April M. Rojo
A special toy drive was held at the University of La Verne’s Sneaky Park on Nov. 20, where volunteers waited for local residents, students and staff to make toy donations for children who are victims of abuse or whose mothers are victims of domestic violence.
The volunteers waved at every car that passed by and asked the drivers and passengers to come back and donate toys.
La Verne resident Dominique Alvarez got the idea of a toy drive because she felt that domestic violence is one of the major types of abuse in La Verne. Alvarez survived a three-year relationship as a victim of domestic violence.
With the idea of a toy drive in mind, Alvarez began talking to parents, residents and businesses.
The toys will be given to a shelter and outreach program called Women In Need Growing Strong.
This is a shelter for battered women and their children in the San Gabriel Valley. Fifty percent of the children in the program are victims of abuse.
“A kid’s future is presented by what they see and what their parents do affects them and their interest,” Alvarez said.
Assistant Professor of Education Leslie Anne Young donated bags of toys.
“My students have helped and they also teach and help kids in hospitals,” Young said.
“We were really pleased to support WINGS, a lot of people on campus this time of year are looking for organizations to donate,” said Inous Pollard, administration assistant in the Organizational Leadership Department.
Amanda Turek, community specialist for WINGS, attended the toy drive and said they had a good turnout with donations from all the local businesses.
“Mrs. Nelson’s Toy and Book Store donated educational books and we had many toiletries donated for moms,” Turek said.
Businesses like Mrs. Nelson’s Toy and Book Store, Shari’s Subs & Salad, Pizza N Stuff, Spa Cache, Wild Earth Spa, La Verne Florist and Rainbow Printing Specialties donated gift certificates and cookies. The salons will provide a make-over for the holidays for mothers involved with the WINGS program.
“WINGS provides emergency housing for a 45-day stay, counseling, social services and clothes,” Turek said. “It is a great program that affects a lot of people and we offer a 24-hour help line where there is always someone available to talk to.”
If you are interested in adopting a family for Christmas you can contact Amanda Turek’s sister Christine Turek at (626) 915-5191 Ext. 125.
April M. Rojo can be reached at email@example.com.
Domestic violence warning signs
Red Flags are questions that assist people in identifying a possibly abusive person.
1. Do you feel nervous around them?
2. Do you have to be careful to control your behavior to avoid their anger?
3. Do you feel pressured by them when it comes to sex?
4. Are you scared of disagreeing with them?
5. Do they criticize you or humiliate you in front of other people?
6. Are they always checking up or questioning you about what you do when you are not with them?
7. Do they repeatedly and wrongly accuse you of seeing or flirting with other people?
8. Does their jealousy stop you from seeing your friends or family?
9. Have they ever scared you with violence or threatening behavior?
10. Do you often do things to please them, rather than to please yourself?
11. Do they prevent you from going out or doing things that you want to do?
12. Do they say they will kill or hurt themselves if you break up with them?
13. Do they make excuses for their behavior, for example, by saying it is because of alcohol or drugs, or because they cannot control their temper, or that they were ‘just joking’?
Facts about domestic violence:
1. A woman is beaten every few seconds in the United States.
2. Battering someone is assault, assault is a crime.
3. Violent families are found in every income category, ethnic background, racial group, educational level and profession.
4. Boys who grow up in violent homes are more likely to be abusive partners as adults.
5. More children are served in battered women’s shelters than are adults.
6. Battering is the single major cause of injury to women in the United States.
7. Workplace absenteeism caused by domestic violence results in a major economic loss exceeding $100 million annually.
8. Battered women have twice as many miscarriages as non-battered women.
The red flags and facts were taken from the WINGS brochure and informational flyer.