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OritaniBank Charitable Foundation

Friday, November 1, 2013

OritaniBank Charitable Foundation awarded Center for Hope and Safety with a grant for its Children’s Program in November. Oritani Bank established the OritaniBank Charitable Foundation in 2007 to assist not-for-profit organizations that help to improve the quality of life for area residents, especially those members of its communities most in need. “We have supported Center for Hope and Safety for many years now because we believe the organization performs an invaluable service by protecting vulnerable children,” said Kevin J. Lynch, President of the OritaniBank Charitable Foundation and Chairman, President, and CEO of Oritani Bank. “More than 150 children a year are involved in the program, and with the help of Center for Hope and Safety they can begin to repair their lives after the impact of domestic violence. The future of Bergen County and our communities is truly about the future of our children, which is why we are so proud to support Center for Hope and Safety’s positive work.”   Pictured below are: Kevin J. Lynch, Elaine K. Meyerson and William McInerney, Center for Hope and Safety Trustee.
Oritani Bank

Finding the Path That Leads Away From Domestic Violence

Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Opinion Piece

Finding the Path That Leads Away From Domestic Violence 

Elaine K. Meyerson

As you round the curve in Van Saun County Park in Paramus and River Edge, just before you get to the playground and the children’s zoo and the train ride and the carousel, you might not notice the small garden of shrubs and flowers to your right.

If you were to park there and walk around a bit at this time of year, you’d find a few hardy zinnias and asters, bright splashes of purple and pink holding fast against the rising swirl of autumn brown and rust.

 The flower beds line a series of walkways where the bricks carry a message:

“In honor of all the women brave enough to leave and those who couldn’t.”

 “No more fear.”

 “With every breath I will fight to stay a survivor.”

The bricks share messages of hope and gratitude—and love—for women who have survived domestic violence. Messages of sorrow and fond remembrance—and love—for those who did not.

“Bahaa he took your life but your memory lives on in our hearts 4 ever.”

It’s all part of the Center for Hope and Safety Pathway to Self-Sufficiency, a quiet enclave dedicated 12 years ago in a collaborative effort with the Bergen County Parks Department. Bahaa, in fact, was a dearly beloved Center for Hope and Safety transitional housing resident, murdered at the age of 39.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and a visit to the Pathway is a vivid way to remind ourselves that yes, it happens here, in beautiful Bergen County, every day and every month of the year.

We live in an area of comparative wealth, privilege, and comfort. It is too easy to forget that domestic violence invades neighborhoods both rich and poor, afflicts people of all ages and religions, and creates  suffering across all socioeconomic groups. It happens in every zip code, at every exit along the Garden State Parkway. The Center for Hope and Safety emergency hotline receives 4,000 calls a year—4,000 cries for help. 

The good news is that services for battered women and children have come a long way in this country over the past 40 years. With Center for Hope and Safety, what started as an emergency shelter in the 1970s is now a diverse and expanding array of services—legal advocacy, transitional housing, educational support, job readiness training, therapy for children—because families who are escaping an abuser must start their lives over and need the skills and support to do so. 

In fact, the need in our  North Jersey communities is such that Center for Hope and Safety this month has embarked on a $2 million capital campaign to purchase and renovate a Community Program Center and administrative headquarters in Rochelle Park. Its  focus will be on programs for families who don’t need emergency shelter but do need help—community outreach and education, multicultural services, 1-to-1 counseling, parenting support groups, and creative arts therapy for children who have suffered the shattering effects of domestic violence in their homes.

The bad news is that not enough people know that help is available through a number of agencies (see listing below). We all work in close partnership, but our domestic violence awareness efforts will achieve only half their goal if we simply help people understand  that we have a problem. The other half of awareness is knowing that something can be done about it and knowing where to turn.  

In Bergen County, where to turn includes the following 24-hour hotlines:

Center for Hope and Safety: 201-944-9600

Bergen County Alternatives to Domestic Violence: 201-336-7575

Healing SPACE (A Sexual Violence Resource Center): 201-487-2227

The brick in Van Saun says it simply: 

  “To the women who can’t leave we feel your pain and we are always here for you.”

            Center for Hope and Safety Pathway Brick

Elaine Meyerson is Executive Director of Center for Hope and Safety and has served in that capacity for the past  27 years.

Center for Hope and Safety Launches “Building for the Future: Safety, Strength & Hope: A Campaign To Meet The Growing Needs of Domestic Violence Victims

Monday, October 7, 2013

(Hackensack, NJ)  October 7, 2013.  Domestic violence is a growing problem in Bergen County, and the need for services for those in crisis continues to mount.  To meet these demands, Center for Hope and Safety (Center for Hope and Safety), Bergen County’s only comprehensive nonprofit agency for victims of domestic violence, today has launched “Building for the Future: Safety, Strength and Hope,” a capital campaign to raise $2 million. The funds will go toward the purchase and renovation of a facility in Rochelle Park that will serve as agency headquarters and a hub for all the non-emergency services Center for Hope and Safety provides.

Under the plan, Center for Hope and Safety will be consolidating many of its key programs, including community outreach and multi-cultural services, transitional housing offices, a follow-up program for former clients,  and Project CHILD, a creative arts therapy program to help children cope with the shattering impact of violence they’ve experienced. The agency’s administrative offices, now based in Hackensack, will also be housed in Rochelle Park. 

