San Rafael, CA – Free backpacks full of back-to-school items were distributed August 16 to families who are healing from domestic violence incidents, courtesy of staff from two County of Marin departments – the Probation Department and the District Attorney’s Office.
Deputy Probation Officer Mark Messner and Probation Officer Brenda Godoy made a very special delivery of school supplies August 16 to the Center for Domestic Peace in San Rafael.
About 25 backpacks from the two departments were dropped off at the Center for Domestic Peace, a nonprofit based in San Rafael that provides a range of services for victims of domestic violence. Several department store gift cards were included so additional supplies could be purchased. More supplies have come from private donations, including the Nativity of Christ Greek Orthodox Church in Novato.
The collection effort began August 5 after the center publicized a need for school and art supplies for kids.
“We’re doing this for the kids who have recently experienced family trauma,” Probation Chief Mike Daly said. “This underscores the County’s commitment to victims of domestic violence and to support the treatment programs we use for those cases.”
District Attorney Lori Frugoli said her department works closely year-round with the Center for Domestic Peace.
“The beginning of a new school year is an important time for children,” she said. “We are honored to collaborate with the Center for Domestic Peace, and we hope that the new backpacks and supplies helps these children start the school year with a smile.”
Since its founding in 1977, the Center for Domestic Peace has responded to the needs of more than 181,000 local women and children affected by domestic violence as well as more than 29,000 men who have been violent. Each year, the organization promotes the safety and empowerment of more than 6,000 individuals through its emergency shelter, 24/7 hotlines, long-term transitional housing, support groups, legal advocacy and services. It also trans professionals from various sectors to coordinate a community response to domestic violence.
“Our agency has a close working relationship with the center regarding the valuable services it provides to the people of Marin,” said Deputy Probation Officer Mark Messner, who delivered the backpacks. “In addition to working with the offender population, we wanted to also reach out to the victim families. It could be that the mothers appreciate these backpacks just as much as the kids.”
The Center for Domestic Peace accepts donations every day of the year.
“The vision of the Center for Domestic Peace is ‘Working together to end domestic violence,’” said Deputy Executive Director Kate Kain. “This backpack project is a small example of how justice partners and the Greek Orthodox Church working together can help us succeed.”