Mosaic 2017

In just a few short weeks, the Family Justice Center will be hosting our annual Mosaic event on October 19th from 5:30 until 8:30 pm at Lakeward Spirits located at 65 Vandalia Street, Buffalo.  Mosaic – a celebration of everything Buffalo – is the Center’s family-friendly, Buffalo-loving event that has a lot in store for everyone!

This year’s festivities have found a new home at Lakeward Spirits, which is located at the 114 year old historic Barrel Factory in the City’s Old First Ward.  The Distillery is the perfect back drop for the Buffalo-themed event that is designed to showcase all that we love about Buffalo, including new local businesses like Lakeward Spirits, that have been key in the “re-birth of Buffalo.”

In addition to the new venue, Mosaic 2017 will include food and drink provided by a variety of local restaurants, local entertainment, chances to win a Buffalo Bills experience with John Murphy, a silent and live auction that will include incredible travel packages like a Sonoma Valley Wine excursion, a U.S. Open Golf Tournament Package, and a hands-on culinary experience at Le Cordon Bleu Ottawa, and so much more.  You can even take a chance on our Wine Wheel!

Don’t miss out on the fun and get your tickets today.  You can order them online at our website, www.fjcsafe.org, or by contacting Sue Fumanti at 558-5283.

Senator Gallivan Secures FMU Funding

The Family Justice Center was delighted to start off Domestic Violence Awareness Month alongside long-time supporter and friend of the FJC, Senator Patrick Gallivan.  At a press conference held at the Center on Tuesday, October 3rd, the Senator and our Executive Director, Mary Murphy, announced that the Senator has once again secured $100,000.00 in critical funding to support the Forensic Medical Unit.

The funding that the Senator has been able to secure over the past four years has been the sole source of support for the Forensic Medical Unit, which is the only Forensic Medical Unit in all of New York State that is dedicated to domestic violence victims and is a valuable tool for prosecutors in holding offenders accountable.

We cannot thank Senator Gallivan enough for continuing to support the Forensic Medical Unit and for recognizing the valuable role it plays in holding offenders accountable.  Without accountability we can’t end the cycle of abuse.  So, thank you Senator for providing the community with the tools needed to try and bring an end to the violence.

Living Legacies

On September 23, 2017, the FJC hosted over 100 family members and friends for a ribbon cutting and unveiling of yet another beautiful living room.  “Meredith’s Room” is a not only a charming, comfortable sanctuary for our clients to meet with a domestic violence advocate, but its bohemian décor, music and travel theme are also a living legacy of the young woman it honors.

The Family Justice Center strives to create an atmosphere that lets the victims we serve not only feel safe, but also like they deserve a beautiful space, that life can be beautiful, and that our advocates are here to help them start their journey to their new, beautiful and peaceful life.  Our dedicated living rooms, like “Meredith’s Room” and “Ruby’s Room” provide exactly that and have already been the starting point of a new life for many victims.

We are also happy to report that we are working on yet another special, dedicated room: “Jilly’s Room.”  This room will also be a living legacy, but instead of a living room, it is being designed as a Wellness Room for both victims, staff, and volunteers.  “Jilly’s Room” will be a place for self-care, for relaxation, and maybe even a little pampering.  We are very excited to be part of this incredible project and can’t wait to announce when it is finished.

If you are interested in taking a tour of the Family Justice Center and visiting these amazing rooms for yourself or you are interested in dedicating one of our remaining living rooms, please just contact Ellen Augello at 558-5295 or eaugello@fjcsafe.org.

Wish List Needs

Did you know that the Family Justice Center has a Wish List?  These are items that are in high demand at the Center.  Many domestic violence victims have limited access to resources when fleeing the abuse.  Others are so controlled that they don’t have access to a vehicle or the gasoline is siphoned out of the vehicle to prevent them from leaving.  Still others have no access to the family finances – making it difficult for them provide the simplest things as food, diapers, etc.

In addition to these items, the Wish List also contains items that are used to help keep clients and their children comfortable while they are at the Family Justice Center.  We want both parent and child to be at home, so we will provide snacks, coffee, books, etc.  For children living in such uncertainty, the Family Justice Center is a welcome respite where kids can just be kids.

Please look at our Wish List and consider donating an item from our list.  The Wish List can be found on our website at www.fjcsafe.org/about/wish-list.  We welcome any donation!  If you would like to donate off the list, please contact Tiffany Pavone at 558-5272 or tpavone@fjcsafe.org.

Meet Connie Foster

The Family Justice Center is proud to welcome Connie Foster to our team.  Connie joins the agency as a Domestic Violence Advocate – a position made possible by a grant through the New York State Office on the Prevention of Domestic Violence.  Connie will be joining the team that has been working to create a Family Justice Center satellite office in Grand Island and will be the advocate stationed at the satellite when it opens.

