Help for youth is just a text away

The holiday season can be stressful for all, including children, teens and young adults. In these times when youth face enormous pressures at school, at home, in their social circles and beyond, it is important to listen to what our young people are saying. The 2NDFLOOR text and helpline has been there for New Jersey’s 10- to 24-year-olds for over a decade. 2NDFLOOR is the only interactive text and helpline in New Jersey that has professional counselors supervising 24/7, is open to discuss any topic, and is geared toward 10- to 24-year-olds. No matter what problem/issue an adolescent is experiencing, 2NDFLOOR is a resource for them.

This statewide service is operated by the Monmouth County nonprofit organization 180 Turning Lives Around. 2NDFLOOR is a toll-free and confidential youth text and helpline available for texting or calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to all New Jersey young people, ages 10 to 24. Youth can text or call 2NDFLOOR at 1-888-222-2228 to text/speak with professionals and trained volunteers to find nonjudgmental and supportive responses to questions about bullying, unhealthy and abusive relationships, dating violence, mental health concerns and other challenging issues they may be facing at home or in school. The text and helpline is for New Jersey, always answered in New Jersey. and provides local New Jersey resources to youth. Additionally, the website www.2NDFLOOR.org has information and a message board for youth to share their concerns as well.

Keeping open the lines of communication with our young people is vital. It is important that they, their parents, teachers, counselors and other concerned adults all know that help is just a text or call away.

Anna Diaz-White

Executive Director

180 Turning Lives Around

#MeToo / Save the Date 4.20.18

With the Bobby Bandiera Band setting the stage for an evening to remember, 180’s Annual Celebration promises to be a special night to raise funds for our mission. This is our moment to say, enough is enough, and make our voices heard! Join 180 in solidarity and take action locally as part of the global #MeToo movement – together we can all make a difference.
Email amandaf@180nj.org to be placed on the early RSVP list. Invitation to follow.
Funds raised will support 180’s….. 
  • Rape care program
  • Sexual violence prevention education and advocacy
  • School outreach related to safe dates and healthy relationships
  • 24-hour Sexual and Domestic Violence Hotlines

A gift to 180 this Holiday Season….

$50 – helps a domestic or sexual violence survivor receive counseling with a licensed professional.

$75 – Provides crisis intervention, information and referrals to a rape survivor at all five area hospital emergency rooms after an assault.

$100 – helps to fund a counseling session which educates victims about restraining orders and prepares them for their day in court.

$250 – enables 180’s 2nd Floor Youth Helpline to visit a high school and distribute educational materials and information regarding topics such as suicide, safe dates and healthy relationships.

$500 – provides one of our art studios at 180’s Amanda’s Easel Program with paint, clay, canvases, puppets and all of the items our therapists need to work with our children.

$1,000 – provides a family with emergency shelter, food and supportive services at 180’s Safe House.

 

Jennifer stayed at 180’s Safe House

Dear Friends of 180,
Warm winter greetings from 180 Turning Lives Around!
This Holiday Season, I would like for you to meet Jennifer. Her name and identifying details have been changed to protect her for purposes of this story, but her experience with us is real. Her life forever changed for the better because of individuals like you who choose to support our mission. You make her story, and so many more like hers, possible. It is especially important for us to say thank you during this holiday season and to ask for your continued support on behalf of our neighbors in Monmouth County who will need our help in the coming year. Without you, we simply could not continue to change and save lives here in our community.
On behalf of the 180 Board of Trustees, staff and all of our survivor-families, we wish you a peaceful and safe new year.
Sincerely,
Anna Diaz-White
Executive Director
180 Turning Lives Around
I came to 180 and stayed in their Safe House. I was pregnant with my first child. It wasn’t the first time he was violent, but this time he strangled me. I left him and found 180. The staff at the Safe House gave me the tools I needed to start anew. Safety and a place to stay at first, but the longer, more lasting benefits were the tools I was given to make sure that I lived a life free from abuse; self-confidence, inner strength, renewal and hope. These tools would set me free and would allow me to carve out a life away from him and safe for me and my baby. I gave birth while staying at the Safe House and thanks to 180 my son and I will be celebrating our first holiday together – on our own and safe. I will never forget my time with 180 and all of the guidance and support I received. While the first days of my motherhood were spent at 180’s Safe House, my infant and I were exactly where we were meant to be.
Jennifer’s story has been altered to protect privacy and safety. Names have been changed to preserve anonymity.

