TCS NYC Marathon Spotlight: Erika Tullberg

TCS NYC Marathon runner and Sanctuary team-member Erika Tullberg shares why she’s running this year.

For seven years now, Sanctuary has organized NYC Marathon teams and each year we’re amazed by the commitment, strength and mental fortitude of our incredible runners. This year, we’re proud to say, is no exception! When our team member Erika first started running three years ago, she claims she “couldn’t run more than a block.” Next month, Erika will run 26.2 miles throughout NYC’s five boroughs in honor of the families Sanctuary serves and those who have generously given on her behalf.

Erika is nearly 85% of the way to her goal of $3,000. Help her raise the remainder by donating through her CrowdRise page today.

A New Year’s resolution

I started running three years ago, somewhat on a whim. It was just after New Year’s, I was feeling out of shape, and I knew that getting another gym membership that I probably wouldn’t use was not the solution. Running seemed appealing, because you can do it whenever or wherever you want – so despite the fact that I couldn’t run more than a block without stopping, I gave it a try.

My initial goal was to run a charity 5 kilometer run/walk that I had walked for several years.  Those early cold, dark January mornings I walked far more than ran. Gradually, however, the balance flipped and I was actually running, which amazed me!  I did my 5k, and then another; and another after that. That fall I did my first 10k.

Support made all the difference

The following spring I convinced a friend to train with me for a half marathon – it seemed like a good bucket list challenge.  The race ended up going horribly for me, but the bad taste it left just gave me incentive to try again. The following year I signed up a training group. Having that support made all the difference, and I ended up doing three more half marathons over the subsequent year.

Still, I didn’t think of myself as a runner and never thought I could do a marathon. I didn’t think I could stick with the training, especially during the heat and humidity of the summer, and more importantly, I didn’t think my injury-prone body could take the pounding. Several friends from my running group had qualified for the 2016 New York City Marathon, however, so I figured that if I was ever going to try it, now was the time to do it. I had people around me to help me through the process and I still had the option of running with one of the many charities affiliated with the marathon.

Running for Sanctuary

I put a lot of thought into what organization I wanted to run with. I have always worked in social services, and most of my work has been with children and families that have experienced maltreatment, violence, and other kinds of trauma. Through my work I was familiar with Sanctuary for Families, and knew that the money I would raise would provide concrete help to women and children who have experienced unspeakable trauma yet often remain marginalized and forgotten by society. Running for Sanctuary has also given me additional incentive when I’ve wanted to throw in the towel because people are now depending on me – both Sanctuary’s clients and the people who have so generously donated on my behalf.

One thing that running has taught me is that as hard as it is physically, the largest part of the struggle is mental – to keep running when every fiber of your being is telling you to stop. It seems hokey to say that it’s a great metaphor for life, but it is true. Sometimes you just have to focus on the next step, and if you keep putting one foot in front of the other you will eventually get to where you want to, need to, and can be. Sanctuary for Families helps people to do that every single day.

Unfortunately I’m still not one of those people who feels the “runner’s high” when they are running. What keeps me going is the support of my running friends and the satisfaction I know I will have once I am done. So when I make my way through the city to Central Park on November 6th, I will focus on getting through the next step – remembering all of the people I am running for, and hoping that the strength I have unexpectedly found in myself will help provide strength to others.

Donate through Erika’s CrowdRise page to help her meet her $3000 goal!

10 times we came closer to ending gender violence in 2015

In 2015, we faced successes and challenges in our continued to work to end gender violence. Thank you for joining us.

1) Passing the Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act (TVPJA)

After nearly four years of advocacy, we finally saw TVPJA pass in New York State. This new law increases penalties for traffickers and improves protections for minor victims of sex trafficking. It took incredible hard work and collaboration on the part of organizers, legislators, survivors, friends and peers to make this happen.

2) Giving 146 women a new shot at economic stability through our Economic Empowerment Program (EEP)

In August, we held our second graduation of 2015 for participants who completed our Office Operations Workshop. Throughout the year, 146 women completed EEP programming, gaining interview skills, job search assistance, intensive IT training and MS Office certifications. On average, graduates from the program in 2015 had a starting salary of $12.90, over $4 more than New York State’s private sector minimum wage.

3) Increasing our impact by 50%

We served nearly 15,000 adults, women and children – an increase of 50% from our previous year’s service numbers. Additionally, we doubled the number of people reached through our outreach efforts, connecting with over 40,000 community members, law enforcement officials, teachers, faith leaders, and others who seek to make a difference for survivors of gender violence.

4) Getting survivors out of shelter and into housing

We run five shelters at Sanctuary, including New York’s largest transitional domestic violence shelter, Sarah Burke House. But with the housing crisis in New York City, the numbers of clients successfully transitioning from shelter to safe housing dwindled. Thanks to the city’s new LINC program and amazing advocacy by our staff and partners, 70% of our Sarah Burke House clients found safe housing – up from 32% the previous year.

