Safe Berks is honored to announce that we have received a $198,000 Culturally Specific three-year grant from the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV). This grant will support our growing partnerships with Centro Hispano Daniel Torres of Reading and Berks County and the LGBT Center of Greater Reading, as we work to provide services to more survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in underserved communities.
This funding will focus primarily on engaging youth in the local LGBT+ and Latino communities. Safe Berks staff will work with staff from Centro Hispano and the LGBT Center to engage youth in various ways including Camp Safe Berks – A Teen Alliance to End Violence. Camp Safe Berks is a free summer day camp for Berks County teens who are interested in issues of social justice. Participants in the camp explore inequality and violence in our society, and form alliances with other teens and supportive adults. The camp also provides opportunities for fun activities, bonding with new friends, creative expression, and self-care. The purpose of Camp Safe Berks is to give youth an opportunity to share their experiences regarding important social issues, and to encourage them to become part of the solution.
“Safe Berks is proud to have a strong relationship with both Centro Hispano Daniel Torres and with the LGBT Center of Greater Reading,” said Mary Kay Bernosky, Esq., Safe Berks CEO, who spearheaded the grant application effort. “Thanks to this support from the PCADV, this partnership will continue to grow and evolve in the future. We will be able to reach more survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault and offer them our free, confidential services. We know our services can save and transform lives. In addition, we can increase our education and community outreach in the Latino and LGBT communities, with the goal of preventing domestic and sexual violence.”
This grant will provide funds to Centro Hispano and the LGBT Center so both organizations can designate staff to help facilitate and support Camp Safe Berks. These partners will also alternate hosting Camper monthly meetings, parent engagement events, and will support the campers Community Projects.
In addition to Camp Safe Berks, the grant will help fund these initiatives:
Courageous Conversation Symposium
The three partner agencies will host an annual Courageous Conversation Symposium. This Symposium will bring nationally recognized community organizers and influencers to visit Berks County and share successful strategies to engage youth and effectively heal community trauma.
Support Groups for Survivors
Both Centro Hispano and the LGBT Center currently work with Safe Berks staff to facilitate supportive group sessions for survivors at their locations. These Support Groups will continue, coordinated by the Safe Berks Counseling Department.
Victim Advocate Training
Safe Berks offers a comprehensive Victim Advocate Training course each year. Staff of Centro Hispano and the LGBT Center will participate in this training course and will incorporate Safe Berks confidentiality policies and processes in their programs for survivors.
Smart Board & Trainings
The grant will fund the purchase of a mobile Smart Board, primarily for use at Centro Hispano, to allow partners to host effective, interactive and technologically relevant trainings for youth. Centro Hispano has the largest space available for trainings and is willing to allow the LGBT Center and Safe Berks to utilize this space for other trainings and meetings.
General Information about Safe Berks
Safe Berks provides safe haven and support to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Our advocacy and education programs increase awareness of oppression and promote the prevention of domestic violence and sexual assault.
Safe Berks services include a Safe House for adults and children who are in danger, a 24-hour Hotline and Text Line, individual counseling, support groups, legal services and advocacy, and educational programs. Safe Berks services are free, confidential, and available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Our services are available in English and Spanish and will be translated into any other language needed.
Safe Berks served more than 4,000 clients in the last fiscal year. Our Safe House provided a haven to approximately 400 adults and 400 children in the last fiscal year. Our 24-Hour Hotline number is 844-789-SAFE, or text Safe Berks to 20121.