TheVoice - Underground Railroad, Inc.



TheVoice - Underground Railroad, Inc.
Winter 2011
PHONE: 989-399-0007
Underground Railroad, Inc.
FAX: 989-399-0010
TOLL FREE: 888-399-8385
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Board of Directors
Jamie Nisidis, Chair
Valerie Hoffman, President/CEO
Mari McKenzie, Treasurer
Bambi Straebel, Secretary
Ann Helmer
Kristin McFall
B. Carole Trier
Joanna Morris
Connie Putnam
Lynne Turner
Mission Statement
To provide shelter and services
for survivors of domestic violence,
stalking and sexual assault.
To provide leadership and programs
to end violence against women
in our community.
Shocking Acts of Violence . . . . . . . . 1
Letter from the Executive Director . . . 2
Spotlight: Lisa Hall . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Edible Arrangements . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Donations to U.T.R. Help . . . . . . . . . 3
D.A.R.T. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Rally for the Railroad . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Shelter Wish List . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Holiday Giving . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Acts of Violence
We all followed the recent shocking news about the shooting in a Seal Beach hair
salon where an estranged husband murdered his ex-wife and her seven co-workers in an
unspeakable act of domestic violence.
These shocking public acts of violence are an assault against all of us! Though more
common outside of the workplace, domestic violence makes far too many family homes
places of fear for women who are battered by male partners, and for children who witness
or experience such abuse. Even when children in an abusive household are not directly
injured, exposure to violence in the home can contribute to behavioral, social, and
emotional problems that play out in forms such as dating violence and gang violence. It
can spill over beyond the home into senseless beatings on Saginaw neighborhood streets
or bullying in our high schools.
It is up to all community partners, judicial, police departments, school administrators,
religious leaders, local social service agencies and youth activity organizations to collaborate
to try and change the social norms that traditionally have led to male perpetrated violence,
and to promote positive roles for men and boys in our community. Many believe it is
time to galvanize our community, and particularly male leaders, to challenge aspects of
traditional masculinity that are harmful to women, children and to men themselves, and to
promote positive, nonviolent definitions of male strength, power, respect and trust.
Why focus on male violence? Isn’t the issue violence in general?
The reality is that the vast majority of domestic violence and violence in general is
perpetrated by men and boys, and both men and women suffer as a result. In fact, while
men and boys are violent toward a deplorable number of women and girls, the largest
number of victims of male violence are other men and boys. It is important that men speak
out against the idea that aggressive or violent behavior is “manly,” and promote healthy
Thank Yous . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Have you ever heard of the “bystander approach?” Through this approach, any person who
witnesses an abusive behavior or hears an oppressive statement takes the responsibility to
intervene. Intervening can stop a sexual assault from happening. Beyond that, intervening
takes the responsibility off of the person experiencing violence and holds the person
engaging in abusive behavior accountable. That one small action, a simple “that’s not
cool,” sends a powerful message to everyone who witnesses the event: harmful behaviors
are not tolerated in our community.
Upcoming Events & Fundraisers . . . . 6
Let’s all have a voice to stomp out Domestic and Sexual Violence in Saginaw County.
LunafestTM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Creative Ways to Support URR . . . . . 4
Girls on the Run. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
URR Support Groups . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
The Voice
Letter From the Executive Director
Dear Friends,
Is it just me or are others surprised to find it is almost
the end of another year? Where does the time go? Did you
accomplish all that you hope to this year? As I am pausing to
reflect on what we have accomplished this past year nothing
was possible without your help.
The numbers are impressive:
• 2,069 crisis calls answered
• 9,141 night’s in emergency shelter
• 463 youth completing “Healthy Relationship” programs
But the numbers do not tell the story for each individual
photo courtesy of
impacted by the service. Like the mother who called the crisis
line to get advice on how to best assist her daughter safely leave an abusive relationship. Or
the domestic violence victim who exclaimed to staff, after her first night in shelter, that it had
been six months since she was able to sleep through the whole night. And the ninth grader
who reported after completing the Healthy Relationship program that he felt more confident in
asking an adult for help with a bullying situation he was experiencing at school. All of these
stories were made possible because of you. Thank you.
Looking to next year we know there is still a lot more that needs to be done. It is estimated
that one of every three women in the world will be beaten, raped, or otherwise abused during
her lifetime, the safety of all women and the stability of their families and communities are
put at risk. . Violence against women is sustained by a culture of silence and denial of the
seriousness of the abuse, its consequences on the personal and social level, and its use as a tool
of domination. Ultimately, violence against women is a human rights violation that creates
obstacles to efforts for peace and gender equality in the United States and around the world.
