LIVINGSTON, NJ — In preparation for their service project of collecting items for The Safe House during Monday’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service at the Livingston Senior and Community Center, Harrison Elementary School’s fifth-grade girl scouts Troop 20290, in conjunction with the 4th grade girl scouts Troop 20484, recently hosted an outreach program.

Representatives from Start Out Fresh Intervention Advocates (SOFIA) spoke to the girls about healthy versus unhealthy relationships and promoted self-advocacy while providing valuable information on how to deal with bullying. SOFIA's goal is to bring awareness of the issues surrounding domestic violence and to offer strategies for prevention and healing to our community. 

In a fun and friendly environment, the girls learned how to be good friends to others and how to deal with others who are not being kind. The program also helped the girls learn about a real but sensitive matter and encouraged them to help others especially fellow woman and their children.

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On Monday, Troop 20290 invites the community to donate much-needed items to The Safe House, which provides victims of domestic violence and their families with the basic comforts of home at a time when they are virtually homeless.

The shelter’s most-requested items include: paper products, cleaning supplies, non-perishable food items, batteries, flash lights, sheets, towels, umbrellas, alarm clocks, small appliances and gift cards.  

The Safe House, Essex County's only domestic violence shelter provides relief for victims and their children with temporary safe housing in an emotionally supportive environment. The organization also provides counseling services, advocacy services, group meetings, children's programs and support groups.

The shelter also has a 24-hour domestic violence hotline at 973-759-2154, which provides timely and immediate assistance to victims of domestic violence. All services are free and confidential.