PAVE Sweet Thanks March 6th

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By: Pave Sweet Thanks Committee

“Sweet Thanks” is an expression seeking to convey gratitude, gratefulness and abundant blessings.  It has become the brand for a popular fundraiser for PAVE (People Against a Violent Environment) since 2010.  This divine dessert auction does more than whet the appetite for extravagant cakes, pastries, cookies, flambeaus, tortes and dessert delicacies; the event literally paves the way for funding for this vital service organization and its clients, both of which rely on fundraising to survive.

PAVE’s mission is empowering those affected by violence. With domestic abuse in the news from the sports industry to the music industry, this subject cannot be ignored. In Dodge County, the idea of PAVE existed well before an actual building became a safe haven for those escaping violence.  In 1978, community members began in earnest to provide resources for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, a taboo topic often not discussed in public. In 1982, a small office opened and received over 200 crisis calls during the first six months.  In February of 1990, PAVE’s shelter doors opened. The shelter is housed in the same building and now operates with five full-time employees, several part-time, numerous volunteers and a dedicated executive director.

PAVE serves men, women and children; however, the shelter houses only women and children. They provide hotel vouchers for men in need of a safe place to stay. In 2014 PAVE provided over 3,300 nights of shelter and services to 483 individuals.  Additional outreach services include legal advocacy, family advocacy, sexual assault victims’ advocacy, prevention and education, SANE support, a 24-hour crisis line (both traditional and texting hotline) and support groups.


What does all this mean?

Victims are not alone in their suffering.

Help is just a phone call or text away.

Circumstances can change, and

professionals are available and waiting to help.

People really care.


All these programs and support services are essential.  Through PAVE’s “Sweet Thanks” event, grant writing, county and state support and private donations, these services continue, but with a price tag. Executive Director Teresa Nienow says, “For 2015 our fundraising goal is $50,000, $14,000 of which comes from “Sweet Thanks” alone.”  Nienow continued, “I’m approaching my seventh month at PAVE. These past months have flown by so fast and I have learned so much.  It’s been a wonderful journey working with the amazing team at PAVE to help victims and survivors.  I have also been astonished by the support of the community and how generous people are.  The partnership PAVE has with the community is most important.  Without it, we couldn’t provide the quality of services we know our clients deserve.”

The “Sweet Thanks” event feels like walking into a Willy Wonka movie set, with so many bright colors emanating from dessert bars and the auction table.  You can taste the color.  Think of artful and delicious tasting desserts in the most high caliber restaurants, and then, double your expectations.  That is how amazing this event truly is. The 2015 event is scheduled for Friday March 6 from 5:30-8 p.m. at Chapel of the Archangels in Beaver Dam.  Tickets are $10 and are available at Rechek’s Food Pride. Ticket price includes appetizers and sales of desserts by the slice.

Silent auction items and/or desserts may be dropped off in advance at the Animart corporate office at 1240 Green Valley Road or on the day of the event from 3-5 pm at Chapel of the Archangels.  PAVE staff will also pick up any donations.  “Besides raising awareness and funds for PAVE, the ‘Sweet Thanks’ event allows the public to see those who are dedicated to making a difference,” explained Teresa Nienow. “The more people talk about PAVE, the more likely victims will take the chance to reach out to us.  We welcome anyone interested in supporting a great cause.”

“Sweet Thanks” planning committee members include Stefanie Bradley (chair), Katie Kohn (chair) and Annette Schimming, all from Animart, a “Sweet Thanks” major sponsor; Gina Oemig, PAVE Board; Kristin Fabisch, retired PAVE Board; and Teresa Nienow and Jen Kunath, PAVE.  The Committee has also selected several honors to bestow during the event including Business of the Year, Volunteer of the Year and Person of the Year.

For more details contact Teresa Nienow, Executive Director at (920) 887-3810 or email







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