Board of Directors
Dawn Center's Board of Directors consists of a dedicated group of community members, leaders, and partners who volunteer their time toward Dawn Center's vision of ending violence in our community. The board meets monthly to discuss the strategic direction of and provide oversight for the center as well as planning awareness and fundraising events. The board is instrumental in the work Dawn Center does for survivors of domestic and sexual violence in our community and their contributions are greatly appreciated.
As of July 1, 2021
President - Jenine Wimer- Hernando County Clerk of Court and Comptroller
Vice-President- Tina Hall- ESE Department Chair/Inclusion Teacher, Hernando County School District
Treasurer - Curt Cornell, Controller, Kearney Companies
Secretary - Elizabeth Jennings- Recovery Room Charge Nurse, Oak Hill Hospital (retired)
Karen Nicolai- Hernando County Clerk of Court (retired)
Brittney Oakland- Real Estate Agent, Re/max Advantage- Oakland Team
Virginia "Ginger" Korbus- Social Worker and Event Coordinator, Self-Employed
Anesta Boice- VP & Personal Trust Administrative Mgr, Capital City Trust Co.
Genie Toner J.D.- Marital, and Family Law Attorney, Toner Law Office
Chad Mathis- Senior Director- Corporate Facilities, Charter Communications
Amy Nixon RN, MSN, ONC - Director of Clinical Informatics - Oak Hill Hospital
Lt. John McMurdo- Hernando County Sheriff's Office
Chauntina Mays- Division Manager of Clinical Documentation Improvement - HCA Healthcare
Shannon Sokolowski, M.N.M., Dawn Center Executive Director
Dawn Center of Hernando County, previously known as “Hernando County Rape Crisis Spouse Abuse Center,” has been meeting needs of survivors of domestic and sexual violence in Hernando County since December 1986. Originally, the agency was a satellite office of Marion County Rape Crisis Spouse Abuse Center and although Hernando women and their children could receive counseling through the outreach offices based in Hernando County, to receive safe shelter women and children had to be transported to Marion County, a round trip distance of 110 miles. The primary focus of the agency was and continues to be the provision of quality services to victims of domestic and sexual violence and their children.
Before long it became apparent that the transportation of women and children out of county was not adequate to address the growing needs and numbers of women and children in crisis in Hernando County. Isolating women and children from extended-family members, friends, employment, familiar surroundings including school, and friends etc. was emotionally harmful.
By July of 1993, a group of concerned citizens spear-headed by then State Senator Ginny Brown-Waite launched a local campaign and raised $95,000 which allowed for the purchase of a large, four floor, single family home in Hernando County, to be brought up to fire code to house 24 women and children, and become Hernando County's only safe house for victims of domestic violence and their children. Dawn Center of Hernando County became an independent corporation in July 1993 and was determined to be a private, not for profit agency.
The first women and children to be offered safe shelter at the Dawn Center house was in the early Spring of 1994, giving the opportunity to provide counseling, support groups, children's programs, and life and parenting skills in a caring, supportive environment, while being able to give relevant, Hernando County referrals to assist women in their plans for housing, employment and education.
In 2004, Dawn Center received funds to build an addition onto the shelter of four additional bedrooms, two bathrooms and a family room. This addition allowed for the shelter of up to 40 women and children. Dawn Center was also able to enlarge the kitchen area and purchase new appliances. In 2005, Dawn Center received Capitol Improvement money through the Department of Children and Families to improve the security system with new cameras, privacy fencing, and security gates to provide better surveillance of the property thus enabling Dawn Center to provide a much safer and more secure environment for residents of the emergency shelter program.
The center has consistently grown resulting in Dawn Center staff providing services to more than 1,400 survivors of domestic and sexual violence annually. The center currently offers an array of intervention services such as hotline, emergency shelter, outreach services, and legal advocacy. The addition of primary prevention services is reaching out to the next generation to facilitate social change in hopes their generation will be free of family violence and sexual assault. Operating under our current mission statement, “To break the cycle of domestic and sexual violence by providing supportive services and leadership that promotes social change,” Dawn Center is ever working to achieve our vision of “A community free from violence and abuse.”