RIVERSIDE – During Riverside Arts Walk, HALT THE ASSAULT took place on the lawn of the Riverside Public Library on April 5th, marking the first Thursday of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.  HALT THE ASSAULT featured male poets addressing sexual assault against girls and women, an event hosted by Women Wonder Writers, a local youth mentoring nonprofit, in partnership with Daughters Lives MatterInlandia Institute and Mosaic Art & Literary Journal.  Over 75 people were in attendance, including Ward 6 Councilman Jim Perry, leaving standing room only.  MC Nikia Chaney, Inlandia Institute’s Poet Laureate, polled the audience as to how many were survivors or knew someone who had been sexually assaulted.  With nearly all hands raised, it sent a chilling reminder how prevalent the issue is.

Male spoken word poets included Eric DeVaughnn, who goes by T.R.U.E, a local poet who moved the audience with his seven minute spoken word testimony how becoming a new father changing his perspective.  T.R.U.E expressed his biggest fear for his daughter, which stemmed from his own male species and the danger of men sexually assaulting girls.  Another male performer, Joey Romero, who is a local community supporter and past board president of Riverside Area Rape Crisis Center, husband and father of a daughter, en couraged the audience to “teach boys about consent.  We must teach them consent.”  Dr. Ahmses Maat, a martial arts Hall of Fame inductee and fifth degree black belt, demonstrated self-defense techniques during two brief intervals through the event.

“Giving men a social space to address this issue is crucial to combatting sexual assault against our girls and women.  Men are protectors by nature and can speak candidly to other men about about consent, chivalry, and sexual assault. Many fathers are absent from the home for a variety of reasons, and cannot model or communicate gender equity and healthy relationships for their sons.  That’s where our schools, community and media come in.  We all have a responsibility.  We recognize the male perspective as part of the solution and don’t want them to feel left in the shadow. Their voices matter,” stated Debra Mares, WWW Executive Director who kicked off the event.

Stephanie Shatkin of Mosaic Art & Literary Journal announced contest winners of The Write of Your L!fe Poetry Contest, which concluded the event. A three judge panel evaluated the poems based on a scoring rubric that included four categories: Passion, Positive Message, Presentation, and Relevance Addressing the Prompt.  The contest was open to entrants living or attending school in the Inland Empire and who were between the ages of 14-22. First Place award of $200 in the 18-22 yrs. old category was awarded to 19-year-old Chantel Hung for her poem Surviving Sexual Assault. Chantel, a first year student at UC Riverside planning to major in Public Policy and attend medical school to become a physician, enjoys spending time with friends, and family, as well as meeting and getting to know different types of people. She says “I am passionate about Halt the Assault, because it is an active movement to spur change, and empower others, including myself.”

Second Place award of $100 in the 18-22 yrs. old category was awarded to 19-year-old Alondra Gonzalez for her poem The Evil Curse. Alondra who graduated from Centennial High School and is currently attending University of California at  Riverside identifies as a Latina student & mentor pursuing to make the world a little more habitable for all of humanity one verse at a time. First Place winner of $200 for the 14-17 yrs. old category was awarded to Marina Garcia for her poem You can’t have me and Second Place in the 14-17 yrs. old category for $100 was awarded  to Madison Allred for her poem The Toughest Thing.  Madison is on the varsity tennis team at Etiwanda High School and the oldest out of five siblings. She says, “I enjoy listening to music, reading, and am working towards my next karate belt. I also love to learn languages. Ever since last school year, I have been writing poetry in order to get out my thoughts and feelings, especially after my own experience with being sexually assaulted. It is now one of my very favorite things to do.”

Halt the Assault Anthologies featuring youth poetry contest submissions were released at the event and can still be purchased online at Amazon.  All proceeds benefit Women Wonder Writers.