Agency staff, board members, volunteers, donors, and public officials took part Monday in a campaign launch ceremony at the site of the new facility. Currently, Center for Hope and Safety services are spread over four buildings in separate towns, which makes management of services burdensome and inefficient. Lack of space has also led to waiting lists for many of its key programs. ”Quite simply, the demand for our services has outgrown the capacity of our facilities,” says Elaine K. Meyerson, Executive Director of Center for Hope and Safety. “If we can consolidate our community-based, non-emergency programs under one roof, we will help to ensure confidentiality and security at the emergency shelter.  Equally important, we will be able to serve the broader community more effectively and reach out to more people in need, including many women and children who don’t require emergency shelter but do need assistance with life-saving services and self-sufficiency skill-building.” 

To donate to “Building for the Future” campaign click “Donate.”

One in four women will experience domestic violence from a partner during her lifetime.  In Bergen County, latest figures available indicate that 4521 of women were victims of domestic violence in 2011, a number that continues to rise. 

The Capital Campaign is considered the most significant journey of growth since Center for Hope and Safety was founded 37 years ago. Since that time, Center for Hope and Safety has offered refuge to thousands of women and children by providing a diversified continuum of services that focus on attaining safety, empowerment, and self-sufficiency.  Center for Hope and Safety’s life-saving programs for domestic violence victims in Bergen County include:  a 24-hour hotline; a confidential emergency shelter; transitional housing; crisis counseling; case management; children’s programming; legal assistance; Hispanic outreach; financial literacy and work-readiness training; follow-up services; assistance to abused elderly and disabled persons; and community education to increase awareness of domestic violence.

Support from the community for this campaign will help Center for Hope and Safety fulfill its mission of helping women and children victims of DV rebuild their lives. 


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Some 240 years ago, the “green” across from the Bergen County Courthouse in Hackensack was a campground for both British and American troops during the Revolution. For the past 20 years, the green has been witness to a different type of uprising, a groundswell of emotion from victims of domestic violence, who are saying—in words laden with grief and anger, but energized by firm resolve—that this form of human tyranny must end.

The words of the victims appeared on t-shirts—t-shirts they had made themselves, each one sending a message to the world, calling attention to the scourge of domestic violence and reminding us that it is happening in our own communities here in Bergen County. The t-shirts were strung, clothesline after clothesline, criss-crossing this way and that, message upon message, all across the green, more than 1,800 of them, blanketing the plaza on a splendidly bright summer day.

It was September 18, a day when public officials, social service agencies, and citizens converged  on the courthouse green to mark the 20th anniversary of the Bergen County Clothesline Project.  The initiative began nationally in 1990 in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and was started here in North Jersey a few years later by the Rape Crisis Center (now known as healingSPACE) of the Bergen County YWCA. 

Lydia Pizzute, founder of the Bergen County Clothesline Project, said that the program “has given us an opportunity to bring awareness of domestic violence to the community, literally taking it to the streets. It has offered victims and survivors a way to speak out without having to identify themselves.”

Making a t-shirt and seeing it on display in public, she said, has given women a sense of empowerment, and seeing the t-shirts made by other women with similar stories to share has built camaraderie and a feeling of connectedness to fellow survivors. About 10 years ago t-shirts made by male victims of abuse were  added to the project.

 “Each shirt signifies someone who made a change in her life and made a decision not to be a victim any more,” said Lil Corcoran, Associate Executive Director of Center for Hope and Safety, one of the first agencies in the nation to offer shelter to battered women.

“These are hard stories to hear,” noted State Sen. Loretta Weinberg, “but we have to publicize them to break the chain of violence.” Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan added, “Wouldn’t it be great if we could meet someplace and have no t-shirts to display? We can all work toward that day.”

Speaking eloquently and from direct and painful experience on the subject was Desirae, a domestic violence survivor who said, “I was held captive. Abuse controlled my life, my voice, my ability to grow.” She dropped out of community college when she was pregnant.  

 Desirae found help and hope through Center for Hope and Safety, discovering “a nonjudgmental atmosphere where optimism was encouraged.”  Today she is a dean’s list student at Fairleigh Dickinson University, majoring in psychology and criminal justice … serving an internship at a homeless shelter … taking care of her son … and building a new life.

“This event marks how far we’ve come,” said State Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle. “We still know we have a long way to go.” Long a supporter of domestic violence legislation, Rep. Huttle is now focusing on efforts to stop human trafficking, yet another vestige of oppression against girls and women of all ages. 

For each survivor who finds freedom from oppression and domestic tyranny, who finds a liberated voice to express their own Independence Day, the Clothesline remains a tribute to their indomitable spirit and resolve to end the scourge of violence against women and all of humankind. 

Where to find help in Bergen County:

The Center for Hope and Safety 24-hour emergency hotline is 201-944-960.

The 24-hour hotline for HealingSPACE—A Sexual Violence Resource Center (formerly Rape Crisis Center) is 201-487-2227.

The 24-hour hotline for Alternatives to Domestic Violence is 201-336-757.



Eileen Fisher Awards Center for Hope and Safety with a Community Partnership Grant

Center for Hope and Safety received a grant from Eileen Fisher for its Transitional Housing Program. Eileen Fisher supports nonprofits that are located in the same town or city as one of their offices, retail stores or showrooms. They also support women and girls through social initiatives that address their well-being.



If you or someone you know is being abused call our 24 hour hotline.

(201) 944-9600

Numero de emergencia las 24 horas


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November 30, 2014 - December 24, 2014



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