Community Solutions honors two

Gilroy
– The fight for social justice can be seen through different
eyes.
Diana Reuter, a survivor of domestic abuse, and Judge Sharon
Chatman, of Santa Clara County Superior Court, will be honored next
month for the work they’ve done to combat domestic violence,
support loving foster homes and encourage others who are in abusive
situations to stay strong.
Gilroy – The fight for social justice can be seen through different eyes.

Diana Reuter, a survivor of domestic abuse, and Judge Sharon Chatman, of Santa Clara County Superior Court, will be honored next month for the work they’ve done to combat domestic violence, support loving foster homes and encourage others who are in abusive situations to stay strong. Community Solutions, a local human service agency with branches in Gilroy and Morgan Hill, will present the awards at its Second Annual Helping Hands and Healing Hearts event.

Reuter, 19, was just 11 years old when her physically and emotionally abusive mother kicked her out of the house.

Reuter briefly stayed with her aunt and made weekend visits with her sexually abusive father. After weaving in and out of foster homes and shelters for several months, Reuter found a loving and supportive foster home where she lived until she was 18.

Reuter, a San Jose resident, has been a part of Community Solutions’ Independent Living Skills program for three years, which serves youth ages 16 to 21 who are aging out of the foster care system and will need to live independently when they turn 18 or graduate from high school.

The program teaches teens life skills such as how to cook, interview for jobs and create and live on a limited income budget, while providing them with resources to find housing, scholarship money and health care.

Reuter is in her second year of college thanks to a scholarship from Silicon Valley Children’s Fund and other grants.

She visits regularly with her foster family and is working toward graduating college.

Chatman, the assistant supervising judge of domestic violence courts in Santa Clara County, created the only domestic violence mental health court in California to identify defendants with mental illnesses and provide them with access to appropriate services. Chatman works with a variety of schools and service providers to promote social justice. She lives in San Jose.

“It’s a pleasure to honor both of these women for their achievements,” said Erin O’Brien, CEO of Community Solutions. “Diana’s triumph over personal adversity is rewarding for all of us in the field of social justice, and having a partner of the professional caliber of Judge Chatman is extremely gratifying.”

The Helping Hands and Healing Hearts luncheon will take place from 11:30am to 1:30pm Feb. 4 at the Coyote Creek Golf Club.

Tickets are $35. Call 776-6232.

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