Events bringing awareness to sexual assault continue around the county through April’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month including at Riverside International Film Festival,which kicks off today with California’s Forgotten Children, a documentary film shining light and combatting child sex trafficking, premiering this evening at 6pm at Fox Performing Art Center located at 3801 Mission Inn Avenue, Riverside, CA 92501.  The premier, which is sponsored by the Junior League of Riverside and The Grove Community Church is open to the public free of cost.  It will be followed by a panel discussion featuring local experts including Niki Barnes of Junior League of Riverside, Pastor Daniel Bishop of Grove Community church, Terry Boykins of Women Wonder Writers and Daughters Lives Matter, Nola Brantley of Nola Brantley Speaks!, Allison Donahoe-Beggs of Department of Public Social Services, Genice Jacobs of Abolitionist Mom, Krista Langford of Inspire Life Skills, Debbie Martis of Rebirth Homes, Opal Singleton of Million Kids, Norma Vazquez of Operation SafeHouse and film creator and director Melody C. Miller.  The discussion will be moderated by Women Wonder Writers‘ Executive Director Debra Mares.

For more information about WWW, please visit Women Wonder Writers website at www.WomenWonderWriters.com.

Halt the Assault, Apr. 5, 2018, Riverside Public Library

L-R: Rathyna Gomer, Daniela Aponte, Monica Martin, Maria Torres, Debra Mares. Back row L-R: Terry Boykins, T.R.U.E aka Eric DeVaughnn, Daughters Lives Matter representative, Dr. Ahmses Maat, Stephanie Shatkin, Members of Mosaic, far right: Cati Porter, Inlandia Institute Executive Director

L-R: Dr. Ahmses Maat, Spoken Word Poet, Terry Boykins, Joey Romero
Halt the Assault MC Nikia Chaney, Inlandia Institute Poet Laureate

Poetry Contest Winners L-R: Alondra Gonzalez, Chantel Hung, and Madison Allread.

Fathers & Daughters Attend Record Paint Date Addressing Victimization & Abuse

News Release
RIVERSIDE – Over 100 people attended Art of Fatherhood: Daddy/Daughter Paint Date & Expo held at Flabob Airport in Jurupa Valley, CA, on Saturday April 29, 2017, one of the largest of its kind in the region. The fundraising event was a collaboration among Women Wonder WritersDaughters Lives Matter, a national collaboration for “healthy” father/daughter relationships, and Street Positive, a nationally recognized award-winning social impact organization focused on the emotional, physical, and economic well-being of youth and young adults to bring awareness to victimization and abuse, and the importance of fathers in their daughters’ lives.

Art of Fatherhood focused on the significant role fathers play in affirming daughters. With up to 300,000 Americans under 18 lured into the commercial sex trade every year, these bonding activities are critical to the self-esteem, personal safety, peer selection, and relationship choices of daughters from childhood to adulthood. “When a daughter reaches for her father’s hand, words cannot express the confidence she feels when she knows ‘daddy’s got me’ and everything is going to be alright,” said Terry Boykins, Executive Director of Street Positive.

Musical artist and producer T. Lopez opened the event by singing the National Anthem followed by a preview of her new tribute song addressing healthy father-daughter relationships, which will come out on Father’s Day. Supported by her father and daughter, Lopez said, “I am one of four [daughters] and I know how important the relationship with a father is.”

Debra Postil, executive director and cofounder of Women Wonder Writers, announced the winners of the Daddy-Daughter Essay Contest. All girls who live in the Inland Empire and their dads were invited to write a 500-word essay with prompts such as how their relationship has shaped their life and what values are important to their relationship. Julio E. Sanchez, father of a 15-year-old daughter, was awarded first place in the parent category. Sanchez wrote, “A man or father does not need to be loved for what he is but for the way he acts with those around him. Each and every one of us deserve our respect and place.” Prizes were awarded for first, second, and third place.

The event also featured women who discussed their unusual career choices. Postil said, “There’s a need for influential women as role models to send a powerful message.” Raythna Gomez, a graphic designer at Women Wonder Writers and a drift car racer, showcased her race car and answered questions on her career choice as well as offered photo opportunities for the girls with her car. Other professionals included firefighter and paramedic Lovie Jung. “It’s pretty awesome to have an event with women in these careers,” Jung said. “I chose firefighting because no two days are the same and every day brings new challenges.” An air force jet pilot, a nurse, women in trucking, and Assemblywoman Sabrina Cervantes, representing California’s 60th Assembly District, also attended the event.

