As a women's college with a significant Hispanic population and a tradition of service to the community, The College of New Rochelle has an obligation to pay close attention to issues of domestic violence, said Dr. Richard Thompson, dean of the School of Arts & Sciences.
Thompson was addressing those who had gathered at Sweeney Student Center Wednesday, October 16, to hear from a panel of experts from local community service agencies. "We need to use our education to better society," Thompson said.
Dr. Judy Gordon, Associate Professor of Social Work, organized the event with Dr. Catherine Pearlman, Assistant Professor of Social Work, and Silvana Bajana, director of Latino and international initiatives, in recognition of both Hispanic Heritage Month and Domestic Violence Month. The forum was also co-sponsored by the Westchester Division of the National Association of Social Workers.
The panelist emphasized the complexity of the problem and the challenges women face as they seek to escape abusive relationships while safeguarding the well-being of their children, the family relationships they value, and the cultural traditions with which they were raised.
The resulting discussions highlighted the similarities and differences in domestic violence problems as experienced by members of the Hispanic community and individuals from other ethnic a and cultural groups.
"We had a wonderful turnout, with a mix of students from SAS and Nursing, as well as social workers from around the county," said Pearlman, who was part of a breakout group that covered counseling and family-related services for victims of domestic violence. "It was amazing to see the variety of services available to support domestic violence victims in the county."
Pearlman also noted that the agency representatives had extensive backgrounds and experience in law, counseling, and related fields, while also showing clear dedication to their work. "I think the students had an eye-opening evening."
The panel included Yhatrid Algarin, LCSW-R, of Alssaro Counseling Services; Martha C. Anderson, Program Specialist for the Westchester County Office for Women; Daniel Villena, staff attorney at Empire Justice Center; Zoe Colon, MPA, executive director of the Hispanic Resource Center; and Elsa I. Arce, MS, LMHC, coordinator of bilingual services for Hope's Door, Inc.
Other breakout groups tacked immigration and legal issues, and community resources and shelters.
The School of Arts & Sciences will be sponsoring a one-credit courseduring the January 2014 Intersession focusing on domestic violence. Students and others interested in enrolling can contact the SocialWork Department at (914) 654 5545.