Holiday Gift Card Drive for Families in Need

You can help 180 deliver holiday cheer this season by donating gift cards to families in need. Your donation of a gift card, in any denomination, will enable clients to gather what they need most for the holiday. For some, that will be the special toy their child is hoping to receive under the tree, for others it could mean tasty treats for the holiday meal, or essential items for their household.

When sending or dropping off gift cards, please be sure to include your name and address so that we may acknowledge your generosity. Gift cards can be mailed or dropped off to:
180 Turning Lives Around
Amanda Finn, Development Manager
1 Bethany Road, Building 3, Suite 42
Hazlet, NJ 07730
 
On behalf of all of us here at 180 Turning Lives Around, we sincerely thank you for your coninued support. Happy Holidays!

 

180’s Family Justice Center Opened in Freehold

A one-stop shop to aid domestic violence and sexual abuse victims has opened its doors in Monmouth County and is ready to start changing lives.

180 Turning Lives Around, a nonprofit organization working to halt different types of abuse affecting county residents, will operate a new Family Justice Center out of the county courthouse, located at 71 Monument St.

Before the Family Justice Center, victims in the darkest times of their lives were tasked with navigating the choppy waters of the criminal justice system to seek help, said Anna Diaz-White, 180’s executive director. Now, everything they need is in one place.

“I think it’s going to be a game changer in the way that victims can access services,” she said.

An intake center at the courthouse’s lower level will be the first step, where 180’s staff can ask questions and guide victims in the right direction.

The Family Justice Center is located at 40 Monument St., connected to the courthouse’s parking lot. Different services will be available, Diaz-White said. A lawyer from South Jersey Legal Services is on standby, available to provide legal guidance. Detectives from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office will be on-call from the Freehold office to assist in pressing charges and filing police reports.

The building also provides shelter for victims with children who may fear returning home. Access to local food pantries, counselors and job assessment and training are other services now readily available. The two-story-home-converted center will have no public access and will only be open to people who pass courthouse security.

In Monmouth County, the numbers of abuse victims are significant, said Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni. There were nearly 4,000 calls or reported incidents of domestic violence last year, and family courts in Freehold also heard requests for 1,600 restraining orders from domestic violence victims, he said. Those numbers put Monmouth County sixth-highest in New Jersey.

Diaz-White said her organization receives about 5,000 calls a year and not every incident they hear is reported to police. She said the main demographic for sexual and domestic violence victims is 20- to 40-year-old women. Diaz-White estimated 85 percent of victims in Monmouth County are women.

“We hope that it will stop the traumatization from here on out,” Gramiccioni said. “When somebody comes here, they get direction, they get assistance, they get what they’re entitled to.”

Monmouth County’s Family Justice Center is the fourth such center in New Jersey; others are located in Essex, Morris and Union counties. Diaz-White toured the state with Gramiccioni and elected officials over the past year to find the best solution for Monmouth County.

State Sen. Jennifer Beck (R-11), who volunteered as a rape crisis advocate years ago, said the center is a necessity.

“They’re already stressed, they’re already emotionally fragile,” she said of victims. “They don’t need five locations to sort out life and get things moving.”

The building was provided by the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders at no cost, said Freeholder Director Lillian G. Burry. It was previously used as the county’s Weights and Measures offices.

“This Family Justice Center will provide both comfort and justice to these victims and their families by offering so many services in one place,” Burry said.

