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Tomorrow, we join the rest of the country in celebrating Thanksgiving. This does not just give us the chance to eat turkey and pie — but to express gratitude for the people in our lives.

At Blackburn Center, our mission is challenging: to eliminate the root causes of domestic and sexual violence, advocate for the right of all individuals to live free from this violence, and to provide for the safety and well-being of survivors/victims of all types of crime. Every year, we provide services to thousands of victims of violence throughout Westmoreland County. We also offer community education and training and school programs to our community members. Our staff has taken on a number of new projects in 2018, reaching the community in innovative ways, and has broadened our work to make sure that we are effective in our fight to end gender-based violence.

An organization like Blackburn Center cannot exist without a team of dedicated staff, supported by committed board members, volunteers, donors and others in the community. This blog post is dedicated to everyone who helps to make our work possible.

To our staff: You are passionate, tireless and tenacious. From providing counseling and therapy to staffing our emergency shelter to training volunteers to supporting victims in the legal or medical systems to educating thousands of students to providing trainings to hundreds of professionals, to raising money to handling finances or administrative work…you make the difference! Without you, we could not bring hope and healing to so many women, children and men in our community. We also could not bring education and awareness to Westmoreland County in the same way. We are so grateful for all that you do to make our community a better place. Thank you!

To our volunteers: You are selfless, caring and giving. Volunteers founded Blackburn Center, and 42 years later, you are still critical to our ability to offer services and spread awareness in our community. Day in and day out, you are with us to staff events, answers calls on the 24 hour hotline, hand out literature, support our shelter program, serve on committees and handle other tasks. With your help, we have been able to reach many more people than we otherwise could have. Thank you!

To our Board of Directors: You are fearless, dedicated, and enthusiastic. Each of you brings expertise, commitment, vision, and experience to the table. By giving freely of your time and energy, we can continue to provide services and work to end violence in Westmoreland County. With your unwavering support for our mission, we are able to move forward with innovative projects and ideas. Thank you!

To our donors: You are generous, thoughtful, and community-minded. From donating financially to purchasing items for our emergency shelter to making in-kind donations for events like Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, you have always answered our call. Your enthusiastic embrace of our Amazon wishlist has made it even easier to provide necessary items to victims of gender-based violence, and demonstrates the level of commitment that you have shown to our organization. As individuals, community organizations, colleges and schools, religious congregations, businesses and foundations, you have allowed us to continue to offer services to thousands of clients in Westmoreland County each year. Thank you!

We could not do this work without you. Your support and dedication means the world to us, and to the victims/survivors and community members that we serve. On Thanksgiving Day and every day of the year, thank you.

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