Hundreds march in West Reading to condemn domestic violence, sexual assault

The Safe Berks Celebration of Peace and Walk For NO MORE took place Saturday June 18, along Penn Avenue in West Reading kicking off Art on the Avenue.

Penn State Health St. Joseph Medical Center and Olivet Boys & Girls Club of Reading & Berks County were chosen to receive the Safe Berks Voices for Change awards. The award honors individuals and institutions whose work makes a significant contribution to furthering the mission of Safe Berks.

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“Penn State Health St. Joseph Medical Center helps Safe Berks and survivors in so many ways,” said Meghan Sager, Co-Manager of the Community Outreach & Response (COR) Department at Safe Berks, which includes the Medical Advocacy Partnership Program (MAPP).

“They welcome our MAPP Specialists into their facilities to support survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, and they understand the importance of patients connecting to our services. We also have the opportunity to provide education to healthcare professionals about these important issues and help prepare them for situations when survivors disclose abuse.”

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In addition, the Penn State Health St. Joseph Foundation has donated office furniture to Safe Berks and has coordinated a Back-To-School Donation Drive, providing new backpacks and school supplies to the children of Safe Berks. The Foundation has also assisted Safe Berks by covering the costs of prescription medications for clients who do not have these costs covered by insurance.

The Olivet Boys & Girls Club of Reading & Berks County has also helped Safe Berks in many ways.

“The Olivet Boys & Girls Club provides free memberships and free summer camp experiences to the children of survivors working with Safe Berks,” said Arianna Sanchez, Lead Residential Children’s Advocate at Safe Berks.

“These positive educational and social activities help children and teens heal from the trauma of experiencing or witnessing domestic violence. Their dedicated staff work closely with our staff to coordinate care whenever we need help, even if it is last minute.”

Beth Garrigan, Safe Berks CEO added “In addition to all the help these two amazing organizations provide to Safe Berks, we chose to honor them because of the support they provide to the entire Berks County community.”

Safe Berks provides a safe haven and support for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault through education, advocacy and a relentless commitment to prevent abuse. Safe Berks services include shelter, a 24-hour Hotline and text line, counseling, legal services, community outreach and response, medical advocacy, systems advocacy, and education. Safe Berks services are free and confidential. Services are available in English and Spanish and will be translated into any other language needed.

Safe Berks served more than 4,000 clients in the last fiscal year. The 24-Hour Hotline number is 844-789-SAFE (7233), or text SAFE BERKS to 20121.

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