Plans for the center began when 180 was awarded a $145,000 grant last year by Impact 100 Jersey Coast which will contribute to staffing and overhead costs. Grant money was provided by 145 women who each pledged $1,000 for a greater cause.

The new Family Justice Center is another piece of the large footprint 180 has established in Monmouth County. Main administrative offices are located in Hazlet and a secondary location, the Shore Regional Outreach Office, is based in Neptune.

180 also operates a 45-bed safe house and a 10-family transitional housing center in the county, both in different, undisclosed locations. The nonprofit also partners with Amanda’s Easel, a creative arts therapy program in Middletown.

As Hollywood executives, journalists and other prominent people are being called out for their alleged prior sexual assaults, Diaz-White said it spotlights the importance of the Family Justice Center.

“Of course these make headlines,” Diaz-White said, “but for every one of those, there are thousands of women, men and children suffering in silence trying to navigate their and their children’s way out of seemingly impossible situations.”

 

By Jay Cook |

This article was first published in the Nov. 2-9, 2017 print edition of The Two River Times.

 

Help 180 Answer The Call

As you probably already know, #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving. 
All gifts received this #GivingTuesday (November 28, 2017) will support one of our most highly utilized programs – our 24 hour Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotlines. The hotlines are always available and are staffed by highly trained professionals in the field of domestic and sexual violence and human traficking. Everyday, 180 is answering calls and helping to guide victims to safety. Already this year, we have answered 2,805 hotline calls. The hotlines are often the entryway into additional agency services including: emergency shelter at our safe house, counseling, legal and court advocacy, and programs for children such as our Amanda’s Easel Creative Arts Therapy program.
Please donate in honor of #GivingTuesday and your gift will help us answer the call in a victim’s moment of crisis. Your support at any level makes a difference!

Please meet Honor.

I would like to introduce you to Honor. Honor is a two-year old Miniature Therapy Horse who spent time last month with children at our Safe House. Research has shown that equine therapy is an effective way to help heal from trauma.

Domestic abuse survivors and their families can learn from horses, including how to control fear, how to be more assertive and confident and how to connect with others. This was 180’s first experience with this form of therapy and we will be exploring ways to perhaps integrate programs such as this in the future.

At 180 Turning Lives Around, we are always exploring the best ways to meet the needs of our client-families and we welcome interest and support from our community in helping us bring innovative programs to the forefront. If you would like to support 180 and/or explore new initiatives with us, please contact, 180 Executive Director, Anna Diaz White Thank you!

Special thanks to Honor and “Mini Horse Heroes” for making this day possible for our families.

Mini Horse Heroes serve in memory of P.O. Ken Tietjen formerly of Middletown, NJ.  The organization was started in 2001 to honor Port Authority Police Officer, Ken Tietjen, who gave his life saving others on 9/11.

Domestic Violence a major factor in mass shootings

At 180 Turning Lives Around we share in the grief resulting from the recent atrocity in Texas.

Like the rest of the world, we try to understand why these events unfold and we are devastated to know that perpetrators of domestic violence account for 54% of all mass shootings.

In this recent case in Texas, the perpetrator was previously court-martialed on two charges of domestic assault after he beat and choked his wife, threatened her with a firearm and hit her infant son hard enough to fracture his skull. Common sense gun control laws which keep guns out of the hands of domestic violence offenders should be the law of the land. To read more about this issue in particular, please read the link here from Everytown for Gun Safety which released a sobering report on this topic. Also, a recent article from Time, “Domestic Violence is the Canary in the Coal Mine for Mass Shootings” is equally informative.
For those of you who are angered and moved to do something in response to these devastating facts and in honor of the lives ruined by this massacre, please become even more involved with 180 and our mission. While events like this can leave us feeling helpless, let’s remember that 180 is on the forefront of combating domestic violence in Monmouth County and helping survivors turn their lives around.

