The Healing Hearts Center will host its annual Facing the Giants, Ending the Silence Gala Dinner at 6 p.m. Saturday, April 5 at The Avenue Church, 1761 N. U.S. Highway 77 in Waxahachie.

Tickets are $50 per person and can be purchased online at After 5 p.m. attire should be worn. Healing Hearts Center aids and shelters abused women and children.

This year's event will honor Ellis County Sheriff's Deputy Ken Hatcher as Community Leader of the Year and Maria Gomez as Advocate of the Year.

President and Founder of Healing Hearts Alicia Peters said they will be celebrating their accomplishments and determination to eradicate family violence and sexual assault. The organization also provides shelter for women and children who need a safe place to go when they face domestic situations. Monies from the dinner will also be used to meet the needs of those staying at the shelter.

“We always look forward to this time of year,” Peters said. “Our gala is an exciting time for us, because it gives us a chance to recognize those who have helped us make a difference in the community. It also gives us an opportunity to raise money to continue our efforts of eradicating domestic violence.”

Peter said that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men ages 18 and older in the U.S. have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. She added that 85 percent of domestic violence victims are women, 50 percent of girls who grow up in an abusive home will go on to be victims of abuse themselves. She said intimate partner violence made up 20 percent of all nonfatal violent crime experienced by women in 2001.

“We have to raise awareness and receive necessary financial support to maintain our shelter,” Peters said. “With the help of people in the community, we can make a difference in the lives of women and children who have been affected by domestic violence.”

As a survivor of domestic violence and sexual assault, no one understands the grave dangers of this issue better than Peters.

“I've been on the receiving end of what these women and children are going through,” she said. “It's only by the grace of God that I am the person I am now. And I wanted to take the hurt that I experienced and use it as a way of ministry.”

She has advocated on behalf of abused women and children for more than 10 years. Since 2001, Peters has devoted her life to ending violence against women and children. During her undergraduate studies, she began working with survivors of abuse. Once she received her graduate degree, Peters became a mental health professional with Mental Health Management. She counseled individuals, conducted support groups and trained staff on the dynamics of mental illness.

She is now encouraging everyone in the community to be a part of this year’s gala.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to help women and children in Ellis County who have been abused,” she said.

During the gala, there will auction items up for bid. Those items include a flat screen LED TV, a Texas themed gift basket, a Greenery Nursery certificate valued at $150, a hair salon gift certificate, a Christian children's book, a Star Nails gift certificate, a Briarpatch assortment of gifts, a Mary Kay basket, a photography session, a Ryobi One+ Drill and Saw Kit, Tracy Lynn jewelry, a spa gift certificate, a Scentsy basket, a Compton's Carpet Cleaning gift certificate valued at $250, a Gleam Clean Carpet Cleaning gift certificate valued at $50 and a signed baseball by Lance Berkman, Six Time Major League Baseball All star, (Played for Astros, New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals, and Rangers. He was an outfielder and first baseman.

Healing Hearts Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and is able to receive contributions from individuals, corporations or foundations. All donations are tax deductible. For more information or to become a sponsor, call 972-387-4777.