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First Lady Highlights Domestic Violence Programs
Spring, 2009

Photo of Michelle Paige Paterson Tour includes visit to Equinox, a Women's Fund-supported shelter

New York First Lady Michelle Paige Paterson recently toured the Equinox Domestic Violence Shelter in Albany, highlighting the need for such programs — including those funded by The Women's Fund — to break the cycle of abuse in families.

"We were excited to have the First Lady visit, and to learn that she has served as a domestic violence volunteer herself," said Mary Seeley, Executive Director of Equinox and a Founding Five Hundred Member of The Women's Fund. "Domestic violence isn't a problem that can be solved easily, and we appreciate bringing such attention to the issue."

During the visit, Mary introduced the First Lady to a mother and daughter who had been sheltered by Equinox 14 years ago. The daughter is now grown up and working as a Case Manager at Equinox in its Transitional Living Program for Youth. Both women remembered the shelter as a safe haven in which they received support from staff to help them transition to a safe and loving home of their own. "We greatly appreciate The Women's Fund for helping our women and girls have a brighter future," said Mary.

The Women's Fund of the Capital Region is also a champion of domestic violence programs, and has funded several in the past three years, including the development of "Career Development for Underemployed Women" a partnership between Albany Community Action Partnership and Equinox, designed to help low-income women and domestic violence victims become self-supporting. Studies have found that in families experiencing domestic violence, children are more likely to also be abused and that daughters are more likely to be victims of sexual abuse. Witnessing abuse also increases the likelihood of violent behavior in the future, particularly for boys. The shelter, safety planning, legal advocacy and counseling that domestic violence programs provide make a positive difference not only in the victim's life, but in her children's future as well.

The Women's Fund is proud to have also funded these programs to help break the intergenerational cycle of abuse: Project Hope and Power, a collaboration of Domestic violence and Rape Crisis Services of Saratoga and Soroptomists International of Saratoga County; and Project S.S.A.F.E., a partnership of Unity House, The Literacy Volunteers of Rensselaer, and Capital Communications Federal Credit Union.