Laurel House 5k aims to end abuse

By Diana Trasatti
October 16, 2008

Cabrini students and faculty will be making strides towards ending domestic abuse at the annual Laurel House 5k dash/walk on Sunday, Oct. 26 in Norristown.

This marks the second year in which through the Wolfington Center, Cabrini has recruited students and faculty to support the community partner, Laurel House.

The cost to participate is $20. However, this year the Wolfington Center is covering a portion of the registration fee and is only asking students for $5. The entrance fee covers the two t-shirts provided by Cabrini and Laurel House. All money will go directly to Laurel House, which is a non-profit group.

“All students can walk or run and come support for $5. We’re ready to be bankrupt,” Joan Kleckner, assistant to vice president for Migration Integration and human resources, said enthusiastically in anticipation of the registration for Cabrini community members.

One can register through the Wolfington Center by Oct. 24. Students are to meet at Founder’s at 7:30 a.m., where buses will provide transportation to the course site in Norristown. Participants have the option of performing in the run, which takes off at 9 a.m. or the walk, which will begin 9:02 a.m.

Following the race will be a short discussion at 10 a.m. where race winners will be presented with medals. Snacks and refreshments will be served and Tracy Davidson of NBC will be present as the event’s featured guest.

“It’s nice that it’s something that we really try to reach out to the entire campus community. We had a really good time. They did a nice job with the event,” David Chiles, director of the Wolfington Center, said.

Laurel House is a non-profit organization that works to provide shelter for the women and their children who have fled from an abusive relationship. The mission of Laurel House is to not to only provide a safe haven for these individuals, but raise awareness of domestic violence to the public and promote social change within the community.

Laurel House provides food, shelter, counseling, medical care, legal representation and education for the women and families who undergo their care. The shelter is closely guarded with multiple security devices and is at an undisclosed location.

When first walking into the shelter, one first encounters a homey living room, followed by a kitchen further in, with multiple tables and high chairs. The basic necessities of bedrooms and bathrooms are also provided for the families. To make the shelter feel more like a home, a small plastic outdoor playground and toys and books are supplied for the children through community donations.

October marks national domestic violence awareness month and Cabrini is offering opportunities for students to contribute to the cause. Old cell phones are being collected in the Wolfington Center; and paper shoe cut-outs are being sold for $1. The shoe cut-outs are being sold in Jazzman’s during breakfast and lunch hours from Oct. 7 until Oct. 24. All proceeds will be given to Laurel House. ?

“We’re hoping to cover the entire glass of the Wolfington Center with sneakers. We’re hoping people can’t even see in because there are so many sneakers taped on the glass. That would be great just for the support of Laurel House,” Kleckner said.

Work study positions are available at the Laurel House shelter and the thrift store, Merian’s Attic, which benefits Laurel House.

Cabrini is also promoting domestic violence awareness through the education department. Teachers and pre-service teachers are being trained to recognize the signs of abuse in children and the appropriate methods of response to such signs. ?In addition, surveys have been conducted on and extending beyond the Cabrini campus to cover student’s perceptions and experiences with domestic and dating violence. This information is being used to aid Laurel House in creating outreach programs for college students.

Those who wish to receive more information on domestic violence awareness programs or the Laurel House 5k can e-mail Maureen Catania at or Joan Kleckner at ?

“We’re asking faculty, students and staff to come out and support this community partner with us,” Kleckner said.

Diana Trasatti

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