Recognizing Diana Steele: A Pillars of Change Honoree

Diana is a 2018 Pillars of Change honoree.

It’s National Volunteer Recognition Week! Every day this week we’ll be highlighting a Sanctuary volunteer who will be honored at our Pillars of Change Volunteer Recognition Event on May 10th. Learn More and register for Pillars of Change.

Diana Steele has been volunteering with Sanctuary’s Matrimonial/Economic Justice Project since 2014, when she was connected to Sanctuary through the Attorney Emeritus Program.

Diana’s goal had always been to work in public interest law. Prior to her long career in corporate taxation, she had worked in nonprofit organizations such as The Legal Aid Society and the ACLU.

It was this deep commitment to public interest that inspired Diana to dedicate her time to Sanctuary for Families upon retiring.

“I had always wanted to get back into doing something more consistent with my initial public interest goals, and Sanctuary’s mission clearly fit that goal”, she explains.

In her time as a Sanctuary volunteer, Diana has become an invaluable member of the Matrimonial/Economic Justice Project team, a group of attorneys and advocates who provide survivors of gender violence with legal representation to obtain divorce, child support, child custody, and other relief to which they are entitled.

“Diana does research and writing on complex legal issues that arise in our cases.  She has handled everything from researching details about service of process in foreign jurisdictions to drafting arguments for appellate briefs,” explains Amanda Norejko, Director of the Matrimonial/Economic Justice Project.

Diana’s skill and productivity was evident from the beginning and her research and writing has played a central role in supporting a wide range of clients’ legal needs. Some of Diana’s achievements include collaborating on winning briefs in cases before the Appellate Division, providing research for manuals used to train new attorneys in housing law, and stepping in to support time-sensitive case while the primary attorney was on vacation.

“Diana is incredibly productive, enabling us to meet tight deadlines on major legal briefs. We have come to rely on her consistently excellent work product and she never disappoints us.” – Amanda Norejko.

Diana’s commitment to Sanctuary is undeniable, “The most rewarding parts of volunteering at Sanctuary are working with the dedicated, bright, and hardworking legal staff and witnessing the tremendous courage and resilience of Sanctuary clients.”

Pillars of Change is an opportunity to honor extraordinary volunteers like Diana, who bring skill, experience, and passion to our staff and hope and opportunity to our clients.

We hope you will join us at Pillars of Change on May 10, 2018 to recognize Diana and four other incredible volunteers for their service. You can join us at Pillars of Change by registering now!

Holiday Highlights 2017

Here are our favorite moments from our most successful holiday giving campaign to date.

Holidays can be a difficult time for many of our clients, who are often isolated from their friends, families, and communities. Donors and volunteers like you continue to provide a sense of hope and make the season brighter. Here are just a few of the ways we’ve seen that happen in the past few weeks:

1. When 146 of our highest-needs families (over 410 individuals) had their entire holiday wish lists fulfilled by incredibly generous donors – thank you for bringing joy to survivors of gender violence during this busy season.

2. Handing out thousands of  games, toys and gifts to 1,200 additional adults and children who receive services at Sanctuary.

3. Welcoming 125 amazing volunteers who wrapped, sorted and organized gifts – we couldn’t have reached so many clients without you!

4. Collecting over $30,000 in cash and gift card donations to distribute – empowering our clients to buy presents for themselves and their loved ones.

5. Celebrating the 25th Annual Horace Mann Winter Party where over 150 Sanctuary clients enjoyed a festive evening of food, student performances, and gifts for all.

6. Hanging out with the dedicated staff members who coordinate this massive movement of donations, gifts, and parties.

7. Connecting clients and donors through beautiful thank you notes.

8. Seeing how all of your efforts made the season brighter for our clients, who are taking the difficult steps to start a new life. Thank you!

Marjorie Stein: devoted, reliable, generous

Marjorie is a 2017 Pillars of Change Honoree.

It’s National Volunteer Recognition Week! Every day this week we’ll be highlighting a Sanctuary volunteer who will be honored at our Pillars of Change Volunteer Recognition Event on May 10th. Learn more and register for Pillars of Change.

Marjorie Stein was introduced to Sanctuary through her work at Hogan Lovells, one of Sanctuary’s law firm partners. Marjorie coordinated a toy drive among Hogan employees to benefit Sanctuary’s clients, her first of many important volunteer contributions.

She tells us that she was “very happy to handle events” for Sanctuary as she has always been passionate about the protection and empowerment of women.

