From NYC to Niagara: Biking to End Gender-Based Violence

5 bikers. 5 days. 520 miles to raise awareness about gender violence and funds for Sanctuary!

5 bikers. 5 days. 520 miles.

On Wednesday, August 29th, a group of Sanctuary supporters set off from Central Park in the pre-dawn hours for a bike ride they’ve been planning and training for over many months. Over the course of five days, this amazing team will bike more than 500 miles from New York City to Niagara Falls, raising both money for Sanctuary and awareness about gender-based violence along the way.

Meet the Riders

Nelson first became familiar with Sanctuary in 2016 when his wife, Ashley, began volunteering with our Volunteer Program. Even after Ashley completed her volunteer gig, Nelson remained impressed with Sanctuary’s wrap-around services and committed staff, and was determined to find ways to raise money through a bike ride. Last spring, he applied for and received an employee grant for Sanctuary through his company, jet.com. Subsequently, he and Ashley began a series of planning expeditions for this ambitious multi-day ride. Supported only by their fantastic volunteer spirit, the took multiple vacation days and weeks from their busy jobs for trips upstate to plan routes, rest stops, motels, and every last detail.

John works in Sanctuary’s Development & Communications Department as our Director of Institutional Giving. In his off time, John bikes with Nelson and enjoys time with his wife Vanessa and their two children all of whom may meet him at the finish line on Sunday – fingers crossed!

Tim is a motivational speaker and corporate mentor. Though he lives in Sydney, Australia, Tim is traveling 10,000 miles across the world in order to participate in this ride.


Ricky
 is also traveling from Sydney to participate in this ride. Ricky is an avid charity biker who has done numerous rides with Nelson in the past. He is also an adventurous traveler who completed both the Camino de Santiago, a 30-day hike in Spain, as well as the trek to Base Camp on Everest last year.

Angad is a colleague of Nelson’s and lives in New Jersey. Though, Angad has done considerable charity work, this will be Angad’s first long distance charity bike ride. Wish him luck!

And the Crew

Driving alongside these intrepid bikers will be Ashley and Jennifer. Ashley became familiar with Sanctuary while volunteering her data analytics skills to improve the tracking system for our Volunteer Program. She will be accompanied by Jennifer, also originally from Australia, who is flying in from the West Coast to assist with driving and organizing.

The Route

DAY 1 (8/29) – New York City (Central Park) to Poughkeepsie

DAY 2 (8/30) – Poughkeepsie to Delhi

DAY 3 (8/31) – Delhi to Ithaca

DAY 4 (9/1) – Ithaca to Pittsford

DAY 5 (9/2) – Pittsford to Niagara Falls

Donate

The team is a little over half-way to reaching their $10,000 goal.

Donate today and help them reach their goal before the end of their ride! 

Follow Along

To learn more about their ride, check out their Facebook page!

Fundraise for Sanctuary

If bike riding 520 miles doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, don’t worry. There are many other ways you can make an impact. Contact Hannah Patridge, our Manager of Individual Giving, if you’re interested in starting your own fundraiser for survivors of gender violence.

For those who enjoy running and/or biking for charity (but maybe not 520 miles!), you can also email Hannah for more info on our TCS New York City Marathon and TD Five Boro Bike Tour teams.

 

 

Our statement on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s signing of the End Child Sex Trafficking Act

For over a year, Sanctuary staff, survivors, and supporters advocated for the removal of the coercion provision in New York’s trafficking law which forced child victims testify in court. In August 2018, Governor Cuomo signed the End Child Sex Trafficking Act into law.

SANCTUARY FOR FAMILIES APPLAUDS GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO FOR ENACTING THE END CHILD SEX TRAFFICKING ACT

New law relieves prosecutors of the burden of having to prove that a child sex trafficking victim was coerced into having sex

Advocates join Gov. Cuomo for the bill signing. Sanctuary’s Legal Center Director, Dorchen Leidholdt, stands third from left.

(New York – August 15, 2018)Sanctuary for Families (Sanctuary), New York State’s largest dedicated service provider and advocate for victims of domestic violence, sex trafficking, and related forms of gender violence, today applauded Governor Andrew Cuomo for signing into law the “End Child Sex Trafficking Act” – a measure that relieves prosecutors of the burden of having to prove that a child was coerced into prostitution in order to in order to convict that child’s exploiter of sex trafficking.

