A friend of mine reached out and asked me to share the details of a program that is going on where she works. Below you’ll find the details including the mission and how you can participate.

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The Equinox Tree has found a new home at McGeary’s this year. There are lots of tags to be claimed to donate gifts to children in the Domestic Violence Shelter and Teen Transitional Living Program.

Equinox is Albany County’s primary provider of services for victims of domestic violence. All services are confidential, free of charge, and available to all, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.

Our mission is to:
•Offer safety, choices, and support to victims of domestic violence;
•Protect the right of each victim to a life free from abuse;
•Provide education and information to increase community awareness; and
•Collaborate with other agencies to develop a coordinated response to domestic violence.

In doing this work, we believe that:
•Everyone has a right to feel safe, especially within one’s family and home.
•Victims of domestic violence are not to blame for the violence.
•People who threaten or hurt their partners seek power and control. Abusive behavior is not an expression of love.
•We cannot generalize about an individual’s own experience. Characteristics and needs of each victim are unique.
•Change isn’t easy, but it is possible.

Equinox House for Youth is Albany’s sole provider of emergency housing for runaway and homeless youth. Equinox House provides shelter, food, and a caring and supportive staff. Housing up to 18 youths, Equinox House offers a safe, home-like environment and provides group activities, trust and confidence building exercises, and life skills training.

Youth Outreach Center offers HIV/AIDS and drug abuse education, housing referrals, employment assistance, tutoring, and recreational activities.

Street Outreach Program is designed to help homeless or “on the street” youth. The program offers free medical care, meals, and guidance to reduce high-risk behaviors.

Transitional Living Program provides supervised apartment living for older homeless youth—ages 16 to 21—to help them transition to life on their own. Youth live in Transitional Living Apartments, where they have easy access to counseling and group sessions at the adjacent youth shelter

Project Independence provides follow-up services to graduates of the Independent Living Program to support their reintegration into the community.

The Journey Program is a group mentoring program that is now sited at Equinox. The Program is in its fourth year and has 40 youth, 15 volunteer mentors involved family members.

Here’s how it works:
The Equinox gift tree is decorated with gift tags from the children in Equinox’s care/programs. Each child has specified an item that they would like to receive for Christmas. Donors can take a tag, buy the item, wrap it and attach the tag to the gift and drop it back off at McGeary’s. Steven Lounello from Equinox will pick up the gifts Monday to distribute to the children.

Donations directly to Equinox are encouraged for those who are not able to stop down and grab a gift tag.

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