Fathers and daughters sat side-by-side as Dixie Roybal, local artist and owner of The Perfect Palette, instructed them in creating their painted masterpieces called “Swing Tree.” Roybal said, “Growing up, my dad wasn’t super involved and it’s nice seeing events out there like this.” During the “seventh-inning stretch,” Mike Sherbakov, from The Greatness Foundation in San Diego, led the group in relaxing, stretching, and breathing exercises, including the familiar “airplane” yoga pose, which was modified to use the support of a partner.  Sherbakov who analogized  the modified pose to life’s circumstances becoming easier when done with the help of supportive people, drew laughter from the crowd given the setting in Hangar 24.

All proceeds from the fundraiser will benefit Women Wonder Writers youth mentoring and intervention programs such as The Write of Your L!fe,™ implemented for girls ages 14-17. Women Wonder Writers (WWW) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to break the cycle of abuse and victimization through education, empathy, and expression. WWW implements cultural arts and restorative justice programs and believes that no matter one’s past or hardships, resilience is possible. For more information, to bring a program or paint date to your region or site, visit WomenWonderWriters.com or contact Kathy Ediss at (951) 532-3280.
Art of Fatherhood daughter and father attendees painting “Swing Tree.”
Singer, Songwriter, Producer T. Lopez (R) with her father and daughter.
(L-R) Tamara Williams (Daughters Lives Matter), Kathy Ediss (WWW), Essay Contest Winner Natalie Rosado, Lovie Jung (Riverside Fire Dept.), Rathyna Gomer (Pro-Am Series Drifter), Jessica Garcia-Watkins (Daughters Lives Matter, Cheyenne English (Women Who Hide/Daughters Lives Matter), Monica Martin (Daughters Lives Matter).
Rathyna Gomer, Pro-Am Drifter, with Father & Daughter Attendees.
Attendees of Art of Fatherhood in Hangar 24 Flabob Airport.

Scholarships for Girls to Paint Available for Local Victimization Prevention Event

IMG_0317RIVERSIDE – Women Wonder Writers in partnership with Daughters Lives Matter and Street Positive is set to host the Art of Fatherhood event at Flabob Airport, Hangar 16A in Riverside on Saturday, April 29, 2017.  Scholarships valued at $40 are available for girls ages 7-18 who register in advance, which includes admission to the expo, lunch, painting supplies and instruction, and her own masterpiece of Swing Tree to take home.
This event will provide the opportunity for guests to paint to prevent victimization and abuse, connect with important resources, and meet local career women in non-traditional and cultural careers, during National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Numerous diverse exhibitors and special resource vendors will be on site to meet with attendees. The Write of Your L!fe Essay Contest Winners will be announced and there will be giveaways, prizes and food served at additional cost.
To kick off the event, T-Lopez, a relevant music artist and producer, who performed at Saturday’s Riverside Tamale Festival, will sing the National Anthem followed by a tribute song to healthy father-daughter relationships.  Dixie Roybal, founder of Perfect Palette, a mobile paint company geared towards all levels of skill, will guide guests to paint their own masterpiece to take home of Swing Tree. Top female drifter, Rathyna Gomer, who currently competes in drifting in the ProAm series and working towards earning her professional competition license for Formula Drift Pro2, will be in attendance alongside her race car for a meet-and-greet with attendees.
“Many of us have been personally touched reading about the work of this organization to help steer young girls to a support network like yours.  There are many days I realize how much turmoil and pain I could have avoided if I had access to programs that would have connected me to positive role models,” said Desiree Wood, Founder and President of Real Women in Trucking.
April marks National Child Abuse Prevention Month.  According to Women Wonder Writers Co-Founding Executive Director Debra Postil who is also a local county prosecutor, “our focus is to bring awareness to child abuse and victimization, especially when it comes to absent-father homes. Issues of promiscuity, suicide, dropping out of school, poverty, drug and alcohol use, as well as teen pregnancy increase when fathers are absent from a daughter’s life.  And children from fatherless homes are the most vulnerable to being trafficked.”
Girls ages 7-8 interested in obtaining a scholarship to attend the event are required to register by contacting Kathy Ediss at (951) 532-3280 or Kathy@WomenWonderWriters.com no later than Friday, April 28, 2017. The Expo is set for Saturday April 29, 2017 and is open and FREE to the public (lunch and painting at additional cost).  The Expo opens at 11:00 a.m. and runs until 3:00 p.m.  Painting instruction starts at 11:30 a.m. Guests can register at WomenWonderWriters.com.
Tickets for the general public to participate in the painting portion are $40 for Adult (includes one child age 7-18) and $10 for each additional child.  All proceeds benefit The Write of Your L!fe, a mentoring cultural arts program building resiliency in girls. Lunch is not included in admission. Parking is free and the event is open to the public, including the media.  For more information, please email info@WomenWonderWriters.com, contact Kathy Ediss at (951) 532-3280, or visit www.womenwonderwriters.com.
Women Wonder Writers is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to break the cycle of victimization and abuse through education, empathy and expression.  It implements cultural arts and restorative justice programs, including The Write of Your L!fe, for girls ages 14-18.  For more information, visit WomenWonderWriters.com.

