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Amy Jackson: Support Summit County’s safe houses

by Amy Jackson

“Today is my departure from the safe house and I wanted you to know that words fail to express just how grateful I am to you. It is with my deepest appreciation that I want to thank you for your efforts in providing me safety as well as shelter. You cannot imagine how much anxiety you have alleviated for me during this very difficult time in my life.”

-Domestic Violence Victim

Since 1979, Advocates for Victims of Assault, Inc., has been helping victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Summit County. In 1996, we opened our first safe house, which has consistently provided shelter for women and children seeking refuge from abuse, while also providing safe housing to men in local hotels. We are seeing high numbers so far in 2011 for shelter requests and stays. Through the month of March we sheltered 23 women and children for a total of 179 nights. The most dangerous time for a victim of domestic violence is when she or he attempts to leave or after she or he has left the relationship. Because of this, it is imperative that people in abusive relationships get help finding safety for themselves and their children. We are so fortunate in Summit County to have this resource, and for the month of April we are seeking the support of the community to help us continue to be able to support those affected by domestic violence.

Each of us can have a role in ending abuse. Please join the Advocates for Victims of Assault for our Safe Nights campaign. The Safe Nights campaign will allow members of the community to sponsor a family for a night of shelter. For $50, anyone can provide a safe night for a victim and their children in our local safe house. Because we believe that every night should be a Safe Night, the Advocates have joined with the Summit Daily News to create the Safe Nights Calendar. The Safe Nights Calendar is published in the newspaper every Tuesday. This is your opportunity to help us work toward making each night of the year a safe one. You can recognize a special date (anniversary, birthday or holiday) and/or a loved one. On the date you sponsor, the Safe Nights Calendar will publish your name or the gift recipient’s name. If you are giving the Safe Nights in someone else’s honor, a Safe Night card will be sent to them from the Advocates.

During the month of April, we are asking the community to contribute to our Safe Nights Blitz to help us raise a total of $5,000 to keep our Safe House as a vital resource to victims. We are looking for both individual and business donors. You can make a difference in the lives of families in crisis by sponsoring a Safe Night today. Call to reserve your Safe Nights by phone at (970) 389-0901 or contribute via our website at http://www.summitadvocates.org.

You may not see their faces or know their names, but because of your donation, a family may sleep peacefully for a night.

Amy Jackson is executive director of Advocates for Victims of Assault.


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