By ADRANISHA STEPHENS
MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Members of the community looking for ways to give back had an opportunity this week — Giving Tuesday.
Giving Tuesday is worldwide event driven mostly through social media and collaboration, but offers a way for community-minded residents to connect with local organizations to perform public service or donate funds. Giving Tuesday — known as #GivingTuesday on social media — began in 2012 and takes place on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving.
On Tuesday, the Community Alternatives to Violence nonprofit organization hosted a day of giving with a Thank-a-thon. Members of the community were encouraged to visit CAV, 115 Aikens Center, enjoy a baked potato bar lunch and learn more about the organization.
Carolyn Zdziera, executive director of Community Alternatives to Violence, said the 20-year-old nonprofit organization – which is a state-certified batterers intervention program – offers a range of services aimed at helping men, women and children change their lives.
Zdziera said the organization is dedicated to ending domestic disputes, serving an estimated 200 people yearly, including men, women and teenagers who have been involved in a domestic violence situation and who have been charged with domestic violence.
Clients participating in the 32-week program – which includes a curriculum and classes based on respectful behavior — are supposed to pay a fee, but that doesn’t always happen since many of these individuals are either unemployed or underemployed, Zdziera said.
Finances are an ongoing concern for CAV and fundraising continues to be a priority, Zdziera said, adding that donations and volunteers play an important role in the organization’s work.
“We really wanted to host this event today to promote community awareness,” Zdziera said. “A lot of people don’t know about our program because dealing with abusers is not a popular topic. However, we are still trying to get the word out. Our current goal is to raise around $1,000 for our organization. A lot of our clients can’t afford to pay, so they might pay a minimal amount, they might pay nothing or they might do community service. But, because of that deficit in their fees, it affects program operations. So, the donations we receive really help to supplement those fees and other expenses we have.”
Zdziera said giving doesn’t have to end Tuesday. There are other ways to donate to the organization throughout the year.
“We are always looking for donations, volunteers, anything the community can give to us–really anything helps,” Zdziera said.
Anyone can also shop for gifts through Amazon at smile.amazon.com/ch/55-0751906. Amazon donates directly to Community Alternatives To Violence organization.
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