WomenShelter of Long Beach is well known for helping victims of domestic violence escape dangerous situations and deal with the trauma they have experienced.
These victims are the beneficiaries of readers’ generosity for the annual holiday through their donations to the Grunion gift card drive, which is currently underway. Over the past 17 years, the campaign has raised over a quarter of a million dollars to make Christmas a little brighter and help in other ways.
And the Press-Telegram – after first teaming up last year with the Grunion, its sister newspaper – is once again helping to raise awareness of the gift card campaign in 2022.
But WomenShelter professionals are also working to break this cycle of domestic violence that often starts early, when young people experience it themselves or see it in their homes. That’s the reason for the strong outreach department, according to Kathy McCarrell, executive director of the nonprofit agency.
“WSLB children, youth and outreach advocates share vital, life-changing information about dating abuse and safe relationships through presentations and the agency’s Building Healthy Relationships (BHR) program “McCarrell said in an email. “We are going to middle schools, high schools and colleges in Long Beach, reaching over 2,000 young people with this important message.”
In the Building Healthy Relationships program, presentations are age-appropriate, with appropriate materials and activities. While middle schoolers may talk about bullying or understand that violence at home isn’t their fault, high school and college presentations focus more on student relationships, right down to date rape. .
“A national study found that nearly half of young people who receive prevention education said they used the information to help themselves or a friend as a direct result of what they learned,” McCarrell said. “Additionally, an overwhelming 88% of children in this study were significantly more likely to discuss their romantic relationships with their parents and to disclose any potentially harmful dating violence and abuse.”
In February, during National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, WomenShelter will host its sixth annual Youth Conference – a day-long event focused on preventing and recognizing potentially dangerous situations. Past conferences have attracted over 200 young people and teenagers each year.
“How many of us would have made different decisions in life,” McCarrell said, “if we had learned about healthy relationships at age 12, 13, or 14?”
While this work continues, there are still too many victims of domestic violence in the WomenShelter system who need help.
Last year, Grunion gift card collection broke a record raising $31,000. This includes both gift cards and cash donations. These cards and money went directly to the women and families served by WomenShelter.
“We would certainly like to break that record this year,” Grunion Gazette editor Simon Grieve said in a statement. “Not because we care about records, but because it would mean more women and families could be helped.”
To participate, it’s simple:
Just go to your favorite store — Target and WalMart are the most versatile, but any retailer or grocery store is great — and buy some gift cards. Then drop them off by mail at Grunion’s new office, “Gazette Newspapers Gift Card Drive, Attn: Harry Saltzgaver, 5150 E. Pacific Coast Highway, Suite 200, Long Beach, CA 90804.”
If it’s easier and preferable for tax purposes, write a check payable to WomenShelter of Long Beach, put “Gift Card Drive” on the memo line, and send it to the same address. If you’re an online donor type, we’ll take care of that too. Donations can be made online at womenshelterlb.org/grunion.
However you donate, be sure to include your name and address. That’s because you have a chance to win tickets to the Aquarium of the Pacific when you participate.
The first 20 people to donate $100 or more in gift cards or cash will receive a pair of aquarium tickets. Or donate $50 or more and you’ll be entered into a draw to win 1 of 10 pairs of tickets.
Questions? Send an e-mail to [email protected] You will get an answer right away.