Laura’s March: Burlington Community Takes Stand Against Sexual Violence

Burlington, Vt. – On Saturday, September 13, 2014, members of the Burlington community will gather at 9:00am at Oakledge Park to take a stand against sexual violence in on honor of one of its victims, Laura Kate Winterbottom.

This year marks the 8th annual Laura’s March, a 5k walk/run fundraiser. Hosted by the Laura Kate Winterbottom Memorial Fund, a nonprofit established in the wake of Laura’s abduction, rape and murder in 2005, the group’s mission is to increase awareness and raise funds to help eliminate sexual violence.

This year, LKW Memorial Fund is pleased to welcome two UVM organizations to Laura’s March, including the Vermont chapter of One in Four, a national organization dedicated to the prevention of rape, and representatives of UVM’s Greek community.

“One in Four is dedicated to helping prevent campus sexual assault through advocacy and education,” said Alexander Morgart, a junior pre-med and sociology major
at UVM and president of the university’s One in Four chapter. “Prevention starts with awareness, so that’s why we’re proud to march this Saturday and raise our voices against this issue.”

Sororities Alpha Chi Omega, Delta Delta Delta and Kappa Delta will once again participate in the March, as well as male members of the fraternity community including representatives of Alpha Gamma Rho and Pi Kappa Alpha.

“The UVM Fraternity & Sorority community is pleased to show our support for survivors of sexual assault and to take a hard stance against this type of violence,” said Scott Hiller, Interfraternity Council president.

JoAnn Winterbottom, president of the LKW Fund, added, “We hope the participation of One in Four and the UVM Fraternity & Sorority community, especially the presence of fraternities in Laura’s March, will bring an increased commitment to ending sexual assault on campus.”

Dr. Gary Margolis, a former UVM police chief, will be the keynote speaker at this year’s March. He is an expert in campus security and sexual assault prevention, and he currently serves as a national consultant and trainer dealing with these issues.

The primary beneficiaries of this year’s march are H.O.P.E Works, Pride Center of Vermont, and the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program.

HOPE Works, a rape crisis center, devotes its efforts to ending sexual violence through Healing Outreach Prevention and Empowerment. The organization will use the funds raised to retain an in-house mental health counselor to develop, expand and enhance victim services.

The second beneficiary, Pride Center of Vermont (formerly RU12) celebrates, educates and advocates with and for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Vermonters.  The support received from Laura’s March will help the center to expand its outreach to prevent sexual violence and provide services to the LGBTQ community.

Finally, a portion of the funds will go to the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner/SANE program at Fletcher Allen Health Care. This program is for registered nurses (R.N.) who have advanced education and clinical preparation in the forensic examination of sexual assault victims. SANEs ensure that sexual assault victims receive prompt, compassionate emergency care. Funds raised through Laura’s March will be used to send two nurses to attend the SANE National Conference in Phoenix, AZ to meet with other professionals to discuss new research and share information to improve patient care.

Laura’s March is sponsored in part by KSV, Northfield Savings Bank, Main Street Landing, National Life Group, Beacon Retiree Benefits Group LLC, Farrell Distributing Corp., VEIC, Office Environments Inc., VSECU, People’s United Bank, Bond Auto Parts, Merchants Bank, Great Harvest Bread Company, Vermont Systems Inc., PC Construction, Vermont Tent Company, and Women Helping Battered Women.

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About the LKW Fund
The LKW Fund annually hosts Laura’s March, its primary fundraiser. Additional funds raised throughout the year also help benefit programs and organizations that reflect Laura’s passions: children, art and nature. Since 2005, the LKW Fund has donated more than $100,000 to Vermont-based nonprofit organizations. A portion of funds raised goes toward sustaining and increasing the LKW Fund’s capacity to serve the community.