a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization serving Summit County, Ohio

2023 Mardi Gras Gala


Laissez les bons temps rouler!“Let the good times roll!”

For the last 50 years, donations made to Victim Assistance Program have directly impacted victims of crime and trauma in Summit County. With the increase in violence in our community over the last year, our service utilization has increased exponentially. The strong support of generous donors like you allows us to continue important services such as 24-hour crisis intervention, advocacy, and education to thousands of victims and the professionals who serve our community.

On Saturday, March 11, 2023, we celebrated our 31st annual Mardi Gras Gala with hundreds of our friends. Guests enjoyed a gourmet meal, an open bar, and live & silent auctions, while helping us get closer to reaching our fundraising goal of $150,000. A Huge Thank You to our Royal Sponsor, Leppo Rents!

Please direct any inquiries about next years’ event to [email protected] or 330-376-7022 ext. 212




Bernard I. Rosen Community Service Award

Terri Heckman – CEO Emeritus BWS and RCC for Summit and Medina Counties

Terri Heckman is the recently retired CEO of the Battered Women’s Shelter and Rape Crisis Center for Summit and Medina Counties, her leadership and advocacy started at a young age.

Landmark legislation in 1984 created the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), opening new doors and establishing support and benefits for those impacted by crime. Terri seized the opportunity that VOCA created, accepting her first job at the YWCA Rape Crisis Center. From 1985–1995, Terri led the YWCA Rape Crisis Program with her advocacy, community outreach and commitment to professional collaborations. Comprehensive victim services tied to community volunteerism, drove her to expand the program to a larger systems-change orientation.

By 1995, Terri was presenting to groups throughout the United States, opening hearts and minds to the rights of victims and the need for a community to respond together. When Terri accepted the Executive position at the Battered Women’s Shelter in 1995, she had 19 employees and 48 emergency beds for female victims of family violence. At the start of 2022, the organization had just under 100 employees, an annual operating budget of $6 million and 170 beds for men, women, and children.

When the YWCA announced they were closing their doors in 2005, Terri led the exciting and successful merger of two critical non-profit organizations.  The Rape Crisis Center put an additional $2 million dollars of victim services into Terri’s capable hands. In 2016, with the City of Akron, they obtained an old nursing home that had enough room for 41 family suites, providing victims with updated, private space, as well as offering rooms for senior and male victims. This new shelter facility was opened as a pet-friendly facility, with children’s playrooms, homework areas, a beauty shop, clothing room, a computer training center, and a commercial kitchen.  Terri partnered with a local marketing firm to rename the campus as the Center for Hope and Healing and within two years entered into a partnership with Huntington Bank, adding to the name which is now known as the Huntington Center for Hope and Healing.

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