Thursday, September 18, 2008

A word from our Executive Director

"For all that has been, I say thanks! For all that is yet to be, I say Yes!"

This "say yes" attitude was really prompted by the positive energy generated by the Vagina Monologues -even though the above quote by Dag Hammerskjold is an old favorite of mine. Our work can be challenging, frustrating and at times down right scary. But more often it is inspiring because of the incredible courage, wisdom, humor and resilience of the survivors with which we work. It is not unlike the stories Eve Ensler captures in the Vagina Monologues!

Dag Hammerskjold, former UN General Secretary was also committed to ending violence. While his sphere of influence was international and ours is local, domestic and within the context of intimate relationships, we share some common assumptions. One of which is that peacemaking is a necessary deterrent to violence and that it begins and ends with the inner journeys of each individual. As we at Clarina continue to do our work to eliminate sexual and domestic violence, my hope is that we will take the time to recognize each of our own violent tendencies and begin to root them out. That as we begin to root out our tendencies toward violence of tongue, heart and fist, we are better able to do the same within Lamoille County. Perhaps a commitment for Domestic Violence Awareness Month could be a commitment to nonviolence in the manner of Gandhi, King, and so many others.

New Staff Member

Hello! My name is Marina and I am the Child Advocate here at CHNC. I started here at the end of July, and so far everything is going well. My main focus is working (and playing!) with kids in shelter and being a support person for them while also assessing any needs they may have that aren't being met. I also work with moms by supporting them in getting what they need as parents and creating a space in which they can reclaim their parenting. Another facet of my position is working with youth in the community. With the school year starting up, I have a few different programs going on. I will be doing a healthy relationships / diversity curriculum at Johnson Elementary School starting in October, with the support of their awesome guidance counselor. I'm also lined up to do a few dating violence and sexual harassment presentations in area schools. Through the after school program Unbound at People's Academy, I am facilitating two girls' groups that are safe discussion-based spaces, also incorporating esteem building activities and some cool inspiring women visitors. I am on the road to being a facilitator for Project Safe Choices, which is a group for young men between the ages of 12 and 17 that have exhibited any violent, abusive and/or controlling behaviors. Really getting to the root of the problem! Another goal I have is to work with young women in our community to find ways to make our services more accessible and appealing to their age group. Thinking maybe having a presence at area highschools... like office hours or something. And maybe eventually starting a support group for teens who have experienced dating violence or domestic violence. So that's it for now. This work is awesome and important and I am grateful to all my wonderful colleagues in this field.