Pat Griffen, Executive Director of Against Abuse, Inc. known as AAI will be presented with the 2022 Communication & Leadership Award, the highest honor bestowed to a non-Toastmaster. The award recognizes individuals within our Arizona communities who have demonstrated outstanding communication and leadership skills.
In October 1981, a group of concerned Casa Grande citizens who had been studying the phenomena of domestic violence, started Against Abuse, Inc. which was officially incorporated and opened as a domestic violence agency with Pat Griffen as its first Executive Director. Forty years later, Pat Griffen continues as the Executive Director and the agency, known as AAI, continues to grow.
Within five years of opening, Pat built AAI’s services and reputation to the point that La Casa de Paz, a shelter for women and their children, had filled immediately. In 1986, Pat began the Taste of Casa Grande, a fundraiser for AAI, an idea presented by local restauranteurs Nancy and Michael Jackson. For over thirty years under Pat’s guidance, the Taste of Casa Grande expanded to presenting 25-30 local restaurants. The community gets involved, volunteering and donating prizes and gifts for the 90 plus raffle baskets and door prizes. La Casita de Paz was opened in 1989 as an emergency shelter for children removed from their homes for cause.
Under Pat’s guidance, the AAI staff has grown and is now a full-service domestic violence agency that offers all victims of domestic violence shelter services and community-based services for those not wishing to come to a shelter. AAI also developed La Paloma, a supervised visit/safe exchange program that permits non-custodial parents to see their children in a manner so the custodial parent need not fear more violence. AAI also offers an animal safe home system, which keep the pets of women in the shelter.
AAI’s Thrift Store provides basic household items for women preparing to move back into their communities, as well as a clothing bank for women and children.
Against Abuse, Inc. was also recognized nationally in 2009 with the Sunshine Lady Foundation Inc’s Sunshine Award. This award recognizes organizations and programs dedicated to providing opportunities for advancement of education, well-being, and new life choices for disadvantaged people. AAI celebrated their 40th anniversary last year, long with Pat as its Director for 40 years, the agency provides the widest possible range of services to all victims of domestic violence.
In 2005, the city of Maricopa who had seen Pat’s work in Casa Grande, went to Pat seeking her guidance in their efforts to raise the necessary funding to build La Casa de Paz in Maricopa. The shelter opened last year and continues to provide the same excellent services expected from AAI.