Laurie Myers -Founder- email@example.com
My name is Laurie Myers; I’m the mother of three children, and a former rape crisis counselor from Chelmsford, Massachusetts, and I founded VOICES in 2004. I feel very fortunate to be in the company of the amazing people who make Community VOICES what it is today.
I have always seen the importance of being involved in my community. In 1992, I became a rape crisis counselor for Rape Crisis Services of Greater Lowell, and I worked on their hotline and supported victims of sexual assualt for six years. It was an experience that changed my life, and one I will never forget. During the many late night hotline calls, hospital, and police department visits, I accompanied the most amazing people through what was, for many the darkest time of their lives. This was a time that many of them will never forget. These courageous survivors shared their feelings, fears, and hopes after their lives were almost shattered by sexual assault, I admire their strength, and will never forget them, or the valuable things I have learned from them
Shortly after leaving Rape Crisis I became involved in advocating for laws to protect our children and communities from repeat sexual predators. I've always been a strong believer in awareness and education, and in 2003, I began advocating for increased public access to sex offender information via the internet. In March, 2004 I met the family of Joanne and Alyssa Presti of Woburn whose daughter and grand daughter were murdered by level 3 sex offender, Michael Bizanowicz. We joined forces, and together we were successful in advocating for the Internet posting of level three sex offenders. After a year of court battles the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in favor of the citizens of Massachusetts and allowed the Sex Offender Registry Board to post the most dangerous sex offenders on their website.
In June of 2004, it was decided that there was a need for an organized effort within Massachusetts for the VOICES of survivors, children, parents and our communities to be heard. There was also a need to bring this very important information to all members of the community. Community VOICES was officially formed in 2004. VOICES has met with and made our concerns known to community leaders, state agencies, parents and law makers and we have been successful in advocating for many community notification laws, as well as laws to protect the rights of victims of crime. To date, we have assisted in passing the following laws, Level 3 offenders on the Internet, Classification of sex offenders before release from prison, extending the statute of limitations on sex crimes againg children, GPS tracking of sex offenders who commit crimes against children, mandatory minimum sentences (Jessica's Law) for those who commit the most henious crimes against children, the administrative subepnona legislation that would enable law enfocement quicker access to internet records of potential predators, the Interstate Compact and the Human Trafficking Law. We have also been responsible for implementing many policy changes and we are very proud of the success of our continued advocacy.
We continue to work toward our goal of safer communities through awareness, by offering Child Safety and Internet Safety Presentations for parents and communities and have criss crossed the state of Massachusetts in an effort to educate parents and communities of the importance of taking a proactive approach to protecting their children.
During my many years as an advocate, I've been fortunate enough to have served on various Committees, including the Governor's Commission on Domestic and Sexual Assault, Justice and Accountablility Committee, where we drafted the Sexaul Assault Response Guidelines for police departments.
May 14, 2008 I was selceted by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women as unsung heroines for Chelmsford. I joined over 200 amazing women who were also selected by the Commission. It was a true honor and one I will never forget, and in May of 2011, I was recognized by the Molly Bish Foundation for my advocacy and legislative efforts, it was a true honor.
In 2011, we brought the first crime victim assistance dog, Wena to Massachsuetts. Wena is allowed in all of the public areas of the courthouse and spends her days assisting victims of violent crime as they make their way through the criminal justice system. She also joins us during our educational events. Wena was trained and donated by Canine Companions for Independence in Medford, NY.
In addition to my work with VOICES, I sit on the Advisory Board for the Essex County Child Advocacy Center and Courthouse Dogs.
Pam LaBarre - firstname.lastname@example.org
Laurie Myers - Founder
My name is Pamela Labarre I am a wife and proud mother of three amazing children who inspire me everyday. Similar to Kris’s story I unfortunately knew a child that was raped. This angered me to the core and left me to wonder what I could do.
Then one day in 2009 I came upon an article that Laurie had written in the Lowell Sun. Her passion for keeping our children safe inspired me to contact her. From that day forward I became active in participating in VOICES events about ways to keep our children safe, focusing on facts, not fear and what we can do to make a difference. With VOICES we held several safety events in my home town of Westford to educate families about sexual predators and how to keep our children safe with the focus of facts not fear and what our legal rights were.
It still amazes me that until I knew someone that had been raped I never gave it another thought. I think our society has become desensitized and makes us feel that this can never happen to people that we know - but it DOES. Every day in the news, there are items about children being abused or molested. We need to ensure that our laws give the power back to the victims and not the criminals, and protect our children from offenders. Our children have done nothing wrong except trust that we are looking out for them and letting them be kids.
I am looking forward to the future with VOICES and learning about the many ways I/we can make a difference no matter how big or small. Our kids are our biggest gifts and we must protect them.
Christine Sherwin- Vice President - email@example.com
Kimberly Schaefer- Director
of VICTIMS, CHILDREN and COMMUNITY
VOICES Advisory Board Members
Peter and Annette Presti
Child Protection Advocates
Parents of Joanne Presti
Grandparents of Alyssa Presti
Child Protection Advocate
Father of Jeffrey Curley
Kerry Murphy Healey
Former Lt. Governor
Stop Child Predators
Attorney and former Child Abuse Prosecutor
Lt. John Carney
North Andover Police Department
Worcester Police Department
Norfolk Police Department