A crowd of more than 50 interested people gathered at Trinity Church in Grand Island on Thursday, January 9 th , to hear the wonderful news: the Family Justice Center has secured a permanent home for a Grand Island FJC Satellite Office.
The space, a former parsonage for Trinity Church, will get a top-to-bottom makeover and refurbishment in early 2020, with plans to open to clients in late-Spring or early-Summer 2020. Located at 2074 Whitehaven Road, the home is in a central location on Grand Island, with easy access to NFTA bus routes, and the 190 Thruway.
“This is a dream come true – to finally have a home for the permanent location for the FJC on Grand Island,” said FJC Board member and Grand Island resident, Karen Panzarella-Brodie. “I am so excited to get our community involved. There is something for everyone: from fundraising, to landscaping, to helping renovate the home, getting trained to be a volunteer at the satellite. We can all get involved and show anyone who is in an abusive relationship that it is not their fault, and we are here in any way you need.”
Panzarella-Brodie, who Co-Chairs the Grand Island Committee with fellow Survivor, Laura Lewis Mason, talked about how the need for services on Grand Island is critical. “Domestic Violence is everywhere, in every community. It doesn’t matter where you live: it is in our neighborhoods. We need to open our eyes and our hearts, and display intolerance for this public health crisis that is taking people’s lives and destroying families. The days of looking the other way need to be gone, and we all need to take responsibility for talking – without judgement – to those we suspect may be in an abusive relationship….and directing them to the Family Justice Center.”
The FJC is working with a general contractor on all updates to the space, but will have volunteers and room sponsors involved in the design of each room.
“We want the space to be cohesive as a whole, but are looking forward to each room having its own personality. We want all spaces to be comfortable and welcoming to our clients, as they are in Buffalo, Orchard Park, and Amherst [FJC locations] already,” said CEO Mary Murphy.
The FJC is currently recruiting volunteers and organizing teams to put plans into motion as the space moves forward to serve clients. Volunteers will be needed to assist with fundraising and sponsorship of rooms, landscaping, outreach, and to volunteer on-site once the satellite is open for business.
Photo caption: The Grand Island Dream Team leaders at Rachael’s Warrior Foundation shared storied and information at the January 9 th meeting. (Top row, from left: GI Team Leader Laura Lewis Mason, Pastor Kevin Slough of Trinity Church Grand Island, GI Team Leader Karen Panzarella-Brodie, Rachael’s Warrior Foundation Co-President Mark Wierzbicki, FJC CEO Mary Murphy. Bottom row, from left: GI Team Leader Jessica Mazgaj, Rachael’s Warrior Foundation Co-President Lauri Wierzbicki)