Skip to main content

“So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” — Matthew 20:16

Subscribe by RSS

For more information

Susan Stack
(800) 728-7228, x5800
Send email

Or write to
100 Witherspoon Street
Louisville, KY 40202

2010 Breaking the Silence Award

Presbyterians Against Domestic Violence Network (PADVN)


Two women at a podium

2010 PADVN Moderator, the Rev. Diane Smalley, presents the Breaking The Silence Award to Heidi Clausnitzer, member of First Presbyterian Church of Brighton, Michigan. Photo by Bobbie Ponder.

PHEWA’s Presbyterians Against Domestic Violence Network (PADVN) presented our inaugural biennial Breaking the Silence Award to First Presbyterian Church of Brighton, Michigan during the 219th General Assembly (2010) in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  First Church’s pastor, the Reverend Daniel Michalek, and member, Heidi Clausnitzer, received the award on behalf of the congregation and in honor of two other ministry pioneers (the late Joyce Ewing and the late Helen May).  Heidi, Joyce and Helen helped establish LACASA as a leading nonprofit agency addressing domestic violence in the State of Michigan.  LACASA now provides comprehensive services for domestic violence and sexual assault victims, their families and friends. LACASA also provides services to perpetrators of domestic violence.  Programs include: crisis lines, emergency & transitional shelter, counseling, support groups, an on-call response team, legal & individual advocacy, batterers treatment, sexual assault recovery assistance, and prevention & education services. 

 In the early 1980s, two of these three women began the ministry in small rooms in a house located on the property of First Presbyterian Church.  Today, LACASA’s shelter, no longer located in that old house, is recognized globally as a state-of-the-art facility.  Last year, with a budget of over 1.1 million dollars, LACASA served over 3,000 people. 

Heidi Clausnitzer: Under Heidi’s leadership, programs serving children were planned, developed and implemented.  Her pioneering work led to the establishment of a 4-H Program, and a partnership with the Michigan Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. Today, Heidi is a member of the Board of Directors for LACASA. 

The late Joyce Ewing: In the early 1980s, Joyce began her tenure as the director.  In her role as fundraiser, she made long and short, eloquent and passionate speeches.  Eventually, under her leadership, the organization raised enough monies to purchase its first shelter – an old house in Howell, Michigan. 

The late Helen May:  In the early 1990s, Helen began her service as LACASA’s volunteer coordinator, a role she filled so well for almost 20 years.  Under her leadership, so many persons were recruited and trained to work with victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse and child abuse.  In short, lives were changed and transformed.