Women who have survived domestic violence were given information about employment and education during an empowerment workshop at the New York City Family Justice Center in Queens last week.
Before the presentations began, the women spoke about what they were hoping to gain – recovering the things they lost, furthering their educations and building friendships, among other reasons.
The presenters included Yevi Granovskaya, a career counselor of the Division of Adult & Continuing Education at LaGuardia Community College; Shandeeyaky Shabazz, Queens branch manager of Dress for Success; Brandi Jarath, a certified credit counselor and bankruptcy petition preparer; and Pat Thomas, chief executive officer of Thomas Consulting Company.
A business owner and domestic violence survivor spoke about her own experiences before leading the women in some exercises.
“I want to say to you don’t give up,” she said. “You can make it.”
Yolanda Jiminez, commissioner of the Mayor’s office to Combat Domestic Violence, said that this is the third workshop that has been held in the Queens center, which opened in July of 2008.
The recent one was made possible through the Greater Queens Chapter of Links Inc. Links is a national organization that was established in 1946. Its “membership consists of 12,000 professional women of color in 270 chapters,” according to its web site, www.linksinc.org.
The Queens chapter was started in 2006.
“We started doing enrichment seminars for women victims of domestic violence,” explained Jacqueline Arrington-Pinkard, a national trends co-chair for the Queens chapter. “This is how we would bring resources to them – through speakers, through seminars, through opportunities to meet women in the business world and help them understand what the next steps are.”
Jiminez said that these workshops help let victims know what resources are out there, as well as to show them that they are not alone. She said they are able to hear that there is a way and a way to achieve success and become self-sufficient.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity,” Jiminez said, adding that she felt indebted to Links for sponsoring the seminar.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, call 3-1-1 or the domestic violence hotline at 1-800-621-HOPE.