As part of our mission to provide leadership to end violence against women in our
community, Underground Railroad has reinvigorated our efforts to prevent violence against
women. Together with the commitment of our community, we recognize that ending genderbased violence will mean changing cultural concepts about masculinity, and that process must
actively engage men, whether they are policy makers, parents, spouses or young boys. While
many see Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking as primarily “women’s issues”,
these crimes also happen to men and boys and they affect our entire community. Everyone has
a role to play to end sexual and domestic violence. Now is the time to get informed and get
involved. So next year we will be working on efforts to increase community involvement
in ending violence against women in Saginaw County. In the coming months watch for
announcements about the” 100 Men Campaign.”
“My quality of life has improved tremendously after receiving specific services
from Underground Railroad like counseling, safety planning and housing
referrals. I feel much stronger and have a plan to set goals for myself and I
recognize that an abusive and controlling relationship is not normal.”
- A survivor who thought her situation wasn’t bad enough to qualify for services.
Until next year I wish you Peace in Your Home.
Valerie Hoffman
New Community
Lisa B. Hall
The Staff at Underground Railroad,
Inc. recently welcomed Lisa B. Hall
as our new Community Development/
Relations Manager.
Her responsibilities include:
• Overseeing the community
development department
• Media relations
• Fundraising • Grant writing
Hall holds a Bachelor of Science
Degree in Public Affairs from Indiana
University. Previous to working at
Underground Railroad, Inc., Hall was
the Business Manager at Andersen
Enrichment Center in Saginaw.
Edible Arrangements is teaming up
with URR to make birthday memories
for children in the emergency shelter.
Edible Arrangements creates fresh
fruit bouquets to make any occasion
special, and arrangements often include
chocolate dipped fruit. The company
will provide one original bouquet to
each child on his or her birthday. Upon
receiving the sweet surprise, one 7 year
old concluded, “I really, really love it.”
Contact Edible Arrangements to
create something special for any
occasion at 989-497-1002.
The Voice is published by Underground Railroad staff. Our purpose is to increase community awareness of sexual assault, domestic violence,
and stalking, while providing information about Underground Railroad as an organization. The Voice staff welcomes your feedback. Send
mail to: The Voice, c/o Underground Railroad, Community Relations Department, 5647 State Street, Suite A, Saginaw, MI 48603. We
reserve the right to edit all letters and articles for content and length and to refuse publication due to content.
The Voice
Donations To Under The Rainbow
Help Underground Railroad, Inc.
Under the Rainbow is a win-win solution for donors who wish to
help clients of Underground Railroad, Inc. (URR). The first and most
important use of in-kind donations of clothing and household items is to
help victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking get a new start. Each year,
URR helps over 4,000 families. A combination of more donations than we could store in the
emergency shelter and shrinking funding led us to a solution that we think works for everyone. Community members can support our mission by donating to Under the Rainbow. Our
clients use URR issued vouchers to “shop for free ” for the clothing and household items
they need. Revenue from the surplus donations provides funding for programs and services
needed by members of our community.
Additional benefits from Under the Rainbow include:
• additional emergency shelter rooms
• job skills training for URR clients
By working together, your donations become the pot of gold at the
end of Under the Rainbow, Underground Railroad’s resale shop.
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
D.A.R.T. Annual “Be Safe At Home”
Co-Ed Softball Tournament
The Saginaw County Domestic Assault Response Team (DART) held its 9th Annual “Be Safe
At Home” Co-Ed Softball Tournament on Tuesday, September 20th at Olson Park in Saginaw
Township to help raise awareness about domestic violence and promote networking among the
various agencies who work with the survivors and their families. The weather was perfect and a
great time was had by all. Home Run Sponsors for this year’s event were Police Chiefs Association
of Saginaw County, Saginaw County Law Enforcement Association, Saginaw Psychological
Services, Inc., and Valley OB-GYN Clinic, PC. Friend of DART Sponsors included Coppolino
Insurance Agency, Garpiel Landscaping, and Judge James Borchard.
The event was free to spectators and featured Judge James Borchard, representatives from local
police departments and the prosecutor’s office, MDOC probation officers, Underground Railroad
staff, and concerned citizens. Over $1,100 was raised and will be used to print bi-fold cards for
police officers to give to victims when responding to a domestic violence incident, DART Handbooks that offer information to victims encountering the criminal justice system, and training
dollars for individuals working with domestic violence victims.
A special Thank You goes to Shelly and Jessica Leachman and Whitney Borton for assistance
at the tournament, and Pat Hart and his crew from the Saginaw Township Parks and Recreation
Department for preparation and use of the fields.
