By Ellen Burgess
Because of increasing domestic violence in the United States, the Diversity Alliance will spend the month of December educating students about the issue and raising awareness about various religious holidays celebrated throughout the month.
The first event the Diversity Alliance is hosting is the widely recognized Toys for Help for Abused Women and Children (HAWC) toy drive. According to club adviser, M’Lena Gandolfi, the purpose of this event is centered on raising awareness about domestic violence.
Toys for HAWC is an event the Diversity Alliance has been hosting for the past 12 years, and the abundance of toys received for the program has been overwhelming and allowed the Diversity Alliance to branch out to a second program called Wellspring, Gandolfi said.
Wellspring is a new program senior Caroline Kiley introduced and does not focus solely on women and children but incorporates men as well; it is open to any homeless person.
“Ten percent of domestic violence is against guys,” Gandolfi said.
“Its fundamental goal is to provide security to the people in it, as well as a ‘restart point’ that offers classes and therapy sessions that help the women get back on their feet and get ready to re-start their lives,” Kiley said.
According to Kiley, Wellspring involves various programs including the Holiday Store, a Soup Kitchen, and a Teen Mentor program, all of which help participants, both men and women, get back on their feet.
Diversity Alliance is also sponsoring celebrations of holidays around the world. These holidays are related to either religion or culture. According to Gandolfi, in many schools, the focus of winter holidays is always centered on Christmas. Because of this, the club’s goal is to raise awareness of other holidays celebrated during December.
“The overall goal of these events is to open kids’ eyes and raise awareness,” senior Hannah Beardsley said.
“We want to try to create a tolerance for all differences that exist in so many venues,” Gandolfi said.