VIBS Family Violence and Rape Crisis Center
(631) 360-3730 | 
24-hour Hotline: (631) 360-3606


Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow...

Message from VIBS Executive Director, Reina Schiffrin
We have had quite a busy fall season here at VIBS! In September we hosted our first ever Art Show — see full story below. October kicked off National Domestic Violence Awareness month. Members of the VIBS staff participated in workshops, presentations and events across Suffolk County to bring about awareness and share the VIBS mission, to create futures free of violence. Some of our events included our annual Walk the Walk and Domestic Violence Commemoration Day, both featured in this issue. 

This November, VIBS hosted our 4th Annual Elder Abuse Wellness Forum, Promoting Elder Wellness, and welcomed expert speakers from the community to address this topic. In celebration of Veterans Day, VIBS hosted a day of giving. All gifts made to VIBS on 11.11.19 supported the Veterans Counseling Program. This program offers individual and group counseling services specifically designed for veterans and their families suffering with symptoms related to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Military Sexual Trauma (MST). 

As we prepare for Thanksgiving and the holiday season that will soon be upon us, we are reminded of the generosity of our supporters. I invite you to take a moment and think about what you are thankful for. As my first year as the Executive Director of VIBS comes to a close, I reflect on what I am thankful for. For the talented and dedicated staff I get to work with and lead every day; for the ability to serve the community through the very important work we do; and for our supporters — who continue to advocate for justice and services for survivors of violence. Thank you! 

Wishing you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving! 

All my best, 

VIBS hosts first ever Art Show 

On Friday, September 20, VIBS opened its doors to the community and hosted our first ever art show, Healing Hearts: Expression Through Creative Arts Therapy. The event featured over 100 pieces of art, poetry and music created by VIBS clients and staff. Artwork was created exclusively for VIBS by our featured artist, Jasmine Hawker, a former VIBS client. Ms. Hawker attended the event with her family and shared her personal story of survival. 

Art therapy involves the use of creative techniques such as drawing, painting, collage, coloring, or sculpting to help people express themselves artistically and examine the psychological and emotional undertones in their art. VIBS clients — adults, children and families — may benefit from art therapy during counseling sessions.


(L-R): Vanessa Sanders, VIBS Staff Attorney and Judy Lukose, Director of Legal Services at VIBS. Both received an award from the The Suffolk County Pro Bono Project (PBP), a joint project of the Suffolk County Bar Association and Nassau/Suffolk Law Services. Not pictured is Amrita Khan, Staff Attorney at VIBS. 


On October 29, the counseling staff hosted their annual Boo Bash. Children and families were welcomed to VIBS to trick-or-treat, decorate pumpkins and eat snacks. 

Left: a child, dressed as Sheriff Woody from Toy Story, fills his bucket with treats


VIBS client Gabrielle Spierer addresses the audience at Commemoration Day. 

Domestic Violence Commemoration Day

During the month of October, VIBS hosted and participated in activities to support domestic violence awareness month. Commemoration Day was celebrated on October 17 with our sister organizations and law enforcement agencies across Suffolk County to honor victims and survivors who have been affected by domestic violence. Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone was in attendance and paid tribute to survivors of domestic violence.

This year's focus was on the LGBTQ community and highlighted that all survivors, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, deserve access to lifesaving services. VIBS client Gabrielle Spierer (Out of the Box Services) shared her personal story at the event, including how VIBS counselors helped her heal and gain the courage to speak publicly. She continues to share her story by speaking at schools throughout Long Island.


Left: Forensic Nurse Meg Vanderputen, RN, SANE logs into our new work station at Long Island Community Hospital in Patchogue.

Right: Michelle Tepper, NP-C, MS, FNE, SANE-A, SANE-P adjusting a new colposcope, a special magnifying instrument used during an exam. 

Miss Long Island, Madison Argandona leads
Walk the Walk. 