180 Opens Family Justice Center

180 Opens Family Justice Center

Facility to provide services to domestic violence victims

FREEHOLD, NJ –  180 Turning Lives Around Family Justice Center marked its grand opening at the Monmouth County Courthouse with a ceremony attended by the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders, State and local officials and members of the community on Thursday, Oct. 26.

“The Board is proud to help facilitate the opening of this important resource in the heart of Monmouth County by making the space available in the Courthouse,” said Freeholder Director Lillian G. Burry. “By placing the Family Justice Center in the Courthouse, domestic violence victims and their families will be in a safe and secure location that is monitored by law enforcement during all hours of operation.”

The Family Justice Center is a collaborative effort between 180 Turning Lives Around and numerous members of the Monmouth County community to provide victims of domestic violence and their families with crisis support, legal assistance and counseling services all in one safe place.

“Family Justice Centers are a proven model that save lives and improve outcomes for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault,” said Anna Diaz-White, 180’s Executive Director. “We are grateful to Impact 100 Jersey Coast and the Monmouth County Freeholders for providing the seed funding and space to coordinate and begin this wonderful, lifesaving collaboration for our county, and to our partner organizations for contributing their staff’s time and talents to this important endeavor.”

The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders unanimously approved an agreement to provide the space for the Center at no cost.

“It is essential for elected officials to work with the community and organizations such as 180 Turning Lives Around to help our residents that need support,” said Freeholder Deputy Director John P. Curley, liaison to the Monmouth County Department of Human Services. “The Family Justice Center is a great example of what can come from these partnerships and we hope that those in need of the services offered here will take advantage of them.”

Seed funding was awarded to 180 Turning Lives Around by a generous grant from Impact 100 Jersey Coast.

“Impact 100 Jersey Coast is proud to support the Family Justice Center initiative.  As a women’s grant making collaborative, we are thrilled that our $145,000 inaugural grant could make this vision a reality.  We seek to fund projects that address unmet needs and reach underserved populations,” said Deirdre Spiropoulos, Co-founder and President of Impact 100, Jersey Coast. “The FJC exemplifies those goals and will be an invaluable support for victims of domestic violence. We are truly impressed by the leadership and collaborative efforts of 180 Turning Lives Around and the many other partnering agencies.”

Victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse and human trafficking can go to a Family Justice Center and obtain most of the services they need, the same day.  Everyone collaborates in real time, all under one roof.

“These victims deserve efficient, effective and compassionate care, which is exactly what they will receive at the Family Justice Center,” said Freeholder Serena DiMaso, Esq. “I had the opportunity to tour other Family Justice Centers in the state and I knew that it would be a great resource for Monmouth County victims of domestic violence.”

A Family Justice Center is proven to reduce homicides, reduce recidivism, reduce the barriers and fragmentation of service and they reduce trauma and the re-victimization of victims and their children. Family Justice Centers increase victim safety and increase conviction rates.

“We can make a difference in people’s lives with the Family Justice Center, especially in the life of a crime victim. What we will accomplish here will broaden our scope to provide much-needed services to the community. These services will result in increased awareness, accessible and coordinated services and much-needed help for victims of crime who need help navigating the complicated maze of government, law enforcement, social services, health and legal services,” Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni said.

“I’m proud to have worked closely with 180 Turning Lives Around to help create Monmouth County’s first ever Family Justice Center –one of only four in New Jersey. As a former rape crisis advocate, I know the work that 180 does is critically important for our communities,” Senator Jennifer Beck said. “The new Monmouth’s Family Justice Center will coordinate resources like counseling, legal services and family support into one location so domestic violence and sexual assault survivors will have easier access to those services. Today would not have been possible without the hard work of our many dedicated 180 volunteers and staff; I am very proud to have played a role in supporting their efforts.”

This will be the fourth Family Justice Center in New Jersey. The others are located in Essex, Morris and Union counties.