March 2016 Newsletter

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In This Issue

What Are You Willing To Do To Stop Child Sexual Abuse?
We Are There for Victims of Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence
Substance Abuse Task Force Training Conference
Pro Bono Week Legal Assistance
Gala Raises Over $324,000 for Victims of Abuse
Many Successes During Season of Giving
Taste That Jazz
Upcoming 2016 Fundraising Events

What Are You Willing To Do To Stop Child Sexual Abuse?

In a survey of 17,000 adults, more than 2 in 5 said they had been sexually abused by someone before they graduated High School. The perpetrators were sometimes members of their family, or sometimes an adult or much older child from the community. But almost always someone they, and their families, knew. Most never told and had been living with it much of their lives.

These statistics are sobering, and can make us feel powerless. But in order to fight this threat to children, we need to feel the opposite. We need to be empowered.


Enough Abuse Facilitator Training

For years, adults thought that programs like “Good Touch, Bad Touch”- teaching kids about body-safety, were all we needed to do to keep children safe from sexual abuse. But the research, and our experience, shows us something quite different. Asking a child to be on the look-out for potentially dangerous adults, and then expecting that child to tell if anything abusive happens to them, is unrealistic. Remember, the perpetrators are usually people they know and trust, often adults they depend on. Kids aren’t able to “Just Say No” to sexual abuse, it’s not up to them.

So the responsibility of keeping children safe from sexual abuse must fall firmly on the shoulders of adults. It is an adult’s job to create safer environments where children can learn, play and grow; and an adult’s job to spot potential dangers that could indicate someone may pose a risk to the safety of a child. But how do we know what to look for? Would you know the warning signs of a child who is being sexually abused? Or of an adult that wanted to harm a child?

This is where the Enough Abuse program comes in. This past year, Nassau County was chosen as one of five counties statewide to pilot an exciting new program to combat childhood sexual abuse called “Enough Abuse Nassau”. The program is evidence-based, and is designed to teach adults how to better protect kids from sexual abuse, and energize them to create a safer community where the threat of sexual abuse no longer exists.

The program is simple. In December of last year, we trained 40 volunteer facilitators to be official presenters of the Enough Abuse curriculum. Their job will be to go to PTAs, places of worship, business lunch and learns, community centers and human service agencies, and train adults in how to recognize warning signs of child abuse, and challenge them to make changes in their homes, neighborhoods and schools that will keep kids safe from sexual abuse. The trainings are free, last only one or two hours depending on the group, and are a powerful way to mobilize our county to take a stand for children.

What can you do to protect kids from sexual abuse? As it turns out, a lot. You can start by booking an Enough Abuse training for your group or organization. Recently, Bethpage Federal Credit Union has pledged to offer the program to all of its employees, and other businesses and organizations are planning to follow suit. If you’d like to join with other Nassau residents who are working to stop child sexual abuse, contact Heather Gilmartin at The Safe Center to book an Enough Abuse training for your group today: hgilmartin@tscli.org

Anthony Zenkus, Director of Education

We Are There for Victims of Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence
Rape, sexual assault and domestic violence are traumatizing and physically brutal experiences for which many victims need emergency hospital services. To help at this critical time, when victims are feeling hurt, confused and alone, The Safe Center sends an Advocate to the emergency room to comfort the victim, someone warm and sincere who has been trained to offer support and crisis intervention.

The Advocate, known as the SAFER Advocate, is a volunteer that has been trained to work under these crisis circumstances in the hospital. The Advocate will stay by the victim’s side as the victim makes difficult decisions. The Advocate will hold hands and provide tissues for tears, as the victim goes through the process of medical examinations and police interviews. The Advocate will connect the victim to services at The Safe Center and other agencies as needed.

The SAFER Program – Survivors’ Advocate for Emergency Response- provides volunteers to all the Nassau County Hospitals for victims of rape, sexual assault, dating and domestic violence. Advocates are dispatched as soon as a request is made, and are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Victims often express their relief at having an advocate at their side. One woman said “I don’t know what I would have done without the advocate.  I didn’t understand anything that was going on but it was so reassuring to see the advocate was there for me”.

The experience can be rewarding for the advocate as well. One of our tireless volunteers stated “Training to become a SAFER advocate gave me knowledge. Showing up at the hospitals and listening to the victims provided me with wisdom. Experience has taught me to be more present in the moment, less reactive, and in return I have acquired more wisdom.”

If you are interested in finding out about how to become a SAFER Advocate, email Diane Harvey at dharvey@tscli.org

Janine Sadowski, Director of Rape & Sexual Assault Services

Substance Abuse Task Force Training Conference

On November 20, 2015, the Substance Abuse Task Force at The Safe Center hosted an all-day conference entitled “Implications of Treating Trauma in Substance Use Disorders”. It was held at the Morrelly Homeland Security Center in Bethpage NY. The conference was well attended by providers from public and private substance abuse treatment agencies, community based organizations, private therapists, and professionals throughout Long Island.