5) Launching the Domestic Violence Intervention, Education and Prevention Program (DVIEP)

In March, Sanctuary launched DVIEP, placing case managers at nine Police Service Areas throughout NYC. These case managers conduct outreach and assist survivors of domestic violence living in NYC public housing – their work is critical for educating police and the community.

6) Celebrating 30 years of Sanctuary

In June, we celebrated our thirtieth year of serving survivors of gender violence in New York. While Sanctuary’s mission, scope and size have changed over time, we remain true to our orginal goal: helping adults and children live life free from abuse.

7) Raising $2.1 million and breaking records at Zero Tolerance

Our Zero Tolerance Benefit in June is a beloved Sanctuary tradition, and year after year serves as a game-changing fundraiser that keeps us going in this life-saving work. We were so excited when our supporters came through this year by helping us raise over $2.1 million at the event – breaking a record for the most ever raised at ZT!

8) Unveiling the new sanctuaryforfamilies.org

After seven years of serving us well, Sanctuary’s website was in desperate need of a face lift. In July we were so excited to launch a brand new website: the new site makes it easier to get help, learn about domestic violence, see Sanctuary’s impact, hear from our clients, and features our brand-new blog.

9) Reaching more families than ever at the holidays

With significant increases in our programming and the number of survivors we serve, we saw many high-needs families in need of joy, cheer and support this holiday season. Thankfully, our amazing donors “adopted” 139 families and fulfilled their holiday wishlists. Other supporters and volunteers made it possible for us to distribute 1,400 more gifts to additional clients in need!

10) Speaking out against hate, and envisioning a peaceful 2016

It was a remarkable year here at Sanctuary. This work is never easy, and for all the joys there were many challenges, including hateful political rhetoric that impacted many of our Muslim clients and staff. Take a moment to read Executive Director Judy H. Kluger’s New Year’s message, which speaks out against the prejudice we saw in 2015, and envisions a better year to come.

Thank you for all of your support.

Happy holidays, and a wish for the new year.

May 2016 bring peace, understanding and freedom from violence.

Dear Sanctuary family,

As we look forward to the new year, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you, and those you love, a joyous holiday season.

In a world with so much strife, tragedy and hate, I am especially grateful to our staff – you should take great pride in the work you do and the compassion and dedication you show our clients. Many have suffered, not only at the hands of their abusers, but because of their religion, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation.

And to our supporters – thank you for your incredible support in 2015. From giving to volunteering to educating others about Sanctuary’s work, you made a difference.

Sadly, recent events have allowed bigotry and hateful rhetoric to have a national platform. Some of our Muslim clients and staff and have expressed concern for their own and their families’ safety. Let’s continue to let them know that Sanctuary is a safe place to express those concerns and make every effort to help them through these difficult times.

I know that you join me in hoping that the new year brings peace and understanding to our troubled world.

Warmly,

Judy Kluger
Executive Director
Sanctuary for Families

Photos and Highlights from the 2015 Abely Awards

We were proud to honor tireless advocates against gender violence.

Last week, members of New York’s legal, civic and anti-gender violence communities gathered to honor United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Judge Pamela K. Chen and Jennifer L. Kroman, Director of Pro Bono Services at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, at the Nineteenth Annual Abely Awards.

View photos from the event.

Co-hosted with Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP and Columbia Law School, The Abely Awards recognize individuals who make a difference in the lives of domestic violence and sex trafficking survivors.

This year’s honorees have each used their distinguished legal backgrounds to provide survivors of sex trafficking with opportunities to live their lives free from violence and control.

We were grateful to be joined by The Honorable Judith S. Kaye, retired New York judge and the first woman to occupy the State Judiciary’s highest office, who with Legal Director Dorchen Leidholdt presented the awards.

While US Attorney General Loretta Lynch could not attend the event, she accepted her award by video, recounting her experiences working with Sanctuary to prosecute traffickers during her time as US Attorney for the Easter District of New York. Watch her full video thanks:

We were also proud to honor Judge Pamela K. Chen, a federal district court judge in the Eastern District of New York, and a true pioneer in the investigation and prosecution of human trafficking crimes.

We also honored Jennifer L. Kroman, Director of Pro Bono Practice at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, and a longtime Sanctuary supporter and Board Member. Jennifer leads Cleary’s award-winning pro bono practice and maintains an active docket representing survivors of sex trafficking in vacatur cases.

Since 1997, the Abely Awards have celebrated the life and legacy of Maryellen Abely, a pro bono attorney at Sanctuary for Families’ Center for Battered Women’s Legal Services.

An alumna of Columbia Law School, and an associate at Davis Polk, Ms. Abely was a tireless advocate for the rights of victims of domestic abuse and one of Sanctuary’s first pro bono attorneys. She died in 1995 after a long battle with cancer.

Learn more about the Abely Awards.