Champion 2010 Awards Covered by Style 1 Media

Posted on: Thursday, June 3, 2010

Keywords: Champion 2010 Awards, Safe Horizon, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., Verizon

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More than 450 supporters at the Safe Horizon 15th Annual Champion Awards Gala at Gotham Hall fell silent as Diana, a survivor of human trafficking, spoke from the podium. With great feeling she recounted the story of her victimization, and Safe Horizon's role in helping her to escape and rebuild her life. That Diana is now able to share her story with others is a testimony to the effectiveness and value of Safe Horizon, the country's foremost victim assistance organization. The June 3rd Champion Awards honored NY County District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. and Verizon Communications, represented by NY Metro Region President Jim Gerace, for their excellent work on behalf of victims of violence.

Champion Awards Gala guests were warmly greeted at the reception by Safe Horizon Chief Executive Officer Ariel Zwang, whose later speech acknowledged the contributions of Safe Horizon Board Members and supporters. Board Member, former prosecutor, and bestselling author Linda Fairstein chaired the gala and Board Chair Steve Parrish introduced the dinner and awards program.

Denise O'Donnell, former Deputy Secretary of Public Safety and Commissioner of the Division of Criminal Justice Services, presented the first Champion Award to NY County District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., for his outstanding work on behalf of families and communities affected by crime. Men's Fitness magazine columnist, Sil Lai Abrams, a former Safe Horizon client, presented the second Champion Award to Verizon NY Metro Region President Jim Gerace, for his company's support of Safe Horizon's SafeWork campaign and the HopeLine program.

The evening featured both a silent auction and a live auction, which was conducted by Antiques Roadshow appraiser Eric Silver. Guests had the opportunity to contribute to Safe Horizon by sending SMS texts from their mobile phones. Donations and accompanying messages were projected on a giant screen at the gala, to everyone's delight.

The Champion Awards Gala and other public awareness campaigns that spotlight Safe Horizon's programs serve as essential tools for outreach and change. Domestic violence, child abuse, incest, trafficking, and other forms of human victimization require secrecy to exist. By providing an answer to the question, "Where can I go for help?", Safe Horizon offers victims an escape route from the denial and isolation of abuse. For the public, hearing their stories helps dispel the notion that these kinds of manipulation and violence affect only the weak, the uneducated, the drug-addicted, and those who live on the fringes of society. Violence and abuse can and do affect anyone, regardless of race, age, income, national origin, education, or profession. As in Diana's case, Safe Horizon provides victims with the courage to come forward, rebuild their lives, and reach out to others.

Safe Horizon serves over 350,000 people each year who have been affected by violence. Clients include victims of domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, human trafficking, child abuse and incest, youth homelessness, stalking, September 11th related trauma, immigrant and refugee issues, and violence in the workplace. The organization offers a combination of practical and emotional supportive services. Its life-saving 24-Hour Hotlines often serve as a victim's first step in the process of dealing with violence.
Hotlines include:

  • The New York City Domestic Violence Hotline: 800.621.HOPE (4673)
  • The Sexual Assault, Rape, and Incest Hotline: 212.227.3000
  • The Crime Victims Hotline: 866.689.HELP (4357)
  • TDD phone number for all hotlines: 866.604.5350

Safe Horizon offers victims protection, resources, a caring community, and the tools with which to rebuild damaged self-esteem. They provide free installation of new locks, safe shelter, food, financial assistance, help in creating a safety plan, and referrals to additional essential services. Recovering victims have access to Safe Horizon's mental health counseling, emotional support groups, crisis intervention, and educational services. Active in advocacy, Safe Horizon provides legal services including assistance in the courts, mediation, obtaining of orders of protection, pro-bono assistance in divorce and custody cases, and help with documentation of instances of stalking.

At locations throughout the City, Safe Horizon brings help to those in need. At borough-wide community offices and counseling centers, through family and criminal courts, at Child Advocacy Centers and at Streetwork drop-in centers for youth on the streets, Safe Horizon is there for victims of violence and abuse.

For a full list of services, to obtain help, or to donate, please visit:

By Merry Esparza
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Safe Horizon's mission is to provide support, prevent violence and promote justice for victims of crime and abuse, their families and communities.

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