Victimization Prevention Event Seeks Sponsorships for Daughters

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In her lifetime a daughter is at risk of being pimped or punched.

The role that a father plays in helping his daughter build a healthy and sustainable lifestyle is priceless.

On April 29, 2017, Women Wonder Writers, Daughters Lives Matters and award-winning Street Positive is hosting the “Art of Fatherhood: Daddy/Daughter Paint Date & Expo” for victimization prevention. We need your help today!

We have 40 “girls without fathers” who would like to attend this uplifting and engaging painting event, but have little or no support to do so. There will also be “Women In Unique Careers” available to meet, share and encourage them to succeed in life; USAF Fighter Pilots, Firefighters, Race Car Drivers, Iron Workers, Airline Pilots, Truck Drivers, Electricians and many others. All, of which, understand the importance and impact of a father.

Please be 1 of 40 donors to provide a $40.00 tax-deductible sponsorship contribution to support a “girl without a father” to paint and lunch at the Art of Fatherhood on April 29, 2017.

Pledge your #NoPimpNoPunch support today to ensure all Daughters Lives Matter!

Visit WomenWonderWriters.com to sponsor a girl now!

And, remember “If you don’t spend time with your “daughter”, someone else will. We Guarantee It!”

The Write of Your L!fe Announces Daddy-Daughter Essay Contest


We are now accepting writing submissions for The Write of Your L!fe Essay Contest focused on fatherhood impact. Essay contest winners will be announced and awarded at Art of Fatherhood and provided free admission.

Art of Fatherhood™, a Daddy/Daughter Paint Date & Expo is set Saturday April 29, 2017. You can register to attend and/or become a sponsor or exhibitor at this multicultural family event offering outreach to fathers with daughters ages 7-18. The event is open to the public!

Accomplished artists and instructors will be assisting attendees to create their own masterpiece to take home, along with guest speakers, elected officials and community leaders. There will be giveaways, drawings and an aviation showcase.

Why do Daughters’ Lives Matter?

71% of high school dropouts come from fatherless homes, 63% of youth suicides are connected to fatherless homes, 71% of pregnant teens lack a father, and American children from fatherless homes are the most vulnerable to being trafficked. Additionally, issues of promiscuity, poverty, drug and alcohol use, as well as teen pregnancy are identified as high-risk areas when fathers are absent from a daughter’s life.

Visit WomenWonderWriters.com for more information.

Swing Tree Painting to Bring L!fe to Daddy-Daughter Paint Date

swing tree

Swing Tree, painting for Art of Fatherhood 

We are pleased to announce Art Instructor Dixie Roybal of Perfect Palette will inspire dads and daughters at Art of Fatherhood: Daddy-Daughter Paint Date & Expo Saturday April 29, 2017. Dixie will guide guests to paint their own masterpiece inspired by Swing Tree, a painting promoting healthy father-daughter relationships.

