Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Family Holiday Movie Night

As the winter winds begin to blow through the valley so do the fond memories of Holidays’ past. The gathering of friends and family to share the joy of gifts we all hope to receive.  Oh what a wonderful time of year!  The thrill, the anticipation the excitement we hope to pass to our children so that they too will have that glorious feeling! 

On Friday, December 15th Family Services held a Family Holiday Movie Night, attended by hundreds of pajama – clad local children and their families at the Family Partnership Center in the City of Poughkeepsie.

The Family Partnership Center glowed like never before! As the children entered through a sea of lights, they were greeted by Frosty who made things feel just right. Santa Claus was here to their delight to see what they wanted for Christmas this year.  With eyes all fixed on the remarkable stage set, replete with steaming locomotive and toy factory, the children then heard the call of “ALL ABOARD” for their journey to the North Pole on the “Polar Express”.  With cookies and cocoa and some popcorn too… We hope the children will always remember this night.

We are all so grateful to the outpouring of support we received from the community. To so many IBM Volunteers, Betsy Carswell one of our guiding lights, Sheila Appel and Maria Dewald, Jamie VanDodick, Carol Quaid, Linda St. Martin, Tom Koscal, Scott Woolley, Keith and Abby Heilmann, Deann O’Neill, Maureen Hackett, Michele Szynal, Matt Mauriello, Amanda Baxter, Jean and Shelby Calyer, Peter Raymond, Jessica Wallach, Mary Turner, Kathy Bounty, Kat Raynor, Virginia Currie, Mary Westermann, Kathi Skellan, Kevin carswell and all the elves who volunteered to help make this event happen.

A special thanks is owed to Sheriff Butch Anderson, our Santa Claus, and Undersheriff Kirk Imperati.  Let’s not forget Frosty, Elisha Cano.  To all of our sponsors especially IBM, AT&T much thanks.

Many local businesses provided the necessary supplies from water to cookies, cocoa and popcorn too!  Adams Fairacre Farms, Stop & Shop, Pastry Garden, Dutchess Beer Distributors, Price Choppers, Starbucks, Panera Bread, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Beekman Arms, Fidelis Care and The Daily Planet.
We hope to take the success of this evening and look forward to a tradition that we at Family Services can host year after year.  BELIEVE!

Brian Doyle, CEO
Family Services

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Nation's Weekly Article

Jessica Valenti on December 5, 2012 - 11:40 AM ET

Photo via Instagram
A good person. Genuine. Pleasant. Nice. Hard-working. A family man. The media has used all of these terms to describe Jovan Belcher after he murdered Kasandra Perkins, shooting her nine times. In fact, these glowing descriptors are all from just one article in The New York Times. But don’t worry, there are plenty of pieces sharing lovely sentiments about the man who killed his girlfriend, the mother of his barely 3-month-old daughter.
While mainstream media and supporters of Belcher have no problem spouting off flattery, most are hesitant to call what happened domestic violence. They’ve gone out of their way to suggest that Belcher murdered Perkins—who friends called ‘Kasi’—because of sustained head injuries or because of alcohol or drug abuse. A police officer, Sgt. Richard Sharp, has even suggested that Belcher committed suicide after killing Kasi because “he cared about her.”
“I don’t think he could live with himself,” he said. What a romantic.
It’s horribly offensive to laud a man who murdered his girlfriend and left his daughter parentless. It’s also irresponsible. When the media reports domestic violence murders as random tragedies—or when individuals say the perpetrator must have “snapped”—they enable a culture of violence against women. Because when you don’t contextualize this violence as part of structural misogyny, you give credence to the myth that there was nothing anyone could have done to stop it.
Insisting that this murder or others like it are “unthinkable” or “shocking” is another way of saying that no one could have predicted it. (He was such a nice guy! A family man!) It’s a dangerous lie that allows us to wash our hands of responsibility when it comes to the violence that is perpetrated against women. Because the truth is that murders like this are predictable.
As Casey Gwinn, President of the National Family Justice Center Alliance, wrote,
Relationships do not go from healthy, happy and functional to murder-suicide overnight. It never happens. There is almost always a history and there is always a pattern. Over time it will be clear that friends, family, and colleagues knew things and saw things and did not take action.
Indeed, it has now come out that Belcher had a history of violence and controllingness in relationships with women. While at the University of Maine, campus police reports were filed when Belcher punched his fist through a window during a fight with a woman and again when police were called to break up an argument he had with his girlfriend after she failed to check in with him at a designated time. Belcher’s relationship with Kasi has repeatedly been called strained—so much so that the Kansas City Chiefs provided the couple with relationship counseling. (Which is actually not the right move, according to domestic violence experts.)
Reports indicate that Kasi was leaving or had left Belcher with their daughter. Women are most likely to be killed by their abusive partners when they try to leave—in fact, victims who leave an abusive relationship have a 75 percent higher risk of being murdered. Pregnancy and childbirth exacerbate violent relationships and young black women are eleven times more likely than white women to be murdered while they are pregnant or in the year after childbirth.
This is not rocket science—we know how women die when they are killed by their partners. We know what precedes it and we know what the relationship looks like before it happens.
We also know the excuses that are made for the men who kill. When University of Virginia student and lacrosse player George Huguely V beat his ex-girlfriend (she had just left him) Yeardley Love to death, he insisted it was because of an alcohol problem. Articles said he snapped. I’m sure his friends liked him. People were shocked. But in the weeks leading up to her death, Huguely sent Love an e-mail threatening to kill her, and witnesses had seen him physically abusing her.
There is a pattern that makes murders like Kasi’s and Love’s predictable and preventable. The only thing that seems to be questionable is the public responsibility and response to this violence.
In the wake of Kasi’s murder, Chiefs quarterback Brady Quinn said, “I know when it happened, I was sitting and, in my head, thinking what I could have done differently. When you ask someone how they are doing, do you really mean it? When you answer someone back how you are doing, are you really telling the truth?”
We have a moral obligation to take responsibility for the people in our lives, in our families and in our communities. Kasi Perkins did not have to die. We have to stop pretending that her murder and those like it are a shock or “random” tragedies. It may give some comfort to believe as much, but it’s not the truth. And don’t we owe her at least that much?
For more from Jessica Valenti, check out “She Who Dies with the Most ‘Likes’ Wins?” And sign up for Feminist Roundup, The Nation’s weekly newsletter, here.