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 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 business of the holiday season that will soon be upon us, we are reminded of the generosity of others here at VIBS. 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. I For the talented and generous 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 and share the work of VIBS. 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.

Pictured left to right is 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. 

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 LGBT community and highlighted that all survivors, regardless of sexual orientation
gender identity or gender expression, deserve access to lifesaving services. VIBS client, Gabby Spiere shared her personal story. 


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. 

Walk the Walk 

VIBS Family Violence & Rape Crisis Center hosted it’s annual Walk the Walk for domestic violence on Saturday, October 26 at the Holtsville Ecology Site. This event was the perfect way to end a very successful National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, with countless educational events in the weeks prior that sent a wave of enthusiasm throughout the community, both within the VIBS staff and within the community they serve. Many of the staff volunteered the day of the event, staff and community members created teams of walkers and donations were made by national and local businesses, including Aetna, Smile Farms and the John W. Engeman Theater. 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 domestic violence.

VIBS raised just over $6,000, surpassing their original goal by 10%, and had a total of 138 participants, including VIBS Executive Director Reina Schiffrin and a brave VIBS client who told her story, highlighting all the help that VIBS had 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. 

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

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

To learn more about certification and volunteer opportunities, please contact Karen Oprea, Director of SANE/SAFE at VIBS at (631) 360-3730. 


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,r 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. 


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. 

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

The 4th Annual Elder Abuse Forum — Promoting Elder Wellness took place on November 7. 

Pictured above (L to R) is 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 COuntry Elder Abuse Enhanced Multidisciplinary Team Coordinator; and Alan Steinberg, MD, Geriatric Psychiatrist. 

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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