Detective Pam Stark, Heather Harten, Lauren Laurore, Bonnie Owens- presenter, Anthony Zenkus- presenter, Alberta Rubin, Virginia Kornfield, Jennine Hill- Chairperson of the Task Force, Paula Pontrelli, Mary Silberstein, Anthony Rizzuto

Detective Pam Stark, Heather Harten, Lauren Laurore, Bonnie Owens- presenter, Anthony Zenkus- presenter, Alberta Rubin, Virginia Kornfield, Jennine Hill- Chairperson of the Task Force, Paula Pontrelli, Mary Silberstein, Anthony Rizzuto

The presenter for the morning portion of the conference was Director of Education- Anthony Zenkus, who discussed the neurobiology of trauma, and how trauma and stress increases risk of addictive and mental health disorders. Our afternoon presenter was Bonnie Owens from Seafield, who presented on psychobiology of trauma; brain-body centered counseling techniques, and the neuroscience of exercise for trauma and substance abuse recovery.

With the support of the Nassau County Department of Mental Health, Chemical Dependency, and Developmental Disabilities, the Mental Health Association of Nassau, and Seafield Center, we were able to provide six (6) social work continuing education unit credits (CEUs) and certified alcohol and substance abuse counseling (CASAC) credits to those who attended.

About The Task Force
The Substance Abuse Task Force at The Safe Center is made up of members from The Safe Center, Nassau County Child Protective Services (CPS), Nassau County Department of Mental Health, Chemical Dependency, & Developmental Disabilities, Long Island Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence (LICADD), NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), Nassau County Police Department, and several Nassau County OASAS Licensed Substance Use Disorder Treatment Programs as well as other community based agencies who work with substance abusing families and children at risk. Our mission is to identify & eliminate gaps and barriers to services for children in substance abusing families.

Jennine Hill, Substance Abuse Case Coordinator

Pro Bono Week was a Huge Success

On October 29, 2015, The Safe Center, The Nassau County Bar Association, and Law Services’ Volunteer Lawyers Project participated in providing free legal assistance to Nassau County residents during Pro Bono Week. The event was attended by almost 200 residents who were able to consult with volunteer attorneys and get free legal information on any subject. Another free legal information day is scheduled for Wednesday, May 18th from 3-5 pm or 5-7 pm at the Nassau County Bar Association.

Every Home a Safe Home Gala Raises Over $324,000 for Victims of Abuse

On October 28th, guests gathered at The Garden City Hotel to celebrate the accomplishments and bright future of The Safe Center. This year’s Every Home A Safe Home Gala featured a survivor, Josephine, who shared her amazing story of strength and resilience, as well as award presentations to the 2015 Honoree, Monte N. Redman of Astoria Bank, and the David S. Taub Award Recipient, Nassau County Bar Association and its We Care Advisory Board. It was certainly an evening full of inspiration and hope, which raised over $324,000 due to the generous support of all involved!

Highlights of the event included music by Long Island’s popular The Mystic band; Floral Centerpiece Contest won by Flowers by Carole of Westbury and Black Dahlia of Melville; Pumpkin Martinis; and a featured article in the November 30th Edition of Newsday’s Style Section: What They’re Wearing.

Members of LI Elite: The 2015 Charity Partner of the Year

Members of LI Elite: The 2015 Charity Partner of the Yea

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all our sponsors, especially our Presenting Sponsor, Astoria Bank and our 2015 Charity Partner, Long Island Elite. We could not forget our gracious in-kind donors, raffle and auction donors, and our incredible staff and volunteers.
Thank you to all of those who supported and attended this year’s Gala. Because of you, it was truly a success. We hope to see everyone at next year’s Gala! Mark your calendar for Thursday, October 13, 2016 at Garden City Hotel.

For more information about this event or to view photos, please visit our gala website tscligala.org.

Many Successes During Season of Giving

Our heartfelt appreciation goes out to each one of you who supported us during our Season of Giving Campaign. Whether you donated to the Nassau County Women’s Bar Association Mitten Drive; purchased gift cards for one of our client families; shopped during Champions for Charity, found something you loved at Fortunoff Fine Jewelry, or made a donation on Giving Tuesday, your generosity is making a difference in someone’s life. Collectively The safe center received over $35,000 in donor support.

Taste That Jazz


April 4, 2016
6:30 -8:30 pm
The Carltun in Eisenhower Park

Purchase Tickets.
Visit tsclitaste.org.

Tasting Event featuring Jazz Vocal and Instrumental Ensembles from LI High Schools and Colleges


Mark Your Calendar for Upcoming 2016 Fundraising Events


Monday, June 6th, 2016
Wheatley Hills Golf Club
10 am – 8 pm
Contact Jamie Cutinella at jcutinella@tscli.org

Fashion Event with OGO New York

Thursday Evening, July 14th
Westbury Manor
6:00 – 9:00 pm
Contact Fmedaglia@tscli.org for more information.

2016 Annual Gala
Thursday, October 13th, 2016
Garden City Hotel
Garden City, NY
6 – 10 pm

(PDF version of the newsletter)

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