Dorchen Leidholdt, Director of Sanctuary’s Center for Battered Women’s Legal Services, stated,

“This law is the result of the powerful advocacy of a diverse coalition of survivors, their families, advocates, and faith-based leaders, determined to protect our most marginalized and brutalized children and hold their exploiters accountable.”

Hon. Judy Harris Kluger, Executive Director of Sanctuary for Families said,

“This year alone, hundreds of thousands of children in the United States will be subjected to or at risk of sex trafficking. With the enactment of the End Child Sex Trafficking Act, New York has taken a major step forward to eradicate this scourge.  Prosecutors can now build strong cases against those who traffic children without forcing the children to testify and relive the devastating trauma. Sanctuary for Families applauds Governor Cuomo’s decision to sign this bill into law. We are also deeply grateful to the bill sponsors, Assembly Member Amy Paulin and Senator Andrew Lanza, for their unrelenting commitment to protect the most vulnerable among us.”

Judge Kluger also commended the team at Sanctuary for Families for their tireless advocacy on this issue.

Prior to enactment of this measure, prosecutors in New York could not build successful cases against traffickers of children unless the child victim was willing and able to testify. The trauma children suffer as a result of sex trafficking and their terror of retaliation from their traffickers often prevented child victims from testifying.

The End Child Sex Trafficking Law creates an affirmative defense for all sex trafficking victims.  New York now aligns with federal law and the other 49 states, which do not require that prosecutors prove coercion in sex trafficking cases when the victims are minors.

Children are major targets of human traffickers, who pursue them because they are vulnerable and because sex buyers demand children. Estimates suggest that each year at least 100,000 U.S.-born children become victims of sex trafficking. From 2000-2010, service providers in the New York City metropolitan area reported working with nearly 12,000 human trafficking survivors, many of whom were children.

Support Camp Hope

This summer, Sanctuary will be leading Camp HOPE America: New York. Learn how this trauma-informed camp is helping young victims of domestic violence heal and find hope again.

Bria Diemer is a Communications Intern at Sanctuary and a rising Junior at Pace University where she studies film and creative writing.

Summer camp is something we do as children because it seems fun and exciting – and because our parents want us out of the house. We swim in open waters and over-eat junk food and gossip about nothing with strangers who somehow already feel like life-long friends. Summer camp is something we need as children because it is a place to meet people and hear stories and have fun in a way only kids can. At home, there’s homework and chores and other impending childhood responsibilities. But at camp, there’s nothing to do but scream and laugh and be yourself. It’s an easy escape from the real world, from home, wherever that may be.

But for many kids, home is something to escape from. According to estimates, between 2 and 10 million children will be exposed to domestic violence each year in America. This trauma makes children more susceptible to short- and long-term emotional, social and behavioral difficulties such as increased anxiety, depression, isolation, physical and psychological aggression and a predisposition to continue the cycle of abuse. Ages 12-17 are some of the most formative years for human development, and the presence of trauma can prevent healthy, effective growth. Trauma forces children to bypass their childhood entirely, leaving no time for s’mores and rock climbing.

Camp HOPE

Every day, Sanctuary for Families works with families that have experienced violence and abuse. And while we and other service providers offer services for the entire family, adolescent kids are often an underserved group. This summer, Sanctuary is partnering with Camp HOPE America to establish Camp HOPE America: New York, which will run from August 20-24. Thirty children ages 12 to 17, (15 girls and 15 boys) will participate in a week-long camp in upstate New York. Sanctuary was asked to pilot the first Camp HOPE America affiliate serving children in the New York City metropolitan area. Over the course of the week campers will enjoy classic camp activities such as swimming, high ropes courses, nightly campfires, team building activities, a trip to a planetarium, zip lining, canoeing, art, and a talent show. And thanks to Sanctuary’s partnership with the Fresh Air Fund, the camp will take place on 2,000 acres of land including two beautiful lakes, mountain overlooks and forested trails in Fishkill, New York.

Camp HOPE America is the first camping and mentoring initiative focused on children exposed to domestic violence. Initially beginning in California, Camp HOPE has developed into a nationwide effort spanning over five states. This year, an estimated 1,500 children and young adults will benefit from all that Camp HOPE America has to offer.

