One Love Foundation honored by Grace Smith House
2 lauded for abuse fight
Grace Smith honors women with awards
Poughkeepsie, N.Y. -- After her daughter, Yeardley Reynolds Love, was murdered at the hands of her then-boyfriend in May 2010, Sharon Love committed her life to preserving her memory and giving back to the community.
Yeardley Reynolds Love was killed while a student at the University of Virginia. Within a month, Sharon Love, inspired by the outpouring of support, created the One Love Foundation in honor of her daughter’s high school and college lacrosse jersey number.
The foundation’s intention was to sponsor an innercity lacrosse team with the hope of spreading humanitarianism. Sharon Love said she wanted to avoid talking about her daughter’s situation as it worked its way through the court system.
After George Huguely V was found guilty of the murder in February, Sharon Love sprang into action as an advocate to spread awareness of domestic violence and help end the abuse.
“I think she would have done so much good in her life,” said Sharon Love, of Hunt Valley, Md. “So we’re taking up the mantle and are pushing forward.”
With the help of family and friends, Sharon Love added to One Love Foundation with Be 1 for Change. The focus of the addition is to heighten the awareness of relationship violence and put a spotlight on the abusers.
“Anything I can do to prevent this from happening to another family, I’m happy to do,” she said. “It drives you to keep going.”
Sharon Love and Laurie Brent Schiavone, founder of a community outreach program, were honored for their service at the sixth annual Woman of Grace ceremony Thursday at The Grandview in the City of Poughkeepsie.
“For me it’s such an honor to be receiving this award,” Love said. “I’m overwhelmed with their kindness and dedication.”
Since 2001, more than 8,000 women have been murdered in America by intimate partners, nearly 40 million women have been assaulted or beaten and more than 110,000,000 children have witnessed domestic violence in their homes, said Renee Fillette, executive director of the Grace Smith House, the event host.
“The presence of over 300 people here tonight speaks to your commitment to change in our county,” Fillette said. “This event raises awareness because education means everything in preventing this epidemic of domestic violence.”
Schiavone, 49, of LaGrangeville, began volunteering at the Grace Smith House four years ago, helping to stock supplies and answer phones. As she became more comfortable, her role grew to include connecting with residents and transporting them when they moved out.
“I had an urge in my heart to do something more than write a check,” she said. “It lets them know the community cares about them.”
With the help of her husband, Frank, and their four boys, Schiavone started her own initiative known as Jane’s Grace. The family receives donations to distribute food, clothing, furniture and other necessities to help residents transition back into independent living. She said the banquet helps bring the community together and influence change.
“This is a real reality that this is going to be a part of my life for a very long time,” she said. “It’s humbling.”