Tribute to the Founder

Gina_tribute

Aaliyah Gina Gavaris
March 16, 1971 – November 13, 2009

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal;
Love leaves a memory no one can steal
– Irish Tombstone

Aaliyah Gina Gavaris was the founder of Unified Solutions Tribal Community Development Group, Inc. She began her work in counseling where she worked at the Pascua Yaqui Tribe. She established numerous programs, including the tribal victim compensation program, tribal batterer re-education program, the Yoeme Traditional Arts Program, as well as directing the Walking in Balance Family Violence Intervention Program. She assisted in drafting and introducing new legislation for the Pascua Yaqui Victim Rights Ordinance, the Sex Offender Notification Law, the Collaborative Community Response Protocol and helped broaden definitions of domestic abuse and sexual assault for the Tribal Code.

Gina wanted to do more for crime victims in tribal communities. In 2002, she took a great leap of faith by leaving the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, and formed what is known today as Unified Solutions Tribal Community Development Group, Inc. Within a very few months she had drafted a grant proposal to provide training and technical assistance to Tribal Victim Assistance (TVA) service providers and was awarded funding to do so. In 2006, Unified Solutions was additionally awarded the Counseling and Faith-Based (FB) Services for Crime Victims in Indian Country T&TA Grant. Both of these initiatives have been renewed and refunded consistently since 2003 and 2006. In 2009, Unified Solutions was additionally awarded the T&TA grant for the Children Justice Act (CJA) Partnership for Indian Grant. Gina had a vision and dream that came to fruition and touched many lives in many ways as she carried Unified Solutions to new heights and greater goals. She had a passion for Indian Country and a huge heart for all the grantees that she worked with over the years.

During her career, Gina sat on many boards and commissions, both in Arizona and nationally, assuring that quality services, the best possible training, and the most professional and knowledgeable trainings were a part of the fledgling initiation for crime victims in Indian Country.  Gina was also the author of “A Cross-Cultural Introduction to Working with Native Americans who are Victims of Crime”. She loved to laugh and enjoyed creating unique learning opportunities at her annual conferences and trainings and was always seeking ways to challenge her staff and consultants to provide unique, timely, practical and informative trainings.  Her work will continue as the staff of Unified Solutions continues to carry forward Gina’s legacy.