Counselors at the camp have been trained to use a trauma-informed approach when working with the children. Trauma-informed care means understanding a person entirely, and taking their traumas and resulting coping mechanisms into consideration when attempting to understand certain behaviors. “We want to know what happened before this, what were the factors that led up to this? It’s important to understand the root of the issue before addressing the actual issue,” says Bridget Shanahan, co-director of the New York camp. A person’s exposure to trauma influences each area of human development— physical, mental, behavioral, social, spiritual —which is why a trauma-informed method most effectively promotes healing, growth and overall hope.

Hope is the belief that your future will be better than your past and that you have the power to achieve your dreams.  While “hope” sounds like an uncomplicated, commonplace emotion, it actually proves to be an effective source of motivation, specifically for young adults. Hope can inspire roadmaps to short- and long-term goals as well as the inspiration to overcome obstacles that arise. “This camp focuses on hope rather than resiliency because hope is something you can build. Everyone can still have hope,” Shanahan explains. Each camper is given a questionnaire before, during and after the camp in effort to gauge a hope index. These ‘Hope Scores’ are an evidenced-based measure of hope, and results show that post-camp Hope Scores are increased and are sustained over time.

Support

Childhood is a precious time that should be full of the fun and excitement, not violence and trauma. If you would like to support Sanctuary for Families’ first Camp HOPE and our youngest clients, please click here.

Lynn and John Savarese, recipients of the 2018 Law Firm Leadership Award

The Honorees Every year, Sanctuary for Families honors those who have made major contributions to

The Honorees

Every year, Sanctuary for Families honors those who have made major contributions to the movement to end gender based violence at our annual Zero Tolerance Benefit. This year we were thrilled to present the Law Firm Leadership Award to Lynn and John Savarese.

Since meeting as first-year Harvard Law students, Lynn and John have devoted significant time and resources to advancing social justice. Together they have raised awareness about gender violence, secured justice for victims of abuse, and have provided unique platforms and opportunities for survivors to speak out. We are incredibly grateful for Lynn and John’s longtime support of Sanctuary and thrilled to have had the opportunity to honor two individuals whose lives’ work so connect with this year’s theme of “Breaking the Silence.”

Lynn Savarese

Originally from a small town in Texas, Lynn is a graduate of Harvard Law School. For many years she enjoyed careers in corporate law and investment banking before taking time off to raise her family and pursue volunteer work for various human rights organizations. Several years ago Lynn took up photography in earnest, and quickly garnered international acclaim for her fine arts images.

Lynn first became involved with Sanctuary as a pro bono attorney. When her interest in photography grew from hobby to profession, she partnered with Sanctuary to launch a groundbreaking photography project called the New Abolitionists Campaign.

Employing Lynn’s photographs of anti-trafficking advocates and survivors, the Campaign has become an ever-growing tool for advocacy and awareness about sex trafficking, a modern form of slavery in the United States. Photographs of New Abolitionists have been exhibited at galleries and venues across the country and have been seen by tens of thousands of people.

John Savarese

After graduating from Harvard Law School, John joined the Litigation Department of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. Over the last 25 years, John has represented numerous Fortune 500 corporations, major financial institutions and senior executives in SEC and other regulatory enforcement proceedings, as well as white-collar criminal investigations, complex securities litigations, and internal investigations. Despite the workload, John has always made time for the issues he cares about and has taken on numerous pro bono cases for Sanctuary over the years.

Most recently, John and his colleagues at Wachtell defended a long-time U.S. resident and lawful green-card holder against a protracted deportation proceeding. His team’s advocacy and effective defense enabled the client to remain in the U.S., a victory for which they were honored for at Sanctuary’s 2017 Above & Beyond Pro Bono Achievement Awards.

In addition to his work with Sanctuary, John is the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Vera Institute of Justice, a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board at Harvard Law School, a member of the Board of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and the former President of the Board of Trustees of The Brearley School in New York.

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With their impressive portfolio of human rights work, the Savareses have shown time and again their commitment to ending gender-based violence. We thank Lynn and John for the immense amount of time and energy they’ve given towards realizing our shared dream of a more socially just world. Our community is all the better for it.

For a summary and photos of our 2018 Zero Tolerance Benefit, click here.