Thanks in no small part to Marjorie’s steadfast commitment to Sanctuary, Hogan has become an even closer partner of Sanctuary in recent years and in 2014 Sanctuary was voted by Hogan employees to be their local “Touch” charity.

Marjorie has been at the forefront of multiple events and initiatives, including: gift drives and fundraisers benefitting our holiday programming and other campaigns, support of Sanctuary’s Zero Tolerance Benefit and Pillars of Change events, providing a customized legal administration training program for Economic Empowerment Program graduates, hosting career days for Sanctuary clients, and spearheading Sanctuary’s client-focused Halloween event.

Marjorie has witnessed firsthand the extraordinary impact the Halloween parties have had on our clients. Hogan staff, under the coordination of Marjorie, spend days decorating their offices and common area, designing interactive themed spaces, and collecting new costumes for each child residing in Sanctuary’s five shelters.

“I remember when I was told at the first Halloween party that one of the women said it was the first time she had seen her child smile in years. The joy and happiness of the kids at the Halloween Party is just awesome.”

Working with our Economic Empowerment Program students and graduates has been especially rewarding for Marjorie and it is evident how much she enjoys talking with clients, sharing her own story of climbing the corporate ladder, and getting to know the people that she has helped in numerous ways on a more personal basis.

Emily Lo Bue, Director of Corporate and Volunteer Relations says of her experience working with Marjorie, “Marjorie’s input in the process of developing new and better partner programs and services for our clients is invaluable. She takes an idea and makes it a hundred times better, engages people to assist, and coordinates amazing events and initiatives that meet needs that we otherwise would not be able to meet.”

After all that Marjorie has done for Sanctuary’s clients, they have taught her something which she is quick to share with others, “women are the same no matter what their backgrounds are. We all have the same hopes and dreams.”

Sanctuary hopes to work with Marjorie and Hogan Lovells on more exciting projects for a long time to come!

We hope you will join us at Pillars of Change on May 10, 2017 to recognize Marjorie and four other incredible volunteers for their service. You can join us at Pillars of Change by registering now!

Junior Hypolite: loyal, resourceful, selfless

Junior is a 2017 Pillars of Change Honoree

It’s National Volunteer Recognition Week! Every day this week we’ll be highlighting a Sanctuary volunteer who will be honored at our Pillars of Change Volunteer Recognition Event on May 10th. Learn more and register for Pillars of Change.

Junior Hypolite has been volunteering with Sanctuary for Families for an astonishing 14 years!

Utilizing his skills as a new professional driver, Junior’s first volunteer role was delivering invitation packets for our Zero Tolerance Benefit to board members and longtime supporters, providing a quick, efficient, and cost-effective way of expanding our reach. This was not without its challenges, he tells us, “I had little experience driving in Manhattan. It was an adventure!”

Junior’s eagerness to assist Sanctuary in any way he could has led him to become an essential part of many of our client-focused events and initiatives. He regularly picks up and delivers large quantities of in-kind donations we receive from individuals and corporations throughout the city, allowing the agency to expand our capacity to receive more items.

This important work allows clients to access items that may otherwise be unavailable to them. Junior’s support in delivering holiday gifts to our clients at Sanctuary’s other locations in the outer boroughs is just one example of the way in which his assistance allows Sanctuary to best meet the needs of our clients throughout the city.

“It’s a privilege to know that my work has a concrete, tangible impact on clients.”

It’s not just Sanctuary clients that benefit from Junior’s versatility and flexibility. On countless occasions, Junior has come to the aid of staff who urgently need to attend important meetings with clients, providing much needed support and accompaniment.

Junior admits that he wasn’t always so invested in issues surrounding gender violence. Through his work at Sanctuary, he has now become a passionate advocate for survivors and has taken this experience to the individuals in his own life, sharing information about domestic violence and supportive services.

Volunteering at Sanctuary has a special, personal meaning for Junior. Sanctuary attorneys assisted one of his family members during a crisis situation and helped them petition for an order of protection. Junior credits Sanctuary for its genuine compassion for his family member.

And we credit Junior for all of his incredible, selfless service which has consistently gone above-and-beyond the call of duty. His dependable nature allows us to consistently maximize our ability to transport important resources to our other locations, event sites, and ultimately our clients.

We hope you will join us at Pillars of Change on May 10, 2017 to recognize Junior and four other incredible volunteers for their service. You can join us at Pillars of Change by registering now!