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Sussex County Community College Celebrates First Annual DASI Walk For Hope & Safety and Family Fun Day

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Jamie Bernard, Executive Director of DASi greets guests and walkers at Sussex County Community College's first annual DASI Walk for Hope & Safety. Credits: Alley Shubert
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Personal fitness trainers from Oxygen in Augusta, NJ practice warm ups with DASI walkers. Credits: Alley Shubert
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Ed Lyon leads the crowd of walkers as he plays the bag pipes. Credits: Alley Shubert
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Jamie Bernard gives a short speech before cutting the purple ribbon for walkers to embark on their walk for hope. Credits: Alley Shubert
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People walk to support DASI. Credits: Alley Shubert
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Sussex County Sheriff, Michael F. Strada stands outside his DARE car to educate young children on drugs and alcohol. Credits: Alley Shubert
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Julia McEllen shows off her pose outside of The Fit Experience vendor table. Credits: Alley Shubert
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Decorated t-shirts to represent "airing out your dirty laundry." Credits: Alley Shubert
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Decorated t-shirts blow in the wind. Credits: Alley Shubert
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Some of the baked goods for sale on a table. All proceeds benefited DASI. Credits: Alley Shubert
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Young girl starts to get her face painted as a blue butterfly. Credits: Alley Shubert
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NEWTON, NJ --- Purple was the color worn by volunteers and members of Domestic Abuse and Sexual Assault Intervention Services (DASI) at Sussex County Community College’s first annual Walk for Hope and Safety on Saturday, October 13.

Jamie Bernard, Executive Director of DASI greeted guests and walkers.

“This is our first event at Sussex Community College,” stated Bernard. “I want to thank everyone for participating. Sussex County is the lead agency for DASI.”

Bernard then explained that about six to nine months ago, the college’s professor, Sherry Fitzpatrick, had asked her graphic design students to design a logo for a t-shirt.

The logo chosen was printed on a t-shirt and given for free to those who registered to walk, along with a tote bag. The shirt had a purple ribbon on the front and read, “I walk to end domestic violence.”

Bernard then introduced Sally Gibson, a staff worker in guidance and advising at the college, who had helped with the event as well.

“Today is about different hopes and strengths and establishing relationships to help the change take flight,” said Gibson.

Gibson introduced personal fitness trainers Laurie, Pam and Nadine from Oxygen located in Augusta, N.J.

“They gave me strength when I thought I did not have any,” said Gibson.

Laurie, Pam and Nadine all stood in front of the crowd and practiced several different warm up activities with the walkers.

Afterwards, Ed Lyon played his bagpipes, as everyone followed him to the lake.

“Thank you all so much for being here,” said Bernard. “And good luck with that hill,” she joked as she cut a purple ribbon, and participants embarked on their walk for hope.

The college had also combined the DASI benefit with a family fun day.

Some local vendors attended, and sold handmade jewelry and soap, while others were companies who educated young children.

Signs were set up between every vendor showing accurate statistics about domestic and sexual abuse, which were designed and coordinated by Gail Phoebus, currently running for Sussex County Freeholder.

One startling statistic had read that, “One out of four women will experience abuse in their lifetime” while another one read, “One in 12 women and one in 45 men will be stalked in their lifetime.”

Handmade t-shirts were blowing in the wind for DASI’s clothesline campaign (click here for a previous article in The Alternative Press about the clothesline campaign).

“It is supposed to represent airing out your dirty laundry,” said Taylor Gaccione, a volunteer for the organization.

Children participated in activities such as hula hoops, bean bag toss games, an arts and crafts table, face painting, and education about drugs and alcohol by Sussex County Sheriff, Michael Strada for Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE).

Walkers and guests purchased baked goods, and raffle tickets for a tricky tray.

Some of the tricky tray items included: brunch for two at Perona Farms, a $75 gift certificate to the Mohawk House, oil and filter change from Hampton Automotive, and two VIP tickets to "Katie" (Katie Couric’s new talk show). Others included photography sessions, and gift baskets donated from churches, and businesses such as M&M Mars.

All funds raised supported DASI, and their mission of promoting hope for women and men who have endured abuse.

In 2011, DASI has helped over 600 survivors of abuse.

For emergency shelter, support, information and referrals, call DASI’s 24-hour helpline at 973-875-1211, or visit dasi.org for more information.

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