Elon partners with Family Abuse Services during Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Elon University students are partnering with Family Abuse Services of Alamance County to increase capacity and spread awareness.
Elon University’s partnership with Alamance County’s Family Abuse Services (FAS) has led to community involvement of Elon students working toward spreading awareness about domestic violence, increasing prevention efforts and aiding survivors.
Led by Millie Wert, Family Abuse Services Leader In Collaborative Service (LINCS) coordinator, the partnership between Elon University and FAS has led to student volunteers fostering connections and becoming student leaders in Alamance County.
The majority of FAS volunteers are Elon students, and they have lots of opportunities to get involved. For example, Elon students can work with support groups, aid on the crisis hotline to speak directly to the survivors, and put on puppet shows for children in the area to promote healthy relationships. According to Wert, “There are lots of opportunities for people to find where they’re comfortable when volunteering.”
Elon University students contribute their time for child care, document filing, and spreading community awareness. When donating financially, student volunteers also see their dollars hard at work, as their contributions go directly to the shelter.
Family Abuse Services works primarily with women and children who are victims of domestic violence. FAS supports these survivors through housing at a domestic violence shelter, support through court processes of domestic violence, and helping children who are victims of domestic abuse learn to recognize the signs of domestic violence in the home.
Elon University utilizes many partnerships through campus organizations for Family Abuse Services. Alpha Phi Omega, an international fraternity based on community service, has agreed to donate half of its fundraising proceeds from the fall 2016 semester to FAS. Secondly, Elon’s chapter of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority has done outstanding work in order to respectfully raise money and awareness for the issues involving domestic violence. According to Wert, the partnership between Elon and FAS “helps to support everyone. Domestic violence is an issue that affects every demographic, but is most common between people ages 18 and 24.”
Last year, Alpha Chi Omega singlehandedly raised approximately $15,000 in support of Family Abuse Services. One of the traditional Alpha Chi Omega sayings is, “together let us seek the heights.” Rachel Cantlay, vice president of philanthropy for the sorority, put together an event called “Seek the Heights,” which allowed students to pay $5 to climb a rock-climbing wall. Through family outreach and Elon University participation, Alpha Chi Omega was able to collect $15,000 at the end of the fundraiser.
Along with the Seek the Heights event, Alpha Chi Omega completed a donation drive to bring beauty products to the women in the FAS shelter. The women of Alpha Chi Omega supplied baskets of beauty products to women in support groups, in order for self-esteem support. Many students contributed to this cause, and more than 40 filled baskets were donated to the shelter.
Elon’s partnership with Family Abuse Services is equally helpful to students at Elon University, in that it provides support for university students who are survivors of domestic violence themselves. According to Wert, the partnership helps to create a mutual support system between students and Family Abuse Services. By raising awareness and the promotion of healthy relationships, Elon students are able to help and support one another.
For Domestic Violence Awareness Month, organizations on campus are hosting a number of events in order to spread awareness of domestic violence issues. A major event for Family Abuse Services entitled “These Hands Don’t Hurt” takes place on Oct. 20. The event will host a keynote speaker and pay tribute to victims of have survived domestic abuse, and the victims we have lost. These Hands Don’t Hurt will also provide community resources, such as information about how to contact advocates for survivors of domestic violence.
On Oct. 28, Elon’s a capella groups will perform “Voices of Violence”, a tribute they hope will encourage the audience to remember and reflect on this important cause.
“Family Abuse Services would not be able to offer services to the victims and survivors of domestic violence in Alamance County at the level we are currently able to without our strong relationship with Elon University," said Skye Sullivan, director of community outreach and education of Family Abuse Services. "FAS relies on student and class partnerships for fundraising, volunteering/interning, hosting donation drives, and spreading awareness of domestic violence issues on campus. We are very thankful to have such an invested and committed university nearby.”