MESSAGE FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, REINA SCHIFFRIN 

Happy New Year! I know that every new year brings with it hope and excitement for change and reinvention. As we continue to navigate the challenges the pandemic brings to each of us, we remain steadfast and committed — committed to our clients and families to support their needs at VIBS and in the community at large. As we look ahead to this new year, we are hopeful and optimistic that change is coming. We await news about the vaccine and what it means for our staff and our community. 

This past fall, VIBS received a generous grant match opportunity from the Island Outreach Foundation to match all donations dollar for dollar through December 31, 2020 up to $100,000. Over the past three months, we worked diligently to increase our outreach with supporters, local foundations, organizations and partners. We are pleased to share that we exceeded our goal! This would not be possible without the dedication of our community of supporters and generous donors. The Island Outreach Foundation will be awarding VIBS with $100,000 to help us continue to provide essential services into 2021.

Did you know that every dollar raised at VIBS immediately supports services and programs for clients…? 

We invite you to read about all the amazing things our staff have done over the past few months and to learn more about our plans for 2021. We hope that you will join us and support our workshops, events and campaigns. I encourage you to stay connected. If you follow us on social media, please follow #goodVIBSin2021 for updates, resources and information. Visit our website regularly for updates about community events and initiates. Even during the pandemic, there are still opportunities for you to be involved and volunteer, if you are interested. We welcome a conversation and look forward to telling you more! 

Survivors matter at VIBS and we will never cease advocating for their human rights. Thank you for your support and your continued efforts to further VIBS’ mission. Be well and stay safe.  
 

Sincerely, 

 

Victims of Crimes Act (VOCA) Advocacy Campaign Results 

The Victim of Crimes Act (VOCA) was passed by Congress in 1984 to help those affected by violence receive much-needed services and assistance. VOCA uses non-taxpayer money from the Crime Victims Fund (CVF) to pay for programs that assist victims. Many agencies around the country rely on this funding so that clients pay nothing for services; VIBS’ ability to provide free services is also affected by this funding. To prevent Congress from making drastic cuts to VOCA, VIBS staff created a VOCA Week of Action toolkit for December 14-18, including samples of social media posts, ways to participate in our Twitter storm and phone scripts for calling elected representatives. It also included ways to create video content; staff also contributed to a photo collage visually depicting why cuts to VOCA are so detrimental to survivors. We can’t thank participants enough for standing beside us during that time. Supporters of this campaign include the Crime Victims Center, Huntington Resource Center, Hofstra University, Suffolk County Community College and Nassau County Community College. 
 

Despite efforts made by VIBS, other organizations and activists, members of Congress decided to cut VOCA by $500 million for FY’21 and did not include a provision to prevent additional cuts in the future. Although we appreciate that Congress has provided some assistance to survivors during this very difficult year, it is not enough and VIBS will continue to ask for your support with future campaigns and will provide tools and resources that will allow us all to continue advocating for survivors. Thank you and please visit vibs.org for the full statement on the VOCA decision. 

Above: Staff members set up toys donated by the following organizations: The Kevin Williams Foundation, Suffolk County Legislator Anthony Piccirrillo, Sachem North High School Honor Society, Amvets Post 1174 and Long Island Hardware. 

DONOR SPOTLIGHT — The Kevin Williams Foundation 

On September 11, 2001 Kevin [Williams] was killed at the World Trade Center. He was 24 years old and working at Sandler-O'Neill, an investment firm on Wall Street. Kevin graduated from Boston College Magna Cum Laude and Shoreham-Wading River High School. He was an honor student as well as MVP in golf, basketball and baseball. 

Kevin's zest for life and love of sports inspired his family to create a Foundation that would allow children to have a sports camp experience regardless of financial situations. Over the past 19 years the Kevin Williams Foundation has given over 1500 camp scholarships to economically disadvantaged children. 

Due to the great needs of many families and communities during the pandemic, the Foundation pivoted to some much-needed basics, supplying truckloads of groceries to outreach programs, sending meals to doctors & first responders who were working 24/7 and purchasing tablets for sick and dying patients so they could see and speak to their families. The Foundation also worked with school social workers so they may purchase needed equipment for disadvantaged children to work remotely from home.
 

The work of the Foundation is our way of sharing Kevin's spirit with others, giving children experiences and opportunities they might never have had. This is Kevin's greatest legacy and our way of continuing to love him.
 


We asked Pat, Kevin's mother, how she got connected to VIBS...

"In her former career, Celeste (Service Advocate and Hotline Counselor at VIBS) was my colleague and we taught elementary school together for over 30 years. She is one of the most giving and child-centered people you will ever meet. I knew families in need would come across her path during her work with VIBS, so we extended the camp scholarship opportunities to VIBS' clients as well. We began our Kevin's Angels Holiday Project and wanted VIBS' clients to share in the extreme generosity of our community by donating gift cards and toys for families in Suffolk County." 


