Volley Against Violence returns to Hesperia courts
For the 7th year running the Hesperia Volleyballers will be hosting the Volley Against Violence Tournament this Saturday.
We caught up with Panther Coach Monica Grimard to get a little info on this worthy event.
Tell us a little about VAV.
Coach G.-This event was started in 2012 by myself and then Varsity Coach Joan David. We started this because we knew there were many young girls that were in unhealthy relationships and many families that were affected from Domestic Violence situation.
We have continued this campaign each year because of the response from the community, in addition to the continuing need for awareness and education on this topics
What impact has it had?
Coach G.-I feel the education and awareness of early warning signs of unhealthy relationships has been helpful for teens in our local community. Our campaign has spread throughout Newaygo County since the first awareness game in 2012 to Fremont, Grant, White Cloud, and Newaygo. Each of these teams have been given information about dating rights, early signs of unhealthy relationships, and how to talk to a friend facing these issues.
Beginning last year, we moved the event from a weekday event to a Saturday tournament. This way more teams could take part and more time could be given for the bake sales and raffles. Over the past 6 years, this area-wide campaign has spread from a small idea from a couple coaches to over 3 counties, with fundraising events taking place in Fremont, Newaygo, and Hesperia.
What organizations are served?
Coach G.-We have raised over $30, 000 in donations for WISE of Newaygo, Osceola, and Mecosta counties. We have received a match grant from the Fremont Area Community Foundation each year since 2013.
(Ed.Note: Women’s Information Service, Inc. (WISE) provides crisis intervention and support services to survivors of domestic and sexual violence) Their website:
What does this event mean to you as a coach? To your team?
Coach G.-The VAV event is closest to my heart and my teams past and present have always been very involved in this campaign. I am a survivor of domestic violence myself and the girls know how strongly I believe in this cause. I believe that no one should go through some of the things that I did. Early warning signs and education are the keys to ending the violence and stopping the silence.
In 2016, a former player of mine, lost her mother to a brutal murder from her fiancee and the girls were shown directly how this can happen to anyone. It was a shock, it was heartbreaking, and since then we have change the name of the tournament to the "Lori Vargas: Volley Against Violence Tournament". Each year at the last home football game before the VAV game we send off purple lanterns in honor of Lori and all the other victims of Domestic and Dating Violence.
The action begins at 9am Saturday at the Hesperia High School gym.
Good cause, good people, and some really good volleyball.