In Support of the Domestic Violence Shelter
by Bonnie Sklar
Eight local organizations have "adopted rooms at Unity House's Families in Crisis domestic violence shelter in Troy to help a cold reality seem a little warmer for women in transition. The confidential shelter houses adults and children who are victims of domestic violence and are in a crisis situation.
The shelter is clean and in good structural shape after recent renovations and painting. However, there were no soft or decorative touches to make the rooms feel welcoming and comfortable for this home-away-from-home or home while there is no home.
All the shelters' rooms have been "adopted" by the following organizations: Albany Association of Life Underwriters, Community Bank Women, Northeast Health, Pioneer Savings Bank, The Record, Samaritan Hospital, Unity House Board of Directors and Washburn & McGoldrick.
This fall, each group had one or two representatives visit the shelter, see the bare room they will decorate and to take any measurements they deemed necessary. Some of the items they will be providing include: bedspreads, comforters, matching sheets and pillowcases, coordinated curtains and bedside rugs, decorative wall borders, stenciling, framed pictures, posters or mirrors to fit the room's decor, and any small decorative or vanity items they may care to add.
Over the next couple of months, after the groups have planned their design and purchased or acquired the items needed to make it a reality, their representatives will return to the shelter to set up "their" room.
"Everyone at the shelter is excited about what has begun to happen to the rooms here. It's hard to describe what a difference having a theme of colors spread throughout a room through pictures on the wall, blankets on the bed and curtains on the window can do for someone coming to the shelter. They have already been ripped away from any creature comforts they may have had in their home. They are displaced, scared and uncertain of new surroundings. Through this project, it is our hope that when a consumer and their children walk into one of our rooms that they will feel comforted, nurtured and protected" said Janice Treanor, assistant director and shelter coordinator for Unity House's Families in Crisis program.
When this was written only one room was completed. The person in this room said, "What a difference a few items can make. The room has gone from being desolate to comforting."
When all the rooms are done, Unity House will provide a small sign or plaque on the door of each room, crediting the organization that adopted and decorated it.
Families in Crisis provides crisis intervention, 24-hour domestic violence hotline, safe shelter, housing support services, counseling, legal and social service advocacy, children's services, parenting and life skills education, information and referral, aftercare support groups and community education.
In cooperation with Troy United Ink Corp., a not-for-profit corporation