2013: A Year of Success Through Collaboration

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2013: A Year of Success Through Collaboration

2013: A Year of Success Through Collaboration

By: Michelle Toledo Cainas and Alyse Lopez-Salm

 

As this year comes to a close, GLADV, a program of Ser Familia would like to thank all the amazing supporters that haves stood with us through 2013. Our work would be impossible without the help of the community, así que, “¡GRACIAS!”
This year we have been blessed with several new partnerships, two outstanding advisory council members, and expand our pool of volunteers who were willing to advocate for the 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men who have experienced domestic violence in their lifetime.
The decision to stand with survivors can take many forms. Often, those with access to resources that are critical for sustaining the services we and our partners provide are unaware of the impact they can make. For instance, our Program Director was able to secure several donations of pet food for one of our community partners due to the generosity of her neighbor who works at a pet store.. When he approached her to ask if she knew of anywhere that he might be able to donate animal supplies immediately thought of her community colleagues at Ahimsa House. Ahimsa House is a wonderful organization that provides a safe haven to the animal friends of survivors of abuse as they rebuild their lives. This organization depends largely on donations and volunteers to carry out their mission To date, over $500.00 in pet food has been donated as a result of this connection. When another neighbor learned about the great work that Ahimsa House does, she donated her unused dog crate, demonstrating  the ways in which one person’s generosity can literally be contagious.
GLADV takes pride in assisting families through the year, but during the holidays, we are always touched by the outpouring of support and donations we receive from the community. This year, GLADV is once again preparing food baskets for Caminar Latino’s support group, a local Latino-serving agency’s for domestic violence survivors. Not only did GLADV, a program of Ser Familia, receive donations from a local publication agency, a high school, and several stores, but our Program Director received many donations from her own family. This served as a catalyst for family members to ask questions about GLADV’s advocacy work and the ways in which domestic violence affects individuals and the community.
These examples illustrate how collaboration can both support the services programs provide while also educating the community in order to increase knowledge about domestic violence. As advocates, we know that domestic violence impacts many different individuals and has repercussions for every level of society.  Unfortunately, the perception is often that this issue should be dealt with privately. Further, peoples’ definition of domestic violence is often limited to physical violence, which is simply not accurate.  As advocates, we know that domestic violence is about power and control, and that this can take the form of physical, psychological, sexual, and even financial abuse. Domestic violence is not an individuals’ problem- the violence of those who choose to abuse their partners impacts children, families and friends in addition to the stress and fear it causes survivors. Next time you doubt the impact you can have on making a difference in the lives of those who experience domestic violence, Google your local domestic violence program and simply ask advocates what it is that you can do to help.  Often , making an impact on people’s lives is easier than you think and the ripples of your generosity have the potential to awaken others to the need to give. 
“No kind action ever stops with itself. One kind action leads to another. Good example is followed. A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.” – Amelia Earhart
From GLADV to you- Thank you for your continued support!
This work would not be possible without your generosity!
¡Mil gracias y felices fiestas!
Georgia Latin@s Against Domestic Violence (GLADV), a program of Ser Familia
Michelle Toledo-Caiñas
Michelle Toledo-Caiñas was born in San Juan, PR and has been living in the mainland since 1989. Michelle earned her bachelors of science degree in criminal justice from Florida Metropolitan University; her Master's in Forensic Psychology from Argosy University; and has currently been accepted at Capella University to pursuit her PhD in Public Safety Leadership in Criminal Justice. She originally formed the program as a task force with the support of her previous employee, Partnership Against Domestic Violence, in order to establish a better network of advocates who work with the Latin community. With time the task force also became a place for educational opportunity and a collaborative opportunity in the community. In the Summer of 2012, GLADV joined Ser Familia as one of their programs to keep serving the community. Although, Michelle herself is not a survivor of domestic violence, she strongly believes everyone deserves to have a healthy relationship with their family and intimate partner. Therefore education and awareness are imperative to her and bringing it to the community. She has over 100 hours combined of presentations and training in the subject matter of domestic violence. Michelle's invaluable experience also made her great addition to the advisory board of Encuentro Latino in 2010 – 2012. She has also testified in court as an expert witness in a domestic violence case and has had good success in planning and executing conferences and events.

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