. In addition to coordinating daily court calendars and tracking important defendant information, Sarah conducted WATCH’s most recent study of Child Protection court. She was also active outside the office, participating in the women of color network of the statewide battered women’s coalition, serving on the Citizen’s Review Panel on child protection, and facilitating discussions about race at the YWCA’s annual It’s Time to Talk event. Best wishes to both Sarah and Anna as they go on to pursue new paths.
Two board members ended their tenure with WATCH in October. Nick Brown joined the board two years ago, and remains a WATCH supporter, but his employer’s demands for frequent out-of-state travel prevent him from participating at the board level. Thank you for your time, Nick, and we plan on seeing you at WATCH events and keeping in touch through your wife Wendy, who volunteers as a court monitor.
Rosario de la Torre also served on the board for a short time, joining us last year. As shelter manager for the Casa de Esperanza shelter in St Paul, Rosario brought extensive experience with domestic violence and community connections to her role on the board. She left the board this month as demands on her time and energy at the shelter increased dramatically with continued pressure on both women victims of violence and service providers in the struggling economy. Thank you, Rosario, for your time with WATCH and dedication to helping women achieve safety from abuse.
We are excited to welcome three new board members to WATCH this fall. Mary Grace Flannery has been volunteering with WATCH since 2009. While at the Minneapolis Housing agency in the 1970s she helped secure federal housing funds to open the first shelter for battered women in Minneapolis, then called the Harriet Tubman Center. Since then, she has served in management positions and as an organization consultant to numerous non-profits, most frequently in the area of community development. Mary Grace was a consultant to WATCH during our child protection project (completed in 2010), helping us navigate the complex world of subsidized housing.
Larissa Griffin-Sponsler is the Resource Coordinator at the Battered Women’s Justice Project (BWJP), where she provides technical and strategic assistance to criminal justice professionals and battered women who contact the Project via a national toll-free number. Larissa has worked for over 12 years as an advocate for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and sexual exploitation. We’re thrilled to have Larissa bring her extensive experience working with victims of violence to enhance WATCH’s mission.
Sarah Kniskern Aughenbaugh came to WATCH through the Management Assistance Project’s Best on Board program, which matches interested community members with nonprofit organizations. Sarah works for the Minnesota Department of Human Services managing the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Nutrition grant program in Minnesota. While living in New York, Sarah worked extensively with organizations serving immigrant and refugee communities, with an emphasis on refugee resettlement and employment. She has a masters degree in public policy with a focus on nonprofit management from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.