CLEARFIELD – It is estimated that every minute of every day in America, someone becomes the victim of sexual violence. SkillsUSA members at the Clearfield County Career and Technology Center recently teamed up with PASSAGES, Inc. to provide assistance to victims of sexual violence in our area. PASSAGES, Inc. was founded in 1980 as The Rape Crisis Center, and is dedicated to the provision of free and confidential services to the victims and survivors of sexual assault throughout Clarion, Clearfield and Jefferson Counties.
One of the services that PASSAGES provides, according to Marcie LaBelle, Counselor Advocate, is giving victims of sexual violence a “care kit” when they are at the hospital. The clothing of victims of sexual assault is normally kept as evidence by the police. The care kit provides various articles of clothing and basic toiletries to the victims to help ease some of their distress. SkillsUSA members Felicity Cowfer, Renee Fisch and Cierra Gillingham organized a dance as a benefit for PASSAGES and raised over $235.00, which they used to buy clothing for the care kits. They also collected a large box of toiletry items at the dance. In addition, they have placed collection cans with information about PASSAGES at area businesses.
Renee Fisch stated that, “In researching bullying and dating violence on the internet, physical abuse was listed as one of the three methods by which a person bullies or abuses another person. Sexual violence fell under the physical abuse category. We saw partnering with PASSAGES as an excellent way to bring the message that help is available to victims of sexual violence in our area.”
Community members who wish to help are encouraged to donate the following items, which can be dropped off at the Career Center office: Sweatpants, t-shirts, long sleeve shirts or sweatshirts, flip flops, sports bras, underwear, hair scrunchies, and travel-sized toiletry items such as shampoo, conditioner, and deodorant. All items must be new. Clothing items can be in sizes small to 2X.
Felicity Cowfer noted that, “Cash is also accepted, and so are Wal-Mart gift cards in any amount. Even if you can only give one or two small things, they’ll add up and go a long way to showing these victims that someone really does care about them.”