We are very excited to announce the 2012 Breaking the Silence Zonta Awards winners:

Liza’s Lifeline Person of the Year – Alyssa Rheingold, Ph.D., National Crime Victim’s Research and Treatment Center at MUSC

Best Professional – Latasha Rivers, National Crime Victims Treatment and Research Center at MUSC

Best Advocate – Sue Warren, Mount Pleasant Police Department

Best Volunteer – Abby Himmelein, My Sister’s House

Winners were awarded at the 3rd Annual Breaking the Silence Awards Gala on Saturday, January 26, 2013 at the Harbour Club located in downtown Charleston. The event’s key note speaker was Attorney General Alan Wilson. Warren Peper joined us as our Emcee.

The event is annually hosted by the Zonta Club of Charleston and Liza’s Lifeline of South Carolina and benefits victims of domestic violence. Nominations for the 4th Annual Breaking the Silence Awards are accepted in the following categories: Best Volunteer, Best Advocate and Best Professional. Liza’s Lifeline Person of the Year for lifelong achievement will be selected by the board of Liza’s Lifeline and announced at the event. Please email your nominations to info@zontaofcharleston.com.

Past recipients include: Mayor R. Keith Summey, Ellen Steinberg, Scott Beard, Dr. Jennifer Pullano, Kristen Hankla, Verizon Wireless Charleston Call Center, Easter LaRoche, Elmire Raven and Sarah Finkelstein.

Domestic violence is the issue number one in our state. Many risk their lives by answering domestic disturbance calls, others fight their battle in the court rooms. For most parts, these individuals are not recognized for their tireless work and we want to rectify that.

Thank you to our 2013 sponsors:

Table Sponsors:

The City of North Charleston


Liza’s Lifeline of South Carolina

The Nuttall family

Ellen S. Steinberg, Assistant Solicitor, and Robert Steinberg, MD

Charleston County Sheriff’s Office

Program Sponsors:

SC Federal Credit Union

Cruise Planners

Physicians Plan

The Harbour Club

Horizon Landscape Management Service

Wine Sponsors:

Wes Cherry

Towne Centre Tobacco & Wine

Horizon Landscape Management Service donated two gala tickets to advocates.

Music provided by Richard Show, Flutist with Music Masters.

Thank you to the Harbour Club for the ongoing support of our club and event!


Introducing the 2013 Breaking the Silence Awards winners:

Liza’s Lifeline Person of the Year

Alyssa Ann Rheingold, Ph.D.

Dr. Alyssa Ann Rheingold has devoted over 12 years providing direct services, conducting research, advocacy, and teaching in the area of victimization. She is a licensed clinical psychologist and Associate Professor at the National Crime Victim’s Research and Treatment Center (NCVC) within the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina. She is the Director of Clinical Operations at the NCVC where she oversees the outpatient mental health care of victims of crime including domestic violence who are seeking evidence based trauma-focused treatment.

Dr. Rheingold completed her undergraduate coursework in 1996 at the University of Pennsylvania, graduating Cum Laude and with Honors in Psychology. She earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from MCP Hahnemann University (currently known as Drexel University). Dr. Rheingold completed a Pre-Doctoral Internship in Clinical Psychology at the Charleston Consortium Psychology Internship Program and a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the NCVC, Medical University of South Carolina.

Her overall research interest includes better understanding the impact of victimization and trauma and to evaluate prevention and intervention strategies. She has published 39 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters as well as provided over 60 presentations at regional and national conferences.

Dr. Rheingold has received numerous federal funds for service and research oriented projects from agencies such as OVC, CDC, VOCA, VAWA, NIMH, and SAMHSA. Her efforts have resulted in the improvement of resources for survivors of homicide, Hispanic interpersonal violence victims, and other victims of crime throughout the Lowcountry. Dr. Rheingold teaches and supervises psychiatry residents, postdoctoral fellows, psychology interns, medical students, and undergraduate interns. She continues to see patients and work with victims of crime.

This past year Dr. Rheingold was selected to attend the AAMC Women’s Mid-Career Professional Leadership Seminar and won the MUSC Foundation Outstanding Clinician award. DOJ’s Office for Victims of Crime Update recently featured her work on outreach services for survivors of homicide. Dr. Rheingold lives in Mount Pleasant with her husband, Ben, and two daughters, Saffron and Zoe. She enjoys modern and tap dance and is part of a local performing tap company.

Best Advocate

Sue Warren

Ms. Warren graduated from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelors Degree in Psychology and earned her Master’s Degree in Counseling from Webster University, and is now a Licensed Professional Counselor.

It was Ms. Warren’s experience working as an elementary teacher, in inner city schools that motivated her to change professions in order to reach out to families plagued by domestic violence.

Her first job in the field of family violence was as an advocate with My Sister’s House.  It was this experience working with women and children that affirmed that she had made the right decision in changing careers.  Ms. Warren is truly passionate about helping those women and children who desperately need a voice that is loud and clear to speak out for them.  She may be mild mannered, but her voice is heard.

