In 2008, Elizabeth Verterano received the Community Leadership Award for nearly 30 years of service at the Crisis Shelter of Lawrence County. “I was totally surprised and excited at being selected. I considered it a great honor and still do,” Elizabeth said.
A financial advisor in New Wilmington, Penn., Elizabeth is a fierce advocate against domestic violence. Six years after winning the award, she continues to support the Crisis Shelter of Lawrence County and its efforts to offer transitional housing, counseling, court and medical advocacy, prevention education, and intervention training.
In recent years, the shelter has struggled to keep its doors open. “Given the fact that Pennsylvania still does not have a budget for FY 2015-2016, non-profits like the shelter have struggled just to continue operating,” she explained. “Some shelters were forced to close. Our greatest accomplishment was that we have managed to stay open due to the hard work of our executive director, staff, and board, as well as the monetary sacrifices made by the staff.”
The budget woes have also underscored the importance of private funding. Undoubtedly, Elizabeth’s fundraising prowess and the endowment fund she worked to establish more than a decade ago have helped the shelter stay afloat.
Despite the ups and downs, Elizabeth has no intention of discontinuing her involvement with the Crisis Shelter of Lawrence County. “There are still issues with low income housing, jobs for those without many skills, and help for those addicted to drugs and alcohol,” she commented. “We need advocates to speak out and write to our local, state, and federal officials. They are the ones who do the most to help reduce these areas of need if they are educated about the problems and make them a priority.”