1st Annual Giving Thanks Celebration a Success!

Over 200 guests joined together on Thursday, November 16th at Sheraton Station Square to give thanks and celebrate those who support survivors of sex trafficking and those who helped Refuge for Women Pittsburgh to open Pittsburgh’s first Emergency Home.

Over 200 guests joined together on Thursday, November 16th at Sheraton Station Square to give thanks and celebrate those who support survivors of sex trafficking and those who helped Refuge for Women Pittsburgh to open Pittsburgh’s first Emergency Home.

The evening featured a reception, dinner, and presentations about sex trafficking and exploitation in the Pittsburgh region.  The highlight of the evening, included an awards given to individuals and organizations including Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh,

Rather than receiving a plaque, each honoree was given a Kintsugi bowl, made by staff members.

Emcee Maria Scapaletto explained the significance of these awards, “The Kintsugi Bowl is a beautiful metaphor for the woman who has suffered the trauma of sex trafficking and exploitation and is now in the process of healing and rebuilding her life. Through her journey of healing and recovery, the woman becomes stronger and more resilient. Her experiences, although painful, become a part of her story, adding to her strength and beauty. Her past does not define her, but it shapes her into the person she is becoming – a person of resilience, strength, and profound beauty.”

During the awards ceremony, a poignant moment occurred on stage when Theresa Golden, Refuge for Women Pittsburgh’s Executive Director, announced that the nonprofit would rename its Humanitarian Award to be “The Annaliese Award,” in honor of Annaliese Marie Magnelli, a young woman who survived sex trafficking and then passed away suddenly.

“Renaming this award reminds us that that survivors are not statistics but are human beings who are cherished by so many who love them,” Theresa explained when she presented the award to Rocco Magnelli, Annaliese’s father who continues to advocate for children and adults who are trafficked and exploited in the region.

The event, which raised over $100,000 (30% of our End of Year Goal), was sponsored by Baird, Oakmont Bakery, Marinus Analytics, and UPMC Health Plan and implemented by a team of dedicated volunteers and Board Members. 

“From building the centerpieces, to baking cookies, to creating the delicious grazing table and even to building the Hope and Heal signs on stage,” said Roni Milich, Refuge for Women Pittsburgh’s Community Engagement Coordinator. “There are so very many people that made this event a success! Our volunteers were true rock stars… the hours of work and support were countless and we love and appreciate each one of them!”

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