Walk the Walk 

VIBS hosted its annual Walk the Walk for domestic violence on Saturday, October 26 at the Holtsville Ecology Site. The Walk was a perfect way to celebrate a very successful month of programming as part of National Domestic Violence Awareness month. Staff and community members created teams of walkers, many volunteers helped at the event, and donations were made by national and local businesses, including Aetna, Smile Farms and the John W. Engeman Theater. 

VIBS raised just over $6,000, surpassing their original goal by 10% and had a total of over 138 participants, including a brave VIBS client who told her story and highlighted all the help that VIBS has given her through the years. There was not a dry eye in the crowd. Following that, Miss Long Island 2020, Madison Argandona, guided all the walkers down a path while DJ Billo began his playlist of upbeat and empowering music. As walkers finished the 3K walk, all were welcome to visit the zoo of over 100 animals or to rejoin VIBS in the pavilion as they announced the prizes for top fundraisers, set up a pumpkin patch for children and continued the music for all to hear. Our partners from IGHL (Independent Group Home Living, parent company to VIBS) and BACA (Bikers Against Child Abuse) hosted community information tables.

We can't thank everyone enough! It was truly inspiring to see the connection of so many people all doing their part to support VIBS' mission of creating futures free of violence.  

Forensic Nursing Week:  
VIBS celebrates and thanks our nurses and forensic examiners

Our team of SANE (sexual assault nurse examiners) and SAFE (sexual assault forensic examiners) continues to grow as the desire and passion to help victims of sexual assault is a top priority to medical professionals. The professionals who conduct the examinations are a team that specialize in forensic evidence collection when caring for a victim, and are put through a rigorous training process. 

VIBS is currently interviewing for its next forensic examiner training program. To learn more, visit the VIBS website, or view the job description on Indeed.


(L to R): Elizabeth Robles, Community Education Manager for the Long Island Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association; Brittni Sullivan, Esq., Attorney at Burner Law Group; Karen Oprea, Director of SANE/SAFE at VIBS; Alisa O'Brien, Suffolk County Elder Abuse Enhanced Multidisciplinary Team Coordinator; and Alan Steinberg, MD, Geriatric Psychiatrist. 

Promoting Elder Wellness 
On November 7, VIBS sponsored its 4th Annual Edler Abuse Forum — Promoting Elder Wellness at the Hauppauge Legislative Auditorium in Smithtown. The program was moderated by Karen Oprea, Director of SANE/SAFE and featured members of the VIBS Elder Abuse Resource Committee and members of the Suffolk County Enhanced-Multidisciplinary Team (E-MDT).  

Elizabeth Robles, MS Ed. spoke about Alzheimer’s Disease and Brittni Sullivan, Esq., discussed basic estate planning. Then, Alan L. Steinberg, M.D., a geriatric psychiatrist, regaled the audience with poetry and prose on the realities of aging. The program was concluded by Alisa O’Brien, LMHC, the Suffolk County E-MDT Coordinator who explained this new county-wide initiative. Audience participation was strong as attendees peppered the presenters with follow-up questions indicating their interest in understanding the material. Refreshments for the event were graciously provided by Aetna Better Health. 


NYS Domestic Violence Summit 2019 
Court Advocacy Manager, Omaira Barillas and Senior Legal Advocate, Julie Marmol attended the New York State Domestic Violence Summit. 

Hosted by the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the New York City Anti-Violence Project, the 5th Annual New York State Domestic Violence Prevention Summit explored effective approaches to preventing intimate partner violence before it begins across the spectrum of gender identity and sexual orientation. 


VIBS Family Violence and Rape Crisis Center
185 Oval Drive  | Islandia, New York 11749
631-360-3730 |

The efforts of VIBS include working directly with over 7,000 clients annually to provide essential services needed to recover from violence and trauma, and engaging the community to prevent future instances of violence. Please join us to continue helping individuals and families affected by violence by including VIBS in your annual giving.
To make a donation today, please visit
VIBS is a 501(c)(3) organization, registered with the NY State Attorney General. 
Contributions to VIBS are deductible to the full extent of the law. 

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