A story of survival after abuse at luncheon Thursday

The Center for Women and Families’ annual luncheon will feature Dave Pelzer speaking about survival after abuse, a subject he lived through while growing up with an abusive mom.

Pelzer is a living testament of a self-made man. As a child, he feared for his life, but had the resilience to overcome extreme obstacles to become the man he is today, inspiring others to lead fulfilling lives.

The 16th annual Speaking of Women luncheon will take place Thursday, Sept. 26 at 11:30 a.m. at the Waterview in Monroe. It is the biggest fund-raiser of the year for the Center for Women and Families (CWF) of Eastern Fairfield County.

Proceeds from the event will help CWF continue its work of advocacy, education and crisis services for those shattered by domestic abuse, sexual assault and bullying.

Has written five best-selling books

Pelzer has dedicated his life to helping others become the best that they can be, according to CWF publicity material.

“Your experiences — the good, the bad and the ugly — are what make you,” Pelzer says. “No person is without conflict. But it is how you deal with those conflicts that determine who you are.”

In addition to his motivational speeches, Pelzer is the author of seven books, five of which are New York Times bestsellers. His first, “A Child Called It,” recounts his life as a child when he was brutally beaten and starved by his emotionally unstable, alcoholic mother, a mother who played tortuous games that left him nearly dead.

It is the first of a trilogy that includes “The Lost Boy” and “A Man Named Dave.” His latest book, “Moving Forward,” suggests ways for readers to let go of their pasts and use negative experiences to make them stronger.

An ‘everlasting’ message

Debra Greenwood, CWF CEO and president, said Pelzer’s message “is everlasting and one that is important for us all to hear. With the needed resources, such as the ones the center provides, survival after trauma is possible.”

“Even if you have never heard of Dave Pelzer, once you listen to him speak, he will stay in your memory for years to come,” Greenwood said.

Anyone interested in attending or becoming a corporate sponsor should contact Sarah Lubarsky at 203-334-6154, ext. 31, or slubarsky@cwfefc.org. Cost is $175 per ticket, which includes lunch.

Turning victims into survivors

The CWF focuses on turning victims of domestic violence and sexual assault into survivors, and educating children about ways to build healthy relationships without bullying and teen dating violence. Its service area covers six towns — Bridgeport, Easton, Fairfield, Monroe, Stratford and Trumbull.

All proceeds from the luncheon support CWF services, including 24-hour hotlines in English and Spanish, an emergency shelter, support groups, community education, counseling; and advocacy to navigate medical, legal, and government processes related to domestic and sexual violence.

Title sponsors for this year’s event include People’s United Bank, People’s United Wealth Management and Elizabeth M. Pfriem.