MIAMI — A new center will provide a safe place for survivors of domestic violence.
The Safespace Foundation, Inc. on June 30 unveiled its new Miami Rotary Club Women’s Resource Center.
The center, a 14,000-square-foot rehabbed storage space in the Safespace North building, was made possible by a $7,700 grant from the Rotary Club of Miami (RCM), according to Kathy Beckman, RCM’s community services director.
For the security of Safespace’s clients, the South Florida Times is withholding the center’s location.
Safespace is a non-profit organization committed to the advocacy and empowerment of domestic violence victims and survivors. The agency functions with the support of the Department of Human Services Advocates for Victims Program in Miami-Dade County.
Rotary is a worldwide organization of more than 1.2 million business, professional and community leaders. Members of Rotary clubs provide humanitarian service, encourage high
ethical standards in all vocations, and help build good will and peace in the world.
This is RCM’s second year in participation with Safespace.
“Women need to learn skills and develop options,” Beckman said. “We want them to have services of which they can take advantage. This is a project that has helped our club as well.
It’s not easy to find a compatible organization.”
Money from the grant provided computer work stations, office furniture and wall treatment, according to Oscie Fryer, the shelter’s administrator.
Miami-Dade County provided Internet access and completed the wiring for the computer work stations, Beckman said.
The new center will provide space for the Women’s Empowerment Series, an eight-session workshop developed by Safespace as a means of increasing self worth, life management and employability skills. Classes are led by volunteer community leaders, agencies and area business owners.
“We look for projects that will make a lasting impact,” Cory Gittner, RCM’s president said. “When women and children suffer from powerlessness and abuse, it’s important to take their situations seriously.”
Both Safespace and RCM provide emergency shelter, transitional housing, social and support services, individual and group counseling and relocation assistance to their clients.
“They offer a wide variety of resources,” Sonya Vialva, committee chair, said about the volunteers for the Empowerment Series. “They share skills from resume writing, how to dress in the workplace, to self-esteem issues and just how to relax.”
Carolyn Lourdes, a Safespace volunteer, described the new location as “convenient and safe.”
Lourdes, a former client, said she had to travel to a downtown Miami location to attend her classes.
“It was in a public building, so this is a great improvement. Women feel more comfortable closer to home when seeking this type of environment,” Lourdes said.
Safespace’s president, Roslyn Parker, presented both RCM board members and Safespace volunteers with Safespace certificates of recognition; the RCM was presented a dedication plaque for the center.
“We partnered with the Rotary Club, and now this project has come to fruition,” Parker said. “Women and their families need a place to rebuild, to start over. We want to make that difference possible.”
For more information on the Safespace Foundation, Inc., or to make a donation, visit www.safespacefoundationfoundatio.org.
For more information on the Rotary Club of Miami, visit www.miamirotary.org.
Photo: Organizers of the new Miami Rotary Club Women’s Resource Center include, from left to right, Jeannette Garofalo, vice president of Safespace; Cory Gittner, outgoing president of the Miami Rotary Club; Roslyn Parker, president of Safespace and Karen Grey, secretary of Safespace.