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Talent show Saturday benefits Crisis Center
Cheryl Airington of An Enchanted Florist poses with Dave Bird of the South County Crisis Center and Gigi Romero of Manteca Body and Spirit. In front of them are gift baskets that will be used in the organizations talent show fundraiser on Saturday. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL

When members of the South County Crisis Center Board of Directors asked Gigi Romero if she’d be willing to join, the Manteca mother of four was floored.

Getting the opportunity to help local families break the perpetual circle of domestic violence was something that the small business owner jumped at the chance to become a part of. She quickly immersed herself in anything she could do to support the mission of the non-profit that helps people throughout the area.

Because for her it was personal.

After years of being subjected to in-home violence and watching the impact it had on her children, Romero finally followed the advice of a Manteca police officer and contacted the organization to see how it could help her.

Now, with the ability to pay back some of the good will that was given so freely to her, Romero has taken on an active role in the organizing of a talent show fundraiser being held on Saturday, July 21, at the Manteca Senior Center to raise money for the non-profit.

“I think that it’s definitely paying it forward,” she said of her involvement. “I think that people that are victims of domestic violence need to know that there are places out there for them to turn when they need help. For me it was a place where I was able to build the confidence that I needed.

“When you’re subjected to domestic violence it really breaks you down. It’s embarrassing. Getting that confidence back is a big thing.”

But Romero is far from alone when it comes to putting together the fundraiser.

Longtime supporter of the group’s mission, Dave Bird – who was at one time married to the shelter’s executive director – plans a handful of events every year to help supplement the funding that the site receives and provide more outreach to spread the word to those who need the help the most.

While it’s seeing the kids that are victimized that really tug at his heartstrings, Bird knows that getting the adults into a safe and stable environment can make all the difference in the world.

“I came on to help my wife at the time and when she left I ended up sticking around,” Bird said. “This is a group that helps a lot of children and a lot of adults and that’s why I have stuck with it. It’s rewarding to see the fruits of your labor and know that people are being helped.”

A variety of programs are offered through the organization ranging from anger management to survivor coping skills. Classes for children with behavioral problems stemming from their exposure to domestic violence are also available.

For more information, or to donate directly to the South County Crisis Shelter, contact the organization at (209) 824-0856.

The Manteca Senior Center is located at 295 Cherry Lane. The event – which will feature dancing and singing as well as a pre-show jazz band performance – will run from 6:30 to 9 p.m. with doors opening at 5:45 p.m. The $10 tickets can be purchased at the door.