In an effort to spotlight businesses around town, the Times’ 2019 Best of Blythe Readers’ Choice Awards ceremony was held April 18 at the State Farm Insurance offices.
This year, the special category of “Most Influential” received several nominations of community patrons who have been highlighted weekly in our Times’ issues.
This week, we spotlight Eve’s Place domestic violence and sexual assault victims’ advocate Olivia Villareal-Guido.
As read aloud by Times publisher Lisa Reilly to those in attendance, a submitted comment in the community for Villareal-Guido included:
“Olivia Villareal-Guido. (Olivia), who works for Eve’s Place, has continued to be a strong voice in the Blythe community and neighboring cities. She advocates for domestic violence and sexual assault survivors, (including) child abuse, teens, (and more). I am a survivor of sexual assault and Olivia has made an impact on me.”
For over two years, Villareal-Guido has continually served as Eve’s Place area outreach/volunteer coordinator for local survivors and victims of domestic abuse/sexual assault.
Eve’s Place, a non-profit mobile advocacy organization that specializes in providing support resources and services directly to clients, has been a consistent partner in at-risk and according community-wide events in the Palo Verde Valley and greater rural desert region.
“Being nominated for one of the most influential person’s to positively impact the Blythe community makes me feel humbled, blessed, and honored. The best part of my job is the feeling of helping to impact someone’s life in a positive way,” stated Villareal-Guido. “Eve’s Place is unique because being mobile gives us more opportunity to assist people who may not have been able to get assistance due to lack of transportation.
As a Blythe native herself, Villareal-Guido has first-hand knowledge of the intricacies and dynamics a small town can have in vulnerable victims hesitant to reach out for help.
“I feel the toughest part is knowing how many people are impacted by DVASA (Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault),” noted Villareal-Guido. “I would tell anyone that hasn’t taken the initial steps towards getting help or support that they are not alone. There is a great amount of resources available to them. There is no shame in needing or asking for help. Eve’s Place is a safe and confidential place to get the help they need.”
Notably, in November 2017 and 2018, Villareal-Guido was also awarded a Blythe Chamber of Commerce “Customer Service Award” distinctions for her continued efforts in advocating and empowering victims. She has coordinated, organized and partnered with local supporters to provide the community a bevy of special events, including the first-ever Domestic Violence Awareness Month event at City Hall’s patio in October of 2018.
On April 23, Villareal-Guido partnered Eve’s Place with Palo Verde College’s Umoja organization and a multitude of area victims support service providers to present a solidarity Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention Month event for locals.
“I would like to thank the Blythe community for always supporting Eve’s Place and me,” said Villareal-Guido. “(And) my wife and children, who — even though they miss me — know that the work we do at Eve’s Place helps others. Of course, I’d like to thank my mom Becki Jimenez, who gives me great advice, love and support. Last, God for the continued blessings he gives me daily.”