Dixie founded Perfect Palette, a mobile paint company, offering a variety of locations all around Southern California geared towards all levels of skill.  Perfect Palette even offers private parties such as birthday, bridal, baby showers, date nights or just a simple girls night out.  For more information, visit their website.
“After assisting multiple business owners from various industries build and manage their company, I knew I was ready to build my own.  Through all my experience, I learned that I have a passion for creating and teaching.  Combining that with my love for entertaining, so was born Perfect Palette Cocktails & Canvas. My commitment is to ensure that every guest has an amazing experience.” says Dixie Royal, owner of Perfect Palette.
Join us on April 29th to be create your own masterpiece inspired by Dixie’s painting Swing Tree, a tribute to healthy father-daughter relationships.
Register to attend and/or become a sponsor or exhibitor at this multicultural family event offering outreach to fathers with daughters ages 7-18. The event is open to the public!
Guest speakers, elected officials and community leaders will be present and there will be The Write of Your L!fe™ Essay Contest focused on fatherhood impact, giveaways, drawings and an aviation showcase.
Visit WomenWonderWriters.com for more information.

Dixie Roybal, Owner of Perfect Palette, Art of Fatherhood Painting Instructor

Top Latina Music Artist Joins Art of Fatherhood to Inspire Dads & Daughters

IMG_0275Professional female artists like T Lopez are expected to inspire dads and daughters at Art of Fatherhood:™ Daddy-Daughter Paint Date & Expo Saturday April 29, 2017. To kick off the event, T will perform the National Anthem followed by a tribute song to healthy father-daughter relationships.

With her most recent single release, “Company”, T has established herself as a relevant music artist throughout the industry, and has built a successful career as an actress, and television personality, as well. From serving as a producer and host on the nationally-syndicated series, LatiNation, to debuting her latest music video “Vivelo”, on the McDonald’s Channel, T continues to prove that her versatility as a performer has helped put her on the map and she intends to bring her community along for the ride.

During her run with Cash Money Records, beside artists like Drake, and Nicki Minaj, T was asked to join forces with countless superstars including Hip-Hop heavyweights, Lil’ Wayne, T-Pain, and Flo-Rida. Not stopping there, the former member of the all Latina-girl group Soluna, wasn’t satisfied until she was able to incorporate an aspect of her own brand into her music. T recruited some of the biggest names in Latin music, including: A.B. Quintanilla, C-Kan, and Jon Secada. Her first Spanish single, “Mentirosa”, released on the “A.B. Quintanilla’s Allstarz” album, skyrocketed to #1 in South America, which allowed Lopez to go on an international tour with his crew. Following that, T co-wrote two songs on C-Kan’s newly released album, Clasificacion C , and has begun touring throughout Mexico and Europe. The first of the C-Kan-T Lopez collaborations released, “Eres Para Mi,” has already reached over 1 million views on Vevo/YouTube in just under two months, and sales of the single continues to grow.

Although Lopez experienced the rigors of the touring world nearly a decade earlier, when Soluna opened for artists like Marc Anthony and Enrique Iglesias, it is her performances in Latin America that have had an extraordinary impact on her.

Join us on April 29th to be inspired by T’s music along with other female artists as you paint your masterpiece.

Register to attend and/or become a sponsor or exhibitor at this multicultural family event offering outreach to fathers with daughters ages 7-18. The event is open to the public!

General admission (without painting) is FREE. Daughters under 18 years old paint FREE. Adults and children may purchase tickets to paint at WomenWonderWriters.com.

Accomplished artists and instructors will be assisting attendees to create their own masterpiece to take home, along with guest speakers, elected officials and community leaders. There will be The Write of Your L!fe™ Essay Contest focused on fatherhood impact, giveaways, drawings and an aviation showcase.

Visit WomenWonderWriters.com to register and for more information.