Connie moved back into the area to re-join the Family Justice Center team.  She had previously worked with the Family Justice Center in 2010 as an AmeriCorp Able member before she left for school.  Since then, Connie has earned her MSW and has been working at Hearts of Hope in Louisiana assisting child and adult victims of sexual assault.  Connie was a valuable member of our team in 2010 and we know she will be invaluable to us again.

We welcome Connie to the team and look forward to all that she will be able to help the Family Justice Center accomplish!!

Family Justice Center to open satellite location on Grand Island, survivor speaks out

The Buffalo News features story on possible FJC office in Grand Island

On May 23, 2017, The Buffalo News posted an article which highlights the Family Justice Centers efforts to open an office in Grand Island. In the article, FJC Executive Director Mary Travers Murphy said a potential free space for a satellite location has been identified and that the FJC has secured a grant to move forward. The full article is available on The Buffalo News website.

Possible Third Satellite to Open

The Family Justice Center was recently approached by a group of concerned community members from Grand Island.  They had read that in 2016, Grand Island had the highest rate of domestic violence among the towns and villages in Erie County.  They had also experienced the tragedy of losing a friend, colleague, and loved one to domestic violence.

Armed with the disheartening statistics and coping with the tragedy, the group formed a community coalition that attended a Family Justice Center tour and then asked our Executive Director, Mary Murphy, what would need to be done to create a satellite office in Grand Island.  The group, which included the Town Supervisor, had already started scouting locations, researching funding, as well as recruiting volunteers.

As a result, on Wednesday May 24th at 7:00 pm, there will be a Town Meeting held to discuss the Grand Island Family Justice Center Satellite Initiative.  The meeting will be held at the Buffalo Launch Club located at 503 East River Road, Grand Island.  All our welcome to attend to learn more about the proposed satellite, here from members of the coalition that assisted in creating the Family Justice Center’s Amherst satellite, and have any questions answered.

Investigation Discovery Channel to Air Documentary

The Family Justice Center was proud to be part of a documentary that will air on April 25th at 8:00 pm on the Investigation Discovery Channel. Debra Jaeger, a long-time friend of the Family Justice Center, has volunteered her time with the Center sharing her sister’s story at our morning tours. Unfortunately, Deb lost her sister, Jill Cahill, to domestic violence nearly 20 years ago at the hands of her estranged husband. The story of Jill’s death was heavily covered by the media, including the eventual trial and conviction of her husband.

The 20/20 documentary that is scheduled to air focuses on the years following the conviction and the work of Deb and her family to make something positive out of their tragedy. Their determination and diligence paid off with the passing of Jilly’s Law which adds criteria for determining whether to issue an order of protection or bail and allows the court to consider any record of violations of court orders, any history or pattern of threats or violent acts against the alleged victim or others when denying bail.

The producers of the documentary have remarked on how moved they were by Deb and her family and they consider the end product a “true labor of love.” It is a tribute to Jill, her life, and her beautiful family who would not let her life be forgotten.

Ruby’s Room Dedication

Ruby Stiglmeier was a beloved dental hygienist at a popular dental office in Orchard Park, NY.  According to her family and friends, she loved life and she loved people.  She left an indelible mark of joy and happiness on everyone she met.  When her life was ended at the hands of her ex-boyfriend in 2016, her family, friends, and the entire community was devastated, but determined to not let her life be forgotten.  They wanted to turn the tragedy into an opportunity to help others and they truly succeeded in creating a legacy in Ruby’s name.

Ruby’s family and friends held a fundraiser in the fall of 2016 where over 400 people turned out to show their love and respect for Ruby.  The event raised over $25,000 and the family turned to the Family Justice Center to use the money to help other domestic violence victims find a safe way out of the abuse.

On March 29, 2017, the one year anniversary of her death, the Family Justice Center invited Ruby’s family and friends for the unveiling and dedication of “Ruby’s Room.”  Ruby’s Room is the newest addition to the line-up of services available to domestic violence victims at the Center.  The agency expanded its footprint to add on another Client Living Room that is more than just a living room.  Ruby’s Room is also used by the Center’s newest partner, Erie County SPCA’s Paws For Love Program, to provide pet therapy to our clients and their children.  The therapy dogs help clients be calmer, more comfortable and secure and thereby improve their ability to recall traumatic information as they are working with the advocates, police officer, or even testifying before Family Court via web-conferencing.

Ruby’s Room is not only a beautiful sanctuary for clients, but a loving tribute to Ruby herself.  Her life will never be forgotten and her memory will live on.  Ruby will continue to bring joy to others by helping victims find their new, happy, abuse free lives.  Ruby’s Room is now a regular part of Family Justice Center tours.  If you would like to attend a tour and see Ruby’s Room for yourself, just contact Tiffany Szymanek at 558-5272 or tszymanek@fjcsafe.org