Growing up in the small town of Omak, Washington, I had the opportunity to become active in the Boy Scouts of America, and eventually earned the rank of Eagle. It was during this time that I became interested in public service. The spark that the Boy Scouts instilled in me for giving back to my community drove me to investigate underrepresented areas of society in order to find a way to bring about a positive change in that community.
While attending the University of Washington, I heard about the CASA Program. The CASA Program is a program that allows for individuals to become trained in how to represent children in dependency cases, and advocate for their best interests in court. As a Court Appoint Special Advocate, I was exposed to a lot of people who had been victims of domestic violence, most of them women. The facts that I came across regarding the prevalence of domestic violence in our society astonished me, particularly that 1 in 4 women have been a victim of some type of violence. Considering that we live in a democratic society and boast how proud we are of our progress, the number of domestic violence related incidents where women are the victims is seriously concerning. As a man that believes in treating everyone with respect and dignity, I wanted to do something that could affect this statistic.
In December of 2012, with the help and support of ten of my college classmates, I founded The Evergreen Project with the intent of raising awareness about domestic violence in both our community and our society. The Evergreen Project wanted to not only raise awareness about the growing issue of domestic violence, but also provide some type of assistance to victims and their family during their times of need. After nearly a year, The Evergreen Project began to take shape and choose to focus their efforts on raising awareness about relationship violence on college campuses, specifically the University of Washington. While The Evergreen Project is still growing, we have made progress towards building a network within the UW community and are working to find forums where we can educate students about the importance of maintaining healthy relationships, while also working to raise a general awareness about its prevalence in college communities.
The Evergreen Project wants to thank everyone that has contributed to our mission so far. I know its cliche, but from the bottom of our heart, we could not have been able to do it without your support. Everything you do that helps us reach our goals of bringing about positive change and raising awareness about domestic violence in our society is truly appreciated and does make a difference.
Chandler J. Lewis
The Evergreen Project