Sue Warren has been employed with Mount Pleasant Police Department for the past 15 years as a Victim Advocate.  She was the 1998 Civilian Employee of the Year and she received the award again in 2011.  People Against Rape awarded her the Dr. Sid Katz Award for Outstanding Service Provider in 2010.  Sue established the Domestic Violence Support Group in 1998 which provides a confidential forum where victims of domestic violence and sexual assault can feel safe talking about their trauma with other women who understand what they are going through.

Sue is married to Pat Warren and they reside in Mount Pleasant, SC.

Best Professional

Latasha Rivers

Latasha Rene Rivers is a native of Greenville, SC. She earned her B.A. from Davidson College and later graduated from the University of South Carolina with a Masters Degree in Social Work. She is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and has worked primarily within the Latino community. Mrs. Rivers began studying Spanish at a young age and quickly developed a love for the language and culture – a love that she knew was God-ordained and meant for the good of others.

During her graduate studies she worked as an interpreter for the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SC DHEC) and the Department of Social Services (DSS) through the HABLA Project. Following her graduate studies, she became an Addictions Counselor with Greenville’s Phoenix Center, where she worked until moving to Charleston in 2004. At that time she was hired by the Charleston Center addictions team as a Latino Program Specialist, providing counseling and outreach services to the Hispanic community of Charleston County. In this role she developed an addictions education curriculum for incarcerated Hispanics and piloted the region’s first Spanish-language community addictions support group. As a result of her work she was recognized as Charleston County Employee of the Year in 2006.

In 2008, Mrs. Rivers became the Outreach Program Manager at the National Crime Victims Treatment and Research Center of the Medical University of South Carolina. She currently is the Program Manager for a VAWA-funded (Violence Against Women’s Act) grant providing community-based evidence-supported psychological treatment for Hispanic women who have been victimized by physical, sexual, and/ or emotional violence. In this role, Mrs. Rivers has partnered closely with community agencies to better serve victims of domestic violence. She also promotes Latino community education through her participation in health partnerships as well as research endeavors within the Medical University of South Carolina. In 2011, Mrs. Rivers won the Robert Magwood, Jr. Outstanding Service Award for Crime Victims.

Mrs. Rivers has developed and conducted trainings for medical health professionals in the areas of domestic violence, Latino health issues, women’s issues, cultural competence, addiction and anger management. She also supervises social workers seeking to become licensed clinical practitioners.

Mrs. Rivers is married to George Alvin Rivers, a U.S. Army veteran and aspiring minister. She enjoys playing the piano and volunteers as a pianist at MUSC. She is active in her local church and firmly believes that Christ is the driving force of her life and work.

Best Volunteer

Abby Himmelein

Volunteering has been a part of Abby Himmelein’s life for over fifty years. She learned very quickly that you may not be able to save the world, but you can definitely improve a life. Her personal experiences, values and attitudes that she had acquired from women that crossed her path over the years shaped her desire to assist women and children who have been the victims of domestic abuse and neglect.

As an undergraduate at UCLA, Ms. Himmelein worked as a volunteer in child literacy projects. After a family move to central Minnesota, she worked to educate women about family planning issues in a community where the average family had six or more children. She organized numerous programs of medical professionals from outside the area, who educated rural farm women about birth control. Those efforts led to the establishment of a free women’s clinic in a city where physicians did not dispense birth control to women.

Abuse against women in this community was commonplace and their plight awakened her to the myriad of ways in which women were denigrated and abused. During this period, she was appointed by the Governor of Minnesota as a member of the State’s Wage and Price Board for Health Care where she learned about healthcare in rural areas.

Upon receiving her MBA from the University of Notre Dame in 1979, Ms. Himmelein moved to New York City and worked as a consultant to non-profits in the areas of housing and education. In 1984, she started a nutrition center located in Indianapolis, followed by two more centers in central Indiana. She was elected President of the National Nutritional Foods Association – Midwest Region. During this period she was also a ten year volunteer docent with the Indianapolis Museum of Art, introducing art to Indiana high school students.

In 2005, she sold two of her businesses and “semi-retired” to the Lowcountry.  Soon she became involved with My Sister’s House as a Crisis-line counselor, Family Court Advocate and fund raiser. Working at the shelter and in court, she came to recognize that domestic abuse is a multi-generational issue; this led her to become a Volunteer Guardian Ad Litem for the tri-county area.

Ms. Himmelein takes a great personal satisfaction in knowing that she is able to help others make a positive change in their lives with the support of My Sister’s House. Her belief in the work of My Sister’s House has led to organizing several successful fundraising events.

Ms. Himmelein and her husband, Fred, are Teach for America sponsors and mentors working within the Promise Neighborhoods project. She also volunteers as a researcher for the Charleston Area Justice Ministry. She and Fred have two happily-married sons and two granddaughters. She loves to travel, read and cook.


Featured Video Presentation from the 2011 event: