BALOG COLUMN: Honoring women, helping women
If you haven't figured out what to get your mom for Mother's Day this week, here's an alternative that might make a more lasting impact than a bouquet or brunch.
My Sister's House is encouraging people to honor their mothers — or any woman who has made a difference in their lives — by donating to the nonprofit.
The fundraising campaign includes a video produced by and starring students from the Charleston County School of the Arts. Students praise their moms, thanking them for bringing them into the world and for the sacrifices they've made. One says that her mom “puts a roof over my head.” That's the same thing My Sister's House does.
In 2012, My Sister's House provided 5,992 sheltered nights for women from Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties. They helped 90 mothers and more than 100 children to live free from abuse as a result.
The fundraising video is available on YouTube and on the My Sister's House Facebook page.
Sarah Fitzgerald, who teaches music technology and media arts at SOA, said the school's partnership with My Sister's House goes back at least 10 years, when the theater department wrote a play for them. The video is a new way to extend that relationship.
“It's something we're really proud of being able to do,” Fitzgerald said. “We try to get as much community service as we can out there.”
It's a great partnership and a great experience for the students.
Need never ends
The shelter and its staff are busy this month, as usual, said Executive Director Elmire Raven. A workshop called “Breaking the Cycle: Recognizing the Correlation Between Bullying and Domestic Violence,” is set for Monday, co-sponsored by the S.C. Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. A domestic violence workshop for law enforcement is planned May 28.
In between, Raven and representatives from North Charleston and the MUSC National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center will travel to Washington, D.C., on May 14 to learn more about how to implement a $200,000 grant from the U.S. Justice Department.
The crime victim's center gets the bulk of the money, but some is earmarked for My Sister's House for a victim-service liaison.
“Basically, the folks from Washington have said, after the meeting, we would have a better feel for what is expected of us,” she said. “We'll just have to figure out what it is we need to do to be selected” for the second and third year renewal, she said.
The North Charleston crime rate and South Carolina's ranking as the No. 2 state in the nation where women are killed by men are unfortunately likely to make a strong case for renewal. So if you're a woman who needs a safe place to stay, call the 24-hour crisis line at 843-744-3242.
And if you're not, you can honor your mother, and help someone else's, by participating in the My Sister's House Mother's Day fundraiser.