Just as the support and care of others carried us through our darkest time, we believe the work of the Foundation brings hope to struggling families. VIBS thanks The Kevin Williams Memorial Foundation for their continued generosity and support. 

To learn more about giving opportunities, visit VIBS.org/donate.

 

VIBS Receives Grant for Veterans 

VIBS is pleased to announce it has received a $20,000 grant from the Long Island Community Foundation (LICF). These funds will support the Veteran’s Counseling Program, which provides free counseling and support services to veterans and their families.

VIBS' Veteran's Counseling Program provides services regardless of discharge status to increase overall mental health and well-being in veterans and to give all veterans and their families access to trauma-informed counseling. Veterans and family members can receive assistance with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Military Sexual Trauma (MST), Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) and other issues related to abuse and assault.

The funding will be used to increase outreach to veterans and their families and to create partnerships with organizations that offer related services. Goals for the funding initiative include providing group counseling for veterans, increasing the number of individual counseling sessions available to veterans, and collaborating with Student Veterans of America (SVA) programs at local colleges to create sources of support and a wider referral network.

Reina Schiffrin, Executive Director for VIBS stated, “We are grateful for the generous support of LICF that will enable VIBS to continue to provide needed services to Veterans residing in Suffolk County during these unprecedented times. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it more important than ever that Veterans who have experienced violence and abuse any time in their lives have a place to turn to for free and confidential counseling in person or virtually by compassionate and experienced professionals.”

VIBS Welcomes New Staff Attorney

Charlie’s journey of working to end domestic violence began in another lifetime when she was an NYPD Officer patrolling the streets of Brooklyn and Queens. Regardless of the location, one thing that unfortunately remained consistent was the need to respond to the cries for help from those impacted by abuse at the hands of a family member. Charlie became committed to learning as much as possible about various forms of abuse in order to increase awareness in the hopes of preventing and breaking as many cycles as possible. 

Following an early retirement from the NYPD, Charlie has used her background in law enforcement, a degree in law, and years of college teaching to work towards ending abuse. Among her accomplishments, she has created, co-created, and organized a radio talk show dedicated to discussing issues around power and control (Tender Talk Tough Topics 88.7FM WRHU); and holds a Bi-annual Anti-bullying/Dating Abuse Conference in conjunction with Hofstra University and Northwell Health Hospital. In addition, Charlie provided domestic abuse training to more than 100 medical residents at Southside Hospital in order for doctors to better equip the medical community and facilitated the support group, Taking Trauma to Triumph for survivors to have a safe place for healing, learning, and growing.

VIBS is pleased to welcome Charlie to the Legal Services team. 

 

Above: Charlie Rogers, Esq., Staff Attorney at VIBS 

Vivvi Selects VIBS for Donation 

Vivvi provides child care and early learning for today’s families. Vivvi partners with employers of all sizes to make exceptional full-time and backup care more accessible and affordable. With beautiful campuses, flexible offerings, and trained, passionate teachers, they provide parents with peace of mind while offering employers the most powerful tool for recruitment, retention, and productivity.


This year, Vivvi asked their teachers to choose causes that had personal significance to them and nominate organizations as potential recipients of a donation from Vivvi (one donation per campus). This was part of an end-of-year appreciation campaign for teachers. There were five different nonprofits put forth at our Tribeca campus. VIBS received the most votes and was determined to be the winning organization.

Thank you, Vivvi for your support and generosity!

 

Human Trafficking Awareness 

January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month (NHTAM), and VIBS is committed to highlighting issues that affect victims and their families.

Join us on January 19 and 20 for workshops on Medical Trauma and Human Trafficking – Disabled Populations. Please also join us for a very special event on January 29 on the New Faces of Human Trafficking on Long Island featuring Laura Dooling, MSW student at Stony Brook University and Sue Lingenfelter from Long Island Against Trafficking (LIAT).

To reserve your spot for any of these free workshops, visit vibs.org/community-webinars.

 

 
 

Serving Survivors with Disabilities 


VIBS is excited to continue a strong partnership with Mill Neck Services for the Deaf and Independent Group Home Living Program (IGHL) to provide accessible services to Deaf survivors and survivors with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. This collaboration is supported by Office of Violence Against Women (OVW). The three organizations will begin a community needs assessment to determine the specific needs of these survivors across Long Island. VIBS will keep supporters and clients informed about how to get involved with this process if you are interested. 

To learn more about supporting survivors with disabilities, contact El Schneider at eschneider@vibs.org. 

 

VIBS GIVES TO BEACON HOUSE TO SUPPORT VETERANS 

This past Thanksgiving, VIBS staff organized a supply drive to support local veterans and homeless families at the United Veterans Beacon House. Beacon House provides housing in 47 locations throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties, serving over 355 men, women and children from the tri-state area daily.

The VIBS team agreed that giving back to the communities we serve, especially our local veterans, was the best way we could celebrate a holiday intended on showing gratitude. VIBS is proud to serve vets experiencing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Military Sexual Trauma (MST). 

 
 

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

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