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Rally For The Railroad
Frankenmuth vs. Birch Run
Girls Varsity volleyball teams
High school girls volleyball may be a competitive sport where there is always a winning
team in the end, however, this merger was one in which everyone was a winner.
On September 28, Frankenmuth and Birch Run participated in a charity volleyball game
and Underground Railroad was the recipient of a $6,045 gift given by hundreds of students,
teachers, players, parents, fans and businesses. Not only did the girls show their high level
ability and sportsmanship on the court, they also brought their winning attitudes to the Underground Railroad. The two teams toured the URR shelter and Under the Rainbow store to get
a better understanding of the value of our organization to the community. The girls spruced
up the play grounds at the shelter for the children by spending an afternoon weeding and
beautifying the space. There was even a little play time with some of the children.
Wish List
The emergency shelter
currently houses forty-six
women and children.
We also have up to 26 families
in transitional or permanent
housing at any given time.
Emergency Shelter
current needs include:
• Large sized diapers
(especially size 4 and 5), pull-ups
• Baby Wipes
• Slippers for women and children
• Pajamas for women and children
• Larger sized women’s clothing
• Cereal size bowls
• Wall clocks for guest rooms
• Alarm clocks for guest rooms
• Wall pictures for guest rooms
(without glass)
• Laundry detergent
• Basic cleaning supplies
• Toilet paper
• Paper towels
Items in bold are the items we are
extremely low on.
The Voice
Underground Railroad, Inc.
Holiday Giving Programs
The holiday season is quickly approaching and Underground
Railroad, Inc. is asking for assistance with our Adopt a Family
and Giving Tree holiday donation programs. All families receiving
donations are survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and
stalking. Many survivors have children who may not receive
gifts during the holiday season without the generous donations
from the community. Underground Railroad has several donation
programs including:
Adopt a Family
Donors are anonymously matched with a family.
Underground Railroad will provide the donor with the family’s wish list including
the number of family members, ages, gender and sizes of the children.
A typical list includes clothing, undergarments, bedding, bath and kitchen towels,
toys, cleaning supplies, and any special requests of the family.
Our goal is to have all families adopted by December 5, 2011.
Adopt the Emergency Shelter
Supply our emergency shelter with items needed for daily living. This includes paper
products, bath towels, sheets, blankets, pillows, and health products. Underground Railroad
will provide a general list of needed supplies to donors who select this option.
Giving Tree
Decorate a tree or display with ornaments labeled with individual items for women and
children. We use these items for victims and their children who unexpectedly enter our
emergency shelter near the holiday season
If you are interested in either the Giving Tree or Adopt the Emergency Shelter program, please
call 755-0411 for more information or e-mail Kari at [email protected]
If you are interested in the Adopt a Family program please call 755-0413, ext. 1225 or
e-mail Kari at [email protected]
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
The Underground Railroad and Hopevale Church hosted the
annual Domestic Violence Candlelight Vigil on October 6th.
The event honors victims, survivors, and secondary survivors
of domestic violence. The vigil included testimonials from
domestic violence survivors and their successes using services
provided by Underground Railroad.
This year, Underground Railroad honored Diane Deacon
with the Angel Award, given annually to those who assist domestic violence victims. Diane is
an English as well as a second language teacher at Omni Adult & Alternative Education.
Thank you to Hopevale Church for sponsoring LunafestTM 2011 during the Candlelight
Vigil. The evening included light snacks, popcorn and soft drinks. Attendees enjoyed a
variety of short, award winning films made by, for and about women. The church also made
space available for a very interesting local art display.
Positive images and poems, created by area youth and
adults filled the room for all to enjoy. A very special treat
was also in store for attendees. Stacie Dubay was on hand to display her award-winning and
highly acclaimed art creation, “The Door,” which represents a woman’s journey from domestic
violence victim to survivor.
This evening is a very important evening because it brings awareness to the crime of
domestic violence and allows Underground Railroad to contribute to the Breast Cancer Fund
through LunafestTM. We hope you will join us next year for this inspiring event.
and Fun
Ways to Support
There are many ways to help
Underground Railroad carry out our
mission to provide services to victims
of domestic violence, sexual assault
and stalking. Here are a few; you may
have some creative ways of your own.
Donate your old cell phones
We accept all used cell phones
iin any condition. They are
recycled through Shelter
Alliance. Last year we
raised nearly $1,000 from
old cell phones for a total of
approximately $5,000 since we
started the program in 2002. You can
drop used cell phones off at Under the
Rainbow and we do the rest. Better
yet, let us place a collection box at
your location.
