As we look forward to gathering with friends and family to celebrate Thanksgiving tomorrow, we can’t help but be filled with gratitude. At Blackburn Center, we are so thankful for each and every one of you and how you have supported our mission.
The work that we do is difficult. Our agency is committed to providing services to victims of domestic and sexual violence as well as all other types of crime in Westmoreland County. We are also dedicated to preventing this violence from happening through our primary prevention work. We can’t — and don’t — do either of these things alone.
Each year, we provide services to thousands of women, children in men. Our services include a 24 hour hotline, an emergency shelter, counseling and therapy, support groups, medical advocacy/accompaniment, and legal system support. We have also started to provide civil legal services through Blackburn Center Legal. Our team continues to reach out to the elderly, people with mental health issues, victims of human trafficking and those living in outlying parts of the county through the Underserved Populations (UP) Program.
In the community, our staff offers a range of training and education programs for students throughout Westmoreland County, from preschool through college. We also offer community education programs and in-service trainings, including a specialized sexual harassment training, Creating Safe and Thriving Workplaces. Blackburn Center has also partnered with the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg and Seton Hill University on innovative programs designed to address the root causes of gender-based violence.
Today, we would like to give thanks to our staff. Each member of our staff works tirelessly to help make our mission possible. Whether working in the office to make sure that we are staying on budget, running the shelter, or offering educational trainings, or providing therapy to clients, each member of the Blackburn Center team is vital and appreciated. Without them, we could not offer hope and healing to thousands of women, children and men each year.
We are also grateful to our Board of Directors, whose selflessness and generosity goes beyond regular board meetings. Our Board of directors are passionate and dedicated to our mission. Their donation of time, energy and expertise enables us to continue our important work. Without their unwavering support, we could not do the work that we do.
Our volunteers are next on the list: thank you! Rain or shine, you show up and make it work. Whether you are on the hotline, attending meetings for one of our groups or committees, or working Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, you are there when we need you. Our volunteers undergo significant training and give generously of their time to help others. Because of them, we can offer more services to the community than we otherwise could. We appreciate you!
We are want to give thanks to all those who contribute to Blackburn Center, whether it be through monetary donations or gifts of items for our shelter residents or clients. This year, we tried something new, with an Amazon Wish List that allowed needed items to be sent directly to our office. We have been blown away by your support — when we have a specific request, such as clothing items to store at local hospitals for victims of sexual violence, you rise to the challenge, making sure that we are fully stocked up within a matter of days. Individuals, community organizations, businesses, churches and foundations have all made it possible for us to continue to offer services to thousands of women, children and men in Westmoreland County each year.
Thank you to the community partners who reach out to us on behalf of victims, including the hospitals, doctors’ offices and other places that post our fliers. Having that information available can be a lifeline to someone in need. We are also grateful to the individuals in the community who support us by telling a victim that we are available to help them.
We could not do this work without you.
Today and every day, we give thanks for your generosity.