Celebrating Holidays During Social Distancing

As we are sheltering in place and/or social distancing, we are not able to gather with family and community to mark the passing of time, holidays, celebrations as we typically do.

The ways we connect this year may look different than they have in the past – and that’s okay. It is still possible to connect and celebrate/commemorate holidays.

Here are some ideas to help you find ways to celebrate upcoming holidays while stay at home guidelines remain in effect. These ideas may not work for everyone, but they might get your creativity flowing to find a safe, healthy solution that works for you:

  • Adapt family traditions to be able to continue them virtually. For example, if someone you celebrate with is known for picking the music for the day, ask them to make a shared music playlist so everyone can jam out while you’re apart. If your gatherings typically include a potluck-style meal, exchange recipes so you can eat some of the same foods that you would typically share. Designate a time for a moment of silence together to commemorate more solemn occasions.
  • This is a great time to start new traditions! What works for you and your household/community? For example, you could learn to play a new game – in-person if living together or virtually if not. You could look at photos from the past and exchange your favorites, have a dance party, or even do a virtual visit of a destination by checking out museums and attractions that have added an online visit function.
  • Find some places online that can offer support/community. Reach out for support or to offer support where possible. Stay connected to others, and remember: you are not alone.

Building Connections During Social Distancing

Over the past few months, people all over the country have been staying home for the health of their families, loved ones, and communities. Social distancing can be challenging, as we are not able to see our friends, families, or loved ones in person. This can easily exacerbate feelings of sadness, anxiety, worry, and isolation. During the time we are asked to stay apart, we need each other more than ever.

Even though we may not be able to connect in the ways that we’re used to, we can still maintain our social and emotional health and well being by staying connected virtually. Our social wellness is connected to our sense of meaning and belonging, as well as to our emotional and metal health. Even connecting with others for just a few dedicated minutes per day can combat the impact of social distancing. It’s important to remember to let someone know what you need during this time, in addition to checking in with others.

Feelings of loneliness and isolation may disproportionately affect those whose primary sources of connection are community based. Although we may not be able to attend these events in person, there are ways to maintain those connections virtually.

Try the following ways of connecting with yourself and others virtually – compiled by our Margaret’s Place counselors – until it is safe to do so in person:

  • Write or create art about your experience and share it with family and friends. Look for healthy and safe ways to express your experience.
  • Nourish your physical self – the mind and body are connected. Look for ways to connect with nature, even if you can’t get outside.
  • Maintain routine where possible and set boundaries around the way you spend your time. Connect when you need to and disconnect when you need to.
  • Try to maintain your hobbies and interests. Find an online group who shares your interests.
  • Start a virtual book club with a group of friends. Read a book together and check in to discuss.
  • Schedule video calls with friends and family like you would schedule a work or school meeting.
  • Take virtual tours of museums, national parks, and more both in and beyond your own geographical region. It’s a great time to explore arts and culture!

Remember to keep in touch, and be well!

Act Now to Get Support for Survivors

YOUR ACTION IS NEEDED!

As our co-founder and chairman shared with CNN, the COVID-19 pandemic is disproportionately affecting survivors of domestic violence and abuse – stay at home does not mean safe at home.

We’re asking you to contact your Congressional representatives to ask for more funding to support survivors.

You can find your Senators and their contact information HERE and your Representative and their contact information HERE. You can find Members’ social media handles HERE. If you have contacts in Congressional offices, email is also an effective way to get in touch with staff who are working remotely.

Call/email script:

“Hello. My name is [your name], and I am a constituent [calling/emailing] from [your location and, if applicable, your program]. COVID-19 disproportionately impacts victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence, and Congress must act to support them and address their needs. This includes providing more funding for programs and ensuring survivors have access to services, housing, and economic stability; waiving grant match requirements; ensuring immigrants have access to health, safety, and stability; and addressing the long term impacts of this crisis on survivors by addressing dwindling deposits into the Crime Victims Fund. We’re counting on you to protect victims and survivors.”

Thank you for taking action today!

If you are looking for other ways to support the cause, please consider making a gift to Safe At Home today.

Denim Day 2020

Denim Day is a campaign on a Wednesday in April in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The campaign began after a ruling by the Italian Supreme Court where a rape conviction was overturned because the justices felt that since the victim was wearing tight jeans she must have helped the person who raped her remove her jeans, thereby implying consent. The following day, the women in the Italian Parliament came to work wearing jeans in solidarity with the victim.

Each year, our peer leaders run an awareness campaign and join the Annual Denim Day Rally to raise awareness about sexual assault, dispel myths, and show their support for survivors. This year, we went digital!

Members of the Safe At Home team – including our co-founders Ali and Joe Torre – shared brief video messages throughout April to commemorate Denim Day:

The Annual New York City Rally also went fully virtual with a digital pledge and a series of videos from experts and survivors about sexual assault prevention. To spread the word about the event, they had a promotional poster that was actually designed by one of Safe At Home’s alumni interns, Julissa – check out her beautiful poster below, and watch the digital rally playlist now!

We have also prepared a guide in English and in Spanish for how to better support survivors of sexual assault and violence. You can read the full guide now. 

If you or someone you know is experiencing sexual abuse or violence, you are not alone. You can contact any of the following hotlines for additional support.
Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) 24-hour Hotline: 1-800-656-4673
National Domestic Violence Hotline 24-Hour Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 TDD: 1-800-787-3284
Safe Horizon Domestic Violence 24-Hour Hotline (NYC-based): 1-800-621-4673 TDD: 866-604-5350

Si usted o alguien conocido ha sido afectado(a) por la violencia sexual, no es su culpa. Usted no está solo(a). Hay ayuda disponible las 24 horas del día, 7 días por semana por medio de la Línea de Ayuda Nacional Online de Asalto Sexual: 800.656.4673 y online.rainn.org, y en español: rainn.org/es.

Introducing Safe At Home’s Stressbusters

Stress is the body’s physical, mental, and emotional reaction to any major event that requires an adjustment or response. It’s a normal part of life – but unfortunately is one that is exacerbated during times of crisis, like the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Safe At Home’s program team is excited to share with you a set of Stressbuster suggestions to encourage you to work through and overcome your stress at this difficult time.

View our full stressbuster tip sheet, or check out some of the suggestions below:

  • Explore together! There are many virtual experiences available online to discover.
  • Notice, acknowledge, and honor what has changed for your family.
  • Take the time to grieve what was lost.
  • Check in with other family members and friends. Build your family’s support system despite physical distance.
  • Create new family traditions! Take the opportunity to explore and adopt new routines and rituals as a family.
  • Safety plan as a family. If someone gets sick or needs help, make sure everyone knows who to turn to for help.
  • Respect each other’s boundaries. Everyone needs a little alone time, it’s okay to ask for space for yourself.
  • Have compassion – everyone is doing the best they can!

Looking for more resources? Visit our COVID-19 resources page for more support.

You can also check out NYC Well’s list of digital apps for additional mental health support!

 

Not Everyone Can Be Safe At Home – A Message on COVID-19

For thousands of people, home is the most dangerous place for them to be.

Survivors of domestic violence and child abuse often rely on going to work or school as a reprieve from the dangers they face at home. With teleworking and virtual school in place, survivors are at greater risk. In fact, research of past crisis events highlight that the number of incidents and the intensity of domestic violence and child abuse often increase at these times.

If you or someone you know is concerned about sheltering in place or social distancing in an abusive home, please call 1-800-799-7233. If you’re unable to speak safely, you can log onto thehotline.org or text LOVEIS to 22522.

While our Margaret’s Place rooms may be physically closed, our work continues – and we adapt. Our counselors are:

  • Reaching out to all of our counseling participants to provide transitional support, such as safety planning, information on safe coping strategies, and referrals to other mental health practices if they wish to continue counseling.
  • Compiling informational sheets and packets to provide techniques on coping with stress, supporting self-care, and more.
  • Seeking new ways to offer our violence prevention workshops virtually.

We also wanted to share information with all of you. Please visit our new COVID-19 resources page for some helpful tips and additional resources that you may find useful. We will continue to update this page in the days and weeks ahead.

On behalf of the entire Safe At Home team, we hope you and your loved ones stay safe and well at this time. Please know that we are here for you.

As ever, our mission is to educate to end the cycle of domestic violence and save lives. Given that the need is greater than ever, we hope that we can continue to count on you to make our work possible. We thank you helping increase the impact of our efforts, and we wish health and safety to you and your families. You can support us by visiting joetorre.org/donate, or by mailing a check to our new temporary address at:

Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation
138-44C Queens Blvd, Suite #339
Briarwood, NY 11435

Thank you,

Tracy Weber-Thomas
Acting Executive Director

Seasons Greetings & Gratitude

Fall and winter are full of holidays across cultures and religions. This year, our counselors commemorated many of these holidays in unique ways.

At the end of October, one of our counselors in Washington Heights used an art activity where young people made their own papel picado to honor their family members who have passed. This was done in celebration of Dia De Los Muertos, a traditional Mexican holiday, and was used to help our participants process grief and loss through art.

In late November, another one of our counselors led a gratitude scavenger hunt in advance of Thanksgiving. Students were encouraged to find things in nature, in their relationships, and within themselves to be thankful for. They also wrote letters of gratitude to people in their lives who they were thankful for to encourage positive, healthy relationships.

As we get into December, one of our counselors is also promoting the spirit of the season by encouraging small words and acts of kindness among students and school staff. On the “take what you need” side of the board, peer leaders are leaving handwritten messages in envelopes that anyone in the school can pick up and keep if they need a boost of positivity to get through their day. On the “give what you can” side of the board, small tasks are being placed to create a kindness in someone else’s day – such as holding the door open for someone, complimenting a friend, and more – that anyone in the school can pick up and commit to doing.

We’re excited to share our gratitude scavenger hunt with you in case you’d like to make the activity your own at home this holiday season.

Want to learn more about our program? Visit our Margaret’s Place page to get a full look at what we do.

2019 Domestic Violence Awareness Month Campaigns

Every October, our peer leaders across the country commemorate Domestic Violence Awareness Month with an awareness campaign. This year’s theme centered on the concept of superheroes – how small actions, like speaking up about domestic violence or listening to a friend, makes you a hero in the fight to end violence. Students had the chance to participate in workshops and contribute to art pieces where they shared what action or power they will use to raise awareness.

Visit our Facebook page to check out a full gallery of the work our programs did!

We also are excited to share our campaign coloring pages with you so you can think of creative ways that you can use your power to end violence – in both English and Spanish.

Raising Awareness with MLB

In August and September, Safe At Home had the exciting opportunity to share our powerful message with a wider audience: the fans of the New York Yankees, Cincinnati Reds, New York Mets, and Los Angeles Dodgers. At each ballpark, we hosted an awareness night, where fans viewed our new PSA on the jumbotron before the game. Guests at home got in on the action, too, when co-founder Joe Torre spoke with broadcasters about our mission.

Check out a few the press coverage from these four games:

We want to thank Ace Endico, who commemorated our awareness night with the New York Yankees by presenting a generous gift of $25,000 to support Safe At Home on the field before the game.

We would also like to thank each of the teams for their generosity and support of our mission.

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