SUNY Delhi Students Support Victims of Violence
Campus rallies to fill comfort bags during a "SUNY's Got Your Back" event
Delhi, NY (02/08/2019) — SUNY's Got Your Back is a campaign spanning all SUNY campuses across the state to support victims and survivors of domestic or sexual violence and provide violence prevention education. SUNY Delhi was proud to participate in the movement by hosting an event on campus to create comfort kits for those seeking shelter from violence. The kits contain personal care items and will be distributed to local domestic violence shelters, hospitals, and other service providers.
"This is the kick-off event of the year," said Joseph Storch, Organizer of SUNY's Got Your Back. "The turnout is amazing. For a smaller campus like Delhi, the amount of volunteers we're seeing today is incredible."
"It's great to see the whole campus come together, from students to staff and faculty and even community members, to bring awareness to dating violence in such a tangible, positive way," said Lori Osterhoudt, Director of Health and Counseling at SUNY Delhi. "Delhi has a long tradition with community service and we regularly partner with the local chapter of Safe Against Violence to educate the public."
Johana Saimbeau, a criminal justice major, volunteered at the event with her sorority sisters by bagging toiletry items. She is also a peer educator at SUNY Delhi's Health and Counseling Services. "SUNY's Got Your Back has such an important message. As a peer educator, bringing awareness to healthy relationships and dating or domestic violence is a crucial part of our program."
Students Felix Melchor and Demitri Brunson were among the hundreds of students walking through the bag assembly line time after time to fill as many bags as possible. They said they came because it's a good cause and offers a unique way to participate. "You get to see exactly what goes into these bags which makes it more personal."
SUNY's Got Your Back Director Elizabeth Brady said that's exactly the point. "We want the victims to know that people cared enough to gather together and assemble these items for them. Each bag also contains a hand-written message of support."
During the four-hour event, SUNY Delhi almost doubled its goal by assembling close to 2,000 bags, adding to the more than 30,000 bags filled across the state since the project launched in 2016.
Co-sponsored by the SUNY Delhi's Student Athletic Advisory Committee, the charity event was followed by "Bronco Gold Night" featuring both men's and women's basketball games at Clark Field House to celebrate the effort. The comfort bags were presented to Danielle Tucker, Victims Counselor for Safe Against Violence at Delaware Opportunities Inc, and will also be distributed to other local service providers. Danielle sees first-hand how much a comfort kit can mean to someone seeking shelter from violence. "Sometimes people come to us with nothing but the clothes on their back. To receive a thoughtfully assembled bag with high-quality personal care items can bring victims some much-needed comfort and hope."