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Redskins Wives Take On Domestic Violence


Inspired by a heartfelt presentation from anchor Robin Roberts, several Redskins wives on Monday took part in a community event preparing care packages for domestic violence victims.

"Optimism is a muscle that gets stronger with use."

The Redskins' Tanya Snyder, Kiersten Allen, Sherry Gruden, Jaymie Schaffer & Jessica McCloughan took part in an NFL Spouse community program in Phoenix to assist women in need during times of domestic issues.

That was the main message parlayed Monday by Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts, who inspired dozens of NFL spouses at the league's annual meetings at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix.

Roberts — a breast cancer survivor who has also undergone a successful bone marrow transplant — left an impression on every single woman in the room, particularly Tanya Snyder, a breast cancer survivor who found herself taking notes throughout the entire presentation.

By the time Roberts was done speaking Monday, Snyder said there "wasn't a dry eye in the house."

"I think, having an experience in cancer myself and having an opportunity to make a difference, to see somebody like Robin make the most of her platform, it's inspirational," said Snyder, the wife of Redskins owner Dan Snyder. "And I think it helps all the women in the room, who have had the same opportunity, it helps them to understand her perspective all the way around — and from a female's perspective, too."

Tanya Snyder was joined at the event Monday by Kiersten Allen (wife of Redskins team President Bruce Allen), Sherry Gruden (wife of head coach Jay Gruden), Jaymie Schaffer (wife of VP of Football Administration Eric Schaffer) and general manager Scot McCloughan's fiancé, Jessica.

All five women left Monday's event with added perspective about toughness, compassion and strength.

"I believe in optimism, and I believe in having her talk to us, and I think she inspired every single person in that room," Snyder said. "And that's what she does on a daily basis — with humor, with grace and she's in fantastic shape."

Sherry Gruden also noted Roberts "positive, optimistic" approach, saying she was inspired by the former SportsCenter anchor's willingness to go through her private battles in the public eye.

"She put it out in the media as a role model, and all the women just in our room in general could relate by somebody in their family that she touched or encouraged," Gruden said. "It was incredible."

Snyder said she has a notebook filled with "endless messages" from Roberts.

"I left inspired today; I left with a large lump in my throat, having a cancer experience and being very thankful," she said. "But to see the difference and to hear the stories of the lives she's impacted — it was just terrific."

Taking on domestic violence
With Roberts' message top of mind, the NFL Spouses next took part in a community event aimed at assisting those directly affected by domestic violence.

It's been a hot-button issue in the league of late, and each Redskins spouse participating on Monday put in a good day's work under the hot Arizona sun to try to put a dent in the problem.

"First and foremost, all of this affects all of the women that are here, which rolls into us as role models for our families, and then for our teams and our communities," Snyder said of domestic violence. "So we are here because we're inspired and we certainly want to do everything we can to give back and to make a difference."

With tables lining the lawn at the Biltmore Gardens, the NFL Spouses put together care packages with various supplies in purple and pink Nike duffle bags.

"We're working to help some folks that are in abusive relationships and have to flee," Gruden explained. "Basically, we're putting together care packages to help get them to get started and get back on their feet when they have to physically pick up their kids and get out."

Also on hand Monday was Allie Bones of the Arizona Coalition To End Sexual And Domestic Violence, who said their expanding partnership with the league and its clubs has been key to reaching all kinds of demographics.

"Opportunities like this can be replicated in cities across the country," Bones told the group. "And we know that you all have such an amazing platform and opportunity to do such great work."

The Redskins — with their Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation and Women Of Washington Redskins (WOW!) club — have been leading the way in addressing and funding various female endeavors for years.

Snyder said Monday she was proud to be part of an organization like the Redskins that has been — and continues to be — a champion for all kinds of women's issues.

"We have such a great presence within all of the women in our organization," Snyder said. "To have organizations that are professional that make a difference with such a very serious topic is very important. I'm proud to be here, proud to be here with all the compadres within the NFL. It's a very special day."

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