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New Beginnings

Welcome, 2015! At Blackburn Center, we are excited to begin a new year, with all of the promise of new beginnings. Our resolution for the new year is simple: to continue in our mission to advocate for the rights of all individuals to live free from domestic and sexual violence in their homes and communities, by eliminating the root causes of this violence and providing for the well-being and safety of survivors/victims.

We also plan to expand our outreach efforts through our social media and online presence. By reaching more people and sharing more information, we believe that we can make a real change in how people view gender violence — and that through education, we can ultimately eliminate the root causes of gender violence. This month, we will be launching our “Blackburn 101” series, which we hope will be an informative look at some of the terminology we regularly use (such as rape culture) that may not be familiar to all of our readers. If you have an idea for a Blackburn 101 post, please let us know!

Of course, we can’t achieve our goals without the support of our community. To truly end gender violence, we have to work together to make a change in our society. How can you make a fresh start in 2015? Here are some ideas:

  • Commit to being a conscious consumer of media. Far too often, we simply accept what is presented by pop culture and the media — despite how often it may objectify or degrade women and girls. To truly make a change in our society, we need to push back against root causes of gender violence such as these. Read up on how media can contribute to violence against women here, and commit to making a change!

  • Take the pledge to end gender violence. One of the best ways to join the fight to end gender violence is to commit to making changes in your own life so that you are not contributing to or perpetuating the violence. From speaking out when someone makes a sexist, misogynistic or homophobic remark to asking a loved one if she or he needs help, the pledge to end gender violence provides concrete ways to make a real difference in your life and the lives of those around you. Read more and take the pledge here!

  • Volunteer with Blackburn Center. If you are looking for a way to make a difference in the lives of victims of domestic and sexual violence, please consider volunteering with Blackburn Center. From answering hotline calls to handing out literature at health fairs to reading books to children at the shelter and performing administrative tasks, our volunteers perform a wide variety of work to help us provide services to the women, children and men of Westmoreland County. Read more about becoming a Blackburn Center volunteer and apply online here!

  • Donate to Blackburn Center. Our organization is partially funded by federal and state programs; to fully fund our programs and services, we rely on our Westmoreland County community. These local funds come from the United Way of Westmoreland County, foundations, local businesses, churches, civic groups, and people like you! There are a number of ways to donate to Blackburn Center, from one-time and recurring donations, items for our shelter, and gifts in honor or memory of a loved one. All donations are tax-deductible! For more information and a list of shelter items needed, click here!

  • Guest Blog for Blackburn Center. We are incredibly lucky in Westmoreland County to have committed staff, volunteers, board members and donors who help us to provide services to approximately 3,000 people each year. You are all so amazing — and we want to hear from you! If you would like to blog for Blackburn Center on any issue related to our mission, check out our submission guidelines here and email your post to us!

  • Share Blackburn Center’s message. Our social media and online outreach is growing — and we hope to reach even more people in 2015! Through these channels, we believe that we can shift the way that people think about issues related to domestic and sexual violence — which will move us one step closer towards our ultimate goal of ending gender violence. You can help us expand our audience by asking your friends and family to follow Blackburn Center on Facebook and Twitter, to sign up for our emails and to read our blog. With your help, we can make a major impact on Westmoreland County — and beyond!!

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