Ryan Chartrand

In a time when women’s shelters are having more funding difficulties than usual, a local tradition will come in useful.

The San Luis Obispo Women’s Shelter will host their 21st Annual Phyllis’ Musical Revue this weekend to serve the Women’s Shelter Program of San Luis Obispo.

The program serves the city of San Luis Obispo as well as the communities in the southern part of the county. The shelter offers a safe house, counseling, transitional housing, and other services for victims of domestic violence.

Although the shelter is the only resource of its kind in between Santa Maria and Paso Robles, it is suffering heavily from the slowing economy and budget cuts on both the state and federal level, said Beth Raub, a volunteer coordinator for the women’s shelter.

Funds from the revue will go into the shelter’s general fund which is used to fill any cracks left after government grants are depleted. Unfortunately, this year is shaping up to have a lot of cracks.

Last month, President Bush decided to cut the Violence Against Women Act Program budget – a large source of funding for women’s shelters – by one-third and completely eliminated the budget for the Victims of Crime Act.

The VOCA cut will be especially felt by the San Luis Obispo shelter and might lead to them ending their program for children of domestic violence, Raub said. The program offers free counseling and other services for children under 17 who have suffered from abuse in their households.

“Children are the truly innocent victims here,” Raub said. “We work with the kids to show them they have a choice and they don’t have to repeat the cycle of abuse.”

Revenues from the show will most likely be used to keep the childrens’ program alive.

Yet Cheri Humphrey, manager of the My Favorite Things Boutique at the Madonna Inn and an event coordinator, worries the slow economy might also affect attendance at the fundraiser that is expected to raise nearly $250,000.

However, Raub says it’s not all about the money.

“Domestic violence really impacts everyone and it impacts the community and it won’t stop unless the community stands and says ‘this is wrong,’” Raub said. “Going to the revue definitely helps make that point.”

The show will feature a fashion show, comedy skits, musical performances, dancing and an opening performance of “Stepping Out with My Baby” starring KSBY anchor Tony Cipolla.

“It’s more of a Las Vegas show,” Humphrey said. “We worked on the show year-round and it is a really great show.”

The show will also feature city council members and county supervisors, and this year the revue will include more technology, especially in the show’s surprise ending, Humphrey said.

“Our ending is going to be really incredible,” was all Humphrey would reveal; however, she did let it slip that the ending would not include pyrotechnics.

There will also be a silent auction, wine tasting and a steak dinner to give the audience more bang for their buck. The revue will show this week at the Alex Madonna Expo Building. Tickets range from $60 to $120.

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