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Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
Maureene Riethmiller of the Fort Wayne Center for Nonviolence, left, congratulates Lori Rose, winner of the 2013 Hope Award for Domestic Violence Prevention and Interventionon on Monday at the YMCA Central Branch.

YWCA presents Hope Award to dance organizer

She couldn’t keep her hand still.

Lori Rose held it away from her, almost marveling at how it was trembling, thinking of what to say into the microphone she held in her other hand.

“I’m totally shaken,” she said with a smile on her face. “I’m taken aback, shaking.”

This was supposed to be a normal Monday night, one in which Rose would teach her popular Zumba class at the downtown YMCA.

Instead, seconds after she ran onto the gymnasium floor she was greeted by some of her closest friends bursting through a side door, completely and utterly without warning.

One of them was toting a plaque with her name etched on it.

Every year during October, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the YWCA Northeast Indiana recognizes those who excel in the organization’s mission of eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.

This year, the organization honored Rose with the Hope Award for Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention.

And those involved wanted it to be a surprise.

“I’m completely shocked,” Rose said.

Rose’s work in an event called One Billion Rising helped raise $2,000 for local agencies that work to end domestic violence.

The event was part of a global movement to raise awareness of victims of violence, something that Rose found through Google one day while surfing the Internet.

She then organized for more than 500 people to perform dance numbers at Parkview Field this past Valentine’s Day. She hopes to hold the event again next year.

“It seemed like it was speaking to me,” said Rose when she discovered the One Billion Rising movement. “When I read that one in three women and girls are victims of violence, it just hit me to my core.”

She also has been part of a “Dance Empowerment Crew” that has participated in local charitable events such as “Let Her Sing,” “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” and the YWCA’s “Flowers on the River.”

But she did much of it flying under the radar, according to one of her friends.

“Lori doesn’t do any of this for the spotlight or an award,” said Maureene Riethmiller, the development coordinator at the Fort Wayne Center of Nonviolence, who helped present the award. “She has touched so many lives.”

After the award presentation, Rose continued to thank everyone there.

And then the music hit, and soon enough she was leading the group in a series of dance moves.

Just like a normal Monday night.