‘We should step up’: Dove Center gala to be held in memory of Kristy Manzanares; tickets now available

The 2018 Dove Center gala is being held in memory of Kristy Manzanares, a St. George woman who was killed in a domestic violence incident in July 2017 | Composite image, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Tickets are now available for the fifth annual “Dove Center Gala” on March 24 at the SunRiver Ballroom. With a theme of “Stand together – It’s up to us to end domestic violence,” the 2018 gala is being held in memory of Kristy Manzanares, a St. George woman who was killed in a domestic violence incident in July.

Dove Center is a local agency providing emergency shelter, victim advocacy and counseling services for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. The gala is held each year to raise funds that help ensure the continuation of critical services to survivors free of charge.

Victor Rivas Rivers will be the keynote speaker for the 2018 Dove Center gala in St. George, Utah | Photo courtesy Dove Center, St. George News

The 2018 event will feature keynote speaker Victor Rivas Rivers, a veteran film star, best-selling author and renowned anti-violence advocate.

Rivers is a survivor of childhood abuse and credits caring, compassionate teachers and other community members for helping him make the journey from gang member to anti-violence activist.

Rivers, whose story is chronicled in his memoir “A Private Family Matter,” speaks to the role all community members play – particularly men – in ending domestic abuse and violence against women.

“I see men and boys trying to outdo each other to see who’s more tough, more manly,” Rivers said in a media release from Dove Center.

“But I believe a man is one who joins in the movement to end violence against women and children, who confronts those who commit the violence, who sets an example for boys and younger men, and who stands up to protect and respect women. That is a man.”

As one of the few male voices speaking out against domestic violence, Rivers seeks to inspire activism among men and fathers.

Lindsey Boyer, executive director at Dove Center, said she agrees that men play an important role in ending violence in our communities.

“It is essential to include men in finding solutions,” Boyer said. “That’s one of the reasons it is such an honor to partner with Joe Gibbons this year to bring Victor to town.”

Gibbons is the owner of Carpets Plus, the headline sponsor of the event. According to the release from Dove Center, Gibbons decided to get involved at this level in part to pay tribute to former employee and beloved family friend Kristy Manzanares.

Manzanares was killed while on a family vacation in July. In August, a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging 39-year-old Kenneth Manzanares with first-degree murder in the death of his wife.

Read more: St. George man indicted in death of Kristy Manzanares on Alaska cruise

Gibbons said he wanted to take action somehow to honor Kristy Manzanares’ memory and help others find safety before it’s too late.

“We’ve supported Dove Center in other ways in the past,” Gibbons said, “but in honor of Kristy and in her memory, we felt we should step up and lead out this fundraising effort. It won’t bring her back, but it helps soften our sadness, and we hope it inspires others to step up and donate as well.”

Dove Center relies on the generosity of event sponsors so that more community donations go directly to programs and services that help clients find safety and healing.

“We are so blessed to have Joe’s leadership in support of our efforts,” Boyer said. “He has a genuine heart and sincere desire to help others, and it is truly inspirational.”

The gala will begin with a social hour and silent auction, followed by a beautifully catered sit-down dinner, after which Rivers will speak. Tickets are $100 each. To purchase tickets or make a donation, go to the Dove Center website.

For information on sponsorship opportunities, email development@dovecenter.org or call 435-817-2219.

For emergency shelter and other questions about domestic violence or sexual assault, call Dove Center’s 24-hour helpline at 435-628-0458.

Event details

  • What: 5th annual Dove Center Gala, “Stand together – It’s up to us to end domestic violence.”
  • When: Saturday, March 24, 5-8 p.m.
  • Where: SunRiver Ballroom, 4275 S. Country Club Drive, St. George.
  • Tickets are $100 each. To purchase tickets or make a donation, go to the Dove Center website.

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

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