Platinum card
There are 4 designs
to choose from. URR receives a
donation for each card and a
percentage of all purchases made
with the card. You receive rewards
points and all the benefits of a VISA
Platinum card. You can pick up an
application at Under the Rainbow, our
offices or the shelter.
Help us save on printing and
mailing costs by receiving
our newsletter via e-mail. You can
save the planet and support URR at
the same time. Send your request to
[email protected]
Pennies For Pages
Are you an avid reader or in a
book club? Are you a participant in
the Summer Reading Program?
Or do you just need an excellent
excuse to kick your feet up with a
good book? Ask friends and family
to donate a penny for each ppage
ag you
read. Sell each book
you finish to a used
book store, and
donate the money to
The Voice
Girls On The Run
Girls on the Run is a national non-profit prevention program that
encourages girls in grades 3-5 to develop self-respect and healthy lifestyles through running. The program combines training for a 3.1 mile
running event with self-esteem enhancing, uplifting workouts. The
goals are to encourage positive emotional, social, mental, spiritual and
physical development. The program has been very successful and now has sites at Carrollton
Elementary, Stone Elementary, Handley Elementary, Freeland Elementary and List Elementary
in Frankenmuth. The program, which hosts bi-weekly meetings, is $99 to join. The cost
includes new running shoes, T-shirts, snacks and other prizes. Scholarships are available.
Our local chapter of Girls on the Run is now operating under the umbrella of Under the
Rainbow, and we are proud to support the girls and coaches. You can see our Girls on the Run,
dressed in pink and green, during the annual Saginaw PRIDE Holiday 5k run on November
19. Come out and cheer them on or volunteer your time. Join the excitement, you’ll have a
blast. For more information about Girls on the Run or to volunteer, contact Jennifer Naegele
at 989-399-0007 ext. 109.
Thank Yous
A special thank you to our friends
and partners who donated child
care equipment and supplies to the
Barth Child Care Center located
at the shelter that were destroyed
by water damage.
• Robin Zeiter
Quality Improvement Specialist
Office for Young Children
• Kim Drake
Education Sales Consultant
• Pam Mahin
Child Advocacy
Alma, MI
• Jolene Bjorge
Early Childhood Services
• Midland County
Great Start Collaborative
• Julie Bash
Early Childhood &
Parenting Services
Saginaw, MI
United Way
Thank you to
everyone contributing
to Underground Railroad through
United Way. Your support is greatly
appreciated by our survivors and of
Saginaw County Staff.
of Saginaw County
Comment from Girls on the Run Coach:
Two moms have told me their daughters told them GOTR was the best part of their day. I can’t tell
you how many girls are hugging me and talking about GOTR! Some of the parents have even asked
us to consider continuing to meet with the girls and running with them after the program ends. One of
these parents told me her daughter has never wanted to participate in sports and now she is “running
all the time.” She said that she’s never seen her daughter so excited about anything.
One morning, I taped glittery stars with the words “GOTR SUPER STAR” to their lockers. One of
the girls was so proud of her star that she brought her mom, dad, and sisters back to school the night
I put them on the lockers so she could share it with them. YEAH for GOTR!
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Underground Railroad, Inc. Support Groups
URR support groups are for survivors of domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault.
Participation is confidential and voluntary. Please contact the group facilitator prior to attending
to confirm details about participation. For more information, call Underground Railroad at
(989) 755-0413 or visit our website:
Parent Support Group
For non-offending parents who are adult survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
Contact Jean B. at (989) 755-0413 ext. 216 for further information.
Domestic Violence Women’s Support Groups
For female adult survivors of domestic violence.
Contact Ivy C. or Erika A. at (989) 755-0413 for further information.
Children Support Group
For children ages 4 -10, who have witnessed domestic violence and/or
sexual assault.
Contact Jean B. at (989) 755-0413 ext. 216 for further information.
- 5,316 total hours in the
4th quarter
Our volunteers gave their time in the
following ways:
• Under The Rainbow resale store
• Emergancy Shelter
• Court support and
SafePlace assistance
• Child Care assistance
• Administrative assistance
• Maintenance assistance
• Girls on the Run
Thank you to all who give their
time and energy to the Underground
Railroad. Because of you the day
looks a little brighter to many women
and their families.
PERMIT NO. 00356
PHONE: 989-399-0007
FAX: 989-399-0010
Going Green
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receive a short e-mail
notifying you that the
latest newsletter has been
uploaded to our website,
send me an e-mail to
[email protected]
Don’t Forget URR
in your
Advocates for Change
May 10, 2012 • Article in future issue
100 Men Campaign
TBA • Article in future issue
TBA • Article in future issue