A newspaper clipping about a horrific story of domestic violence is what led Steve Parrish into a decades-long journey of helping abuse victims.
“It was about a woman who was an advocate for victims of domestic violence and she ended her relationship. And her abuser stalked her, threatened her and ultimately murdered her,” Parrish recalled.
That was nearly 30 years ago.
Parrish was working for a consumer products company at the time. He and his boss were looking to partner with a charity and that’s when they heard about Safe Horizon, an organization with a mission that turned out to be close to both of their hearts.
“He told me that he had grown up in a home that was marred by violence. It was a very touching thing for me. I didn’t tell him until many years later that, so did I,” Parrish said.
Safe Horizon staffs the city’s domestic violence hotlines and runs eight shelters across the city.
One is named in Parrish’s honor.
He served on their board as chair since 2008.
And every year for Child Abuse Prevention Month, Parrish doubles each donation.
In April, he matched $40,000.
“No one should have to deal with the aftermath of crime or abuse alone and thanks to Safe Horizon and donors like Steve Parrish, survivors have someone to reach out to,” said Evy, a Safe Horizon staffer.
“Parrish House” served nearly 300 residents last year — half were children.
It is a safe haven for women in need. They’re given job training, housing advice, and counseling.
“I feel comfortable here. I feel happy here. A lot of times people say you cry when you’re sad, no I’m crying because I’m happy. I made a choice and for me, this was the best choice. This was the best choice and I’m glad Safe Horizon was here and Parrish House was here for me and my child,” said one woman.
Parrish says it’s stories like this that inspire him to work even harder for these survivors.
“To see the transformation in people’s lives is just absolutely wonderful to see and that’s what keeps me coming back every day,” Parrish said.
So for doing his part protecting victims of domestic violence, Steve Parrish is our New Yorker of the Week.