Recognizing Melody Kimmel: A Pillars of Change Honoree

For her pro bono service as a presentation and media trainer for those speaking at Sanctuary’s Annual Benefit.

Melody Kimmel brought her talent as one of the nation’s leading media, message, and presentation trainers to Sanctuary for Families nearly 10 years ago. Every year, Sanctuary hosts our Zero Tolerance Benefit, a 1,000-person sit-down dinner that raises over $2 million to support Sanctuary’s work. Melody generously donates her time each year to ensure that every speaker is prepared to deliver the most compelling remarks, working one-on-one with a gentle approach and a laser-focused editorial pen. Many of our speakers have never addressed an audience of that size, and Melody instills confidence while sharing practical speaking tips with grace and style and always a sense of humor. She is an absolute pleasure to work with, and we are enormously grateful for all she has done to make Sanctuary shine over the years.

To learn more about Melody Kimmel and her work, please join us on June 17th from 6:30 pm -7:00 pm at our virtual Pillars of Change.

The Vicente Foundation and Marquis Studios Bring Impactful Arts Program to Survivors

Thanks to The Vicente Foundation and Marquis Studios, Sanctuary has been able to offer families new and fun opportunities for creativity and family bonding despite the unprecedented challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Art has always been an essential tool for promoting healing and facilitating bonding within families who are recovering from abuse. Artistic expression fosters a sense of well-being and comfort in the midst of uncertainty and offers an alternative form of communication. For survivors processing feelings of isolation, depression, and fear during COVID-19, having access to the full range of therapy, including art therapy, has been more important than ever. Thanks to a partnership with Marquis Studios, Sanctuary has been able to offer these crucial services to families virtually.

Founded in 1977, Marquis Studios’ staff of skilled teaching artists provides a full spectrum of arts experiences to 40,000 participants each year, including education services in more than 170 New York City public schools. These programs are designed to integrate culturally responsive arts activities with instruction in academic or social and emotional subjects. Marquis Studios’ planning process is individualized for each residency, offered in-person or remotely, with teaching artists, teachers, and other facilitators meeting to discuss goals prior to session planning. Marquis’ program with Sanctuary likewise offers tailored instruction to best meet the needs of Sanctuary clients.

The Sanctuary and Marquis partnership consists of 10 virtual workshops that began in October and run through December. Each workshop caters to 10 families with young children and focuses on a different artistic skill or activity. The visual and performing arts disciplines covered in the sessions include paper collage, drawing, painting, bookmaking, paper sculpture, puppetry, mixed visual arts, hip hop dance, and African dance.

Reflecting on the workshops she observed, Kimberly Roman, Sanctuary’s children & family services program coordinator, shared,

“Marquis Studios has provided families with fun ways to engage with each other and express themselves. Participants encourage and celebrate each other and the facilitator is also very kind and engaging. Every week the activities are new, interesting and appropriately challenging.”

Sanctuary’s partnership with Marquis Studios was made possible by a donation from The Harriet and Esteban Vicente Foundation. Jennifer Stein of the Vicente Foundation notes,

“The Harriet and Esteban Vicente Foundation is proud to support the groundbreaking art education program run by Marquis Studios for Sanctuary for Families. It is our belief that art brings joy and healing.”

Thanks to The Vicente Foundation and Marquis Studios, Sanctuary has been able to offer families new and fun opportunities for creativity and family bonding despite the unprecedented challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Giving Back During the COVID-19 Crisis: Photographer Donna Ferrato

From the legendary photojournalist, activist, and longtime Sanctuary supporter Donna Ferrato comes a photo print sale in benefit of Sanctuary for Families’ COVID-19 emergency efforts.

From the legendary photojournalist, activist, and longtime Sanctuary supporter Donna Ferrato comes a photo print sale in benefit of Sanctuary for Families’ COVID-19 emergency efforts.

Included in this sale are Ferrato’s prints from her current project, which offer a unique look at New York’s TriBeCa. With an intimate, artistic sensibility, the project captures one of New York City’s most historic neighborhoods. Her photographs portray generations of immigrants, captains of industry, and artists who walked the century-old, cobblestone streets. They also capture the manners and mores of today’s denizens who, lured by its old-world grace and simplicity, have made the TriBeCa of today an urban Ground Zero.

All prints will be made in Tribeca by Donna Ferrato and her assistant Gabo and will be signed and personalized by the artist. They are available starting at $100 each. Each photograph is available in editions of 25. When any photograph sells out it will replaced with a new print. 50% of the proceeds from the sale of the photographs will be donated to Sanctuary. To learn more and purchase prints, click here.

“In the first week of quarantine, I was hit by a hot idea after thinking about how to make a difference in these turbulent times. Why not use my archive of Tribeca for good. Tribeca came together after 9-11 when it took a hit on the economy as well as everyone’s hearts and minds. I wanted to leverage the memory of what the resilient spirit can do to help people suffering as a result of COVID-19. Given my long-standing work on behalf of victims of domestic violence, and their increased need now as they are trapped with their so-called loved ones, the decision was obvious.” – Donna Ferrato

With our clients facing unimaginable barriers while sheltering in place, Sanctuary is adapting its legal, counseling, shelter and economic empowerment programs to meet the emerging needs of gender violence survivors across New York City. Our offices remain open, as we are considered an “essential service”, and we are doing everything we can to provide our full range of support both remotely and in-person for survivors during this time.

We thank Donna for her years of service to Sanctuary for Families. Donna has partnered with Sanctuary for Families since 1991 when she first documented domestic violence in her book Living with the Enemy and has been raising awareness through her work ever since.

In NYC, domestic violence calls are down during the pandemic, but not necessarily because it’s
happening less. The strict measures put in place to curb the spread of the COVID-9 in the city also have raised hurdles and increased risks for victims seeking help. With schools and nonessential businesses shut, victims have lost opportunities to find privacy away from their abusers to seek help. To learn more about Sanctuary’s COVID-19 emergency response efforts, and how the crisis has impacted our clients and services, please click here

 

Purchase Photos in support of Sanctuary

Recognizing Manasi Khedlekar: A Pillars of Change Honoree

For her devoted, trauma-informed interpreting for a client seeking asylum with Sanctuary’s Immigration Intervention Project.

Manasi was first introduced to Sanctuary for Families’ incredible Immigration Intervention Project (IIP) by our Immigration Specialist, Anne-Cecile Raphael. Manasi was quickly onboarded to work with Anne-Cecile as a Hindi interpreter and translator, supporting one client for over a year. The Immigration Intervention Project provides immigrant clients with legal services that allow them to obtain legal immigration status, permanent resident status, or citizenship. The project represents clients in immigration law proceedings, including battered spouse waiver applications, Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) self-petitions, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status cases, U-Visas, T-visas, and asylum applications. IIP takes steps to meet the linguistic and cultural needs of the diverse body of clients we represent, and Manasi helped the team do just that – and more!

Manasi recalls her time working as an interpreter, stating “It was daunting to be someone’s voice. The process of gaining a client’s trust, knowing their darkest and most vulnerable moments isn’t easy, and I feel very grateful that I got a chance to participate in an experience that has a positive outcome for the client. Working closely with the Immigration Intervention Project helped me see how much work is done behind the scenes and how government policies that are shaped at a higher level translate to real consequences for people.”

Manasi was an incredible asset to the team and was essential to the success of this difficult case. The client was traumatized, had undergone years of horrendous violence and simply did not trust anyone. Manasi met with the client weekly for months, bringing with her trauma-informed and tactful support. Manasi’s professional experience as a psychologist proved invaluable in her support to this client, and thanks to her involvement, the IIP team was able to build trust with the client and help prepare for the case. Anne-Cecile recalls that having Manasi as a team member made an immense difference not only for the client’s case which ultimately prevailed in November of last year but for the client personally.

“Every time we volunteer, every act of kindness we participate in, we make a statement about the world we want to live in. As a parent, as a human being, I think that’s the most important thing I can teach my kids. I want to thank Sanctuary again for the incredible work they are doing, and Anne-Cecile, and Pooja (Director, Immigration Intervention Project) for being the absolutely formidable team that they are, and for scoring a point for the good guys.” ~ Manasi

We thank Manasi for her amazing commitment to Sanctuary’s staff and clients! Her impact reaches well beyond what can be captured in words.