Rock Hill students help shelter

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 17, 2000


Thursday, February 17, 2000

ASHLAND, Ky. – Rock Hill High School students rolled up their sleeves Wednesday, helping Safe Harbor spouse abuse shelter staff clean the facility from top to bottom.

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The students – 25 freshmen, sophomores and juniors in Rock Hill’s Jobs for Ohio’s Graduates program – used elbow grease to do away with the negative stigma and stereotype of shelter living, Safe Harbor outreach coordinator Traci Gibson said.

"The whole point of a service project like this is it helps our young people understand what the shelter is about," Ms. Gibson said.

Also, those who need the shelter are making a hard transition in life while they leave an abusive situation, she said.

Having a clean environment at the shelter means area women and children suffering from domestic violence will feel more at home in their new "home away from home," Ms. Gibson said.

Student Jason Stamper spent part of his afternoon washing windows and walls.

Other students mopped floors, cleaned bathrooms, removed junk from around the building and generally spiffed the place up, Ms. Gibson said.

Stamper said he learned more about domestic issues that can face everyone in today’s society.

"And it helps people out," he said.

Student Molly Kidd said becoming aware of where those suffering from domestic violence can go is important.

"And if I see it happening, I can try to talk to them, tell them there’s a place to go," Miss Kidd said, adding that Safe Harbor could be that starting point.

Volunteering can make a difference, even with just with a day’s work, she said.

Perhaps more importantly, Safe Harbor will reap the benefit as volunteers help the agency overcome the stigma attached to emergency shelter living, Ms. Gibson said.

"If we can ease a family’s fear about coming into a shelter by providing them with a healthy, positive, clean environment, then families are more willing to accept our services and escape from an abusive household," she said.

"And that makes all the difference in the world."

JOG students embark upon several volunteer community service projects each year and usually help with Special Olympics, project coordinator and adviser Dan Harmon said.

Besides the help students can provide to others, and the reward of making a difference, the volunteer work provides valuable life experience that many employers are expecting to see on resumes