October is domestic violence awareness month and what better way to shine a light on the severity that domestic violence has on the lives of its victims than to do something that helps those in need. On October, 24, 2011, that is just what George Gonzalez of George the Salon (www.georgethesalon.com) and the non-profit organization Between Friends (www.betweenfriendschicago.org) did. Together, Gonzalez and Between Friends held a fundraiser at the salon, located at 23 W. Hubbard, Chicago, to raise money to help keep the wonderful organization in place that aids victims of domestic violence.
Between Friends is dedicated to breaking the cycle of domestic violence by providing safe homes. “We see nearly 5,000 clients a year who are experiencing abuse,” said Amanda Espitia, Director of Development. In addition, it also visits middle schools and high schools to talk about domestic violence and healthy relationships not only focusing on intervention but emphasizing on prevention as well.
Unfortunately, domestic violence is more prevalent in communities then many may be aware of. Nearly, one in every four people is affected by it. Gonzalez witnessed it as his mother was in an abusive relationship for seven years. For more than three years, George the Salon has worked with different shelters sending gift certificates so that victims could come to get pampered and boost their self-esteem. “I wanted to give back in a way that touched women in a way that helped them through tough times,” said Gonzalez. He learned of Between Friends through a friend and wanted to partner with them to help raise money for the cause. “I wanted to get involved with Between Friends because they are an organization that can help the women more than we can at the salon. It’s a wonderful organization and I’m glad that we could do this event together.”
The salon was filled with delight. The mood was friendly and inviting. Every chair was filled with supporters of the cause and staff was busy making their clients more beautiful than they already were. “The stylists really listens to you and caters to you,” said Janice McCafferty who was getting her hair washed. She added, “I applaud George for putting forth an effort to help women in this type of situation. This cause is near and dear to my heart. I was a victim of domestic violence and I know women who have been abused. I know how hard it is to talk about it.”
Between Friends offers a place of safety and calm where victims can speak openly and freely about their abusive situations and know that there is help.