Dominic Ferry founded Quiet Cries on his 11th birthday. Jane Vaughan / Lakes Region Weekly

NAPLES — Fourteen-year-old Dominic Ferry is working to break the cycle of domestic violence and hopes the day will come when shelters for victims will no longer be needed.

Ferry, a freshman at Thornton Academy in Saco, founded his nonprofit, called Quiet Cries, on his 11th birthday. Shortly after, he and his grandfather, Don Ferry, began gathering blankets to donate to Safe Voices, an Auburn-based shelter that offers support services for victims of domestic violence.

He and his grandfather delivered 300 blankets to our door,” said Victoria Stanton, director of development and engagement at Safe Voices. “It was almost overwhelming.”

Domestic violence has been a big part of our family in how it affected us,” Ferry said about starting Quiet Cries. “I just wanted to do something.” 

“He’s been through a lot,” his grandfather said. “Helping others try to understand what’s happening to them is very, very important to him.”

Ferry runs a few fundraisers a year to raise money and items that Safe Voices needs, including diapers, blankets, toiletries and pajamas. In April, he donated over 500 pairs of pajamas.

“(But) the real goal,” Don Ferry said, “is to try to break the cycle of violence. We want to get rid of shelters so that we don’t need them anymore. That’s where the education piece comes in.”

To that end, the pair is working with Thornton Academy to create a curriculum about domestic violence.

Ferry poses with his little sister Grace in front of the family’s Christmas tree. Jane Vaughan / Lakes Region Weekly

“We want to try to work with the schools so younger people can pick up the life skills they need to understand what situation they’re in to be able to get out of it in time so they aren’t affected by domestic violence,” Ferry said. 

If the lesson plan is approved, it will be the first domestic violence curriculum to be implemented in the country, according to Don Ferry.

“I’m a pretty proud mom,” Dominic’s mother, Kimberly, said. “He just kind of sparks this hope in other people, this incentive.”

We’ve been benefiting from Dominic’s work,” Stanton said. “We’re very proud of him and his leadership and the fact that we have a young man in our community who is willing to step forward and be a voice for those who are experiencing real hardship.”

Ferry stays busy with football and earns straight As, his mother said. He also recently received the Youth Leaders Award from Maine law firm Berman & Simmons, including a $500 educational award and a $250 sponsorship award for his organization.

Ferry hopes other people will take on similar work, saying, “If I can do it, then I’m sure anyone else can do it. If you can think about someone else that you know, then you would understand that someone else definitely needs something before you do.” 

Ferry has many ideas about how Quiet Cries can raise awareness about domestic violence, including a 5K, and said he will continue to run the organization in the future. Eventually, he would like to get a job in sports and use his connections to bring attention to his cause.

I pray that he carries it on through college and the rest of his life,” Don Ferry said. “Maybe within his generation, we can say we really don’t need shelters anymore.”

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