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Staff Writer

AYER — Mission accomplished.

Battered Women’s Resources Inc. (BWRI) raised its profile dramatically last month when it attracted more than 100 friends to its fund-raiser at The Billiards Café.

BWRI raised $3,000, according to Liisa Grady Dowd, a member of the BWRI board of advising directors.

“It was a great turnout,” she said. “One-hundred percent of the money we raised will go directly to BWRI and its domestic-violence programs. Everything was donated. We will have to do it again next year.”

BWRI’s goal with the event was to expand the awareness of Ayer’s residents and the residents of its surrounding towns of domestic violence, said Dowd, who directed the event. BWRI’s work, serving 29 communities in northern Worcester County, means not only helping the victims of domestic violence, she said, but preventing it in the first place and involving men in the process of doing so.

BWRI’s strategic plan is to keep the victims of domestic violence and their families safe, states BWRI’s mission statement. Its goal is to help communities reduce, prevent and eventually eliminate domestic violence while promoting the well-being of all of the members of the communities it serves, it says.

“We’ve had a strong presence in the region, especially in Fitchburg and Lunenburg, but we wanted to broaden and deepen our influence in the Nashoba Valley area,” said Dowd.

The event gathered women, men and children in a festive atmosphere of holiday merriment and conviviality. The tone was informal. The message was subtle. People shot pool, shot the breeze or both. Or they did neither, as the evening’s program was as varied as the number of guests it served.

As one of the masters of ceremonies, Calvin Moore’s message was succinct.

He thanked his guests for supporting the work of BWRI and exhorted them to have a good time before introducing the voices of Random Chants, an a cappella group from Boston.

For about the next half hour the friends of BWRI experienced the hearty warmth of the mellifluous tones of the chorale. Its folio of renditions included an assortment of holiday cheer and warmth in anticipation of the participants eventually having to brave the chill of the evening air.

One of BWRI’s new friends, an entrepreneur, is also new to the area. She amplified her presence with a donation of a portion of the proceeds from the sale of her merchandise.

“This event was well-organized and fun for everyone,” said Virginia Foresman. “I’m a fairly new member of the Nashoba Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Nashoba Valley Network Group.”

Foresman is an independent representative for Silpada Designs, which makes sterling silver jewelry.

She said she’d met Dowd after hearing about BWRI at a Business After Hours meeting held at Billiards Café in early December.

“At our meeting, Liisa mentioned the number of battered women in this area,” said Foresman. “Immediately I was moved and felt I needed to help in some way. So we agreed that I’d participate by having my Silpada Designs jewelry at the benefit for sale and that I’d donate 50 percent of my profit to BWRI.

“Now that I’ve learned more about BWRI, I now know that my purpose is to make a difference in women’s lives and help them create a fresh start,” she said.

BWRI is located at 14 Manning Ave., Suite 401, Leominster, MA 01453. For information call BWRI Executive Director Joanne Tulonen at (978) 537-2306 or visit

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