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Former mayor establishes new not-for-profit

By Staff | Feb 7, 2019

A familiar face in the Cape Coral community has founded a non-profit devoted to women’s empowerment and assisting those who have gone through domestic violence in a relationship.

Former Cape Coral mayor Marni Sawicki, has established The Indigo Skies Project. Its vision is “to save the lives of women and children who are survivors of domestic violence by empowering and guiding them through their journey to finally break the cycle of abuse once and for all.”

The Indigo Skies Project’s first fundraiser will be held at The Laboratory Theater in Fort Myers for a two-day showing of “The Vagina Monologues,” on Feb 13 and 14; both show times are at 8 p.m.

This rendition of the play will be directed by Southwest Florida’s Stephanie Davis and put on by more than 20 local actors.

The Obie-award winning show introduced a wildly divergent gathering of female voices and has been translated into more than 48 languages and performed in over 140 countries.

The project’s initial purpose is to offer an online, moderated forum, where survivors can locate roommates, housing, transportation and emotional support.

The long-term goal is to empower survivors with various methods of healing, educational programs, training including self-defense and group support.

“We want to be a women’s empowerment center,” said Sawicki. “We want to provide services after the emergency services run out. From abuse to empowerment. Some women go back and forth to their abuser seven times before they eventually leave-whether that’s because they have nowhere to live, depression, no support from loved ones, and many other reasons.”

She invasions Indigo Skies as a “hub” for domestic abuse victims where they can have access to holistic services, health and wellness, financial planning help, educational opportunities or training and entrepreneurship.

“Lots of programs have different pieces, we want to give them access and information to all of those pieces,” she said.

Sawicki, herself domestic abuse survivor, said that if she had the resources Indigo Skies hopes to have, she would have been in a much better place in a much shorter period of time.

“ACT (Abuse Counseling & Treatment Center) helps survivors to safely leave their abuser – our project, through empowerment, will keep them from going back,” Sawicki said in a prepared statement.

Not all of those services will be under one roof, but the project will provide women with the education to gain access to all they need to help them on the road to recovery, she said.

A focus of the project will be group therapy, where women who share common experiences can help one another and be the support that Sawicki said so many women need after dealing with domestic abuse.

“Having a place to go outside of a crisis environment is vital for women and their children,” she said.

“In 2017, over 14,000 individuals sought out emergency services for domestic violence and assault in Lee County. With physical assaults being underreported by more then 75%, there is potentially over 45,000 women and children in need of these services to rebuild their lives each year.” Sawicki said in a statement. “Unfortunately, grant funding for projects like this are limited. The Project’s success is going to be because of the generous time, effort, and donations from our incredible community. It really will take a village!”

The project is awaiting 501(3) approval, and all proceeds from the shows will benefit Indigo Skies.

Nevermind Awesome Bar & Eatery, along with King’s Kitchen, will provide food each night.

The Indigo Skies Project is currently made up of four board members, including Sawicki, who envisions the project being fully off the ground in two years time max.

Tickets are $30 for adults and $10 for students.

Ticket prices include entry to the event plus hors d’oeuvres and a raffle; limited seating is available.

For those interested in more information, donating, or becoming a sponsor for the Indigo Skies Project, visit www.indigoskiesproject.com to learn more.

For more information on The Vagina Monologues and to purchase tickets, visit www.laboratorytheaterflorida.com.

The Laboratory Theater is at 1634 Woodford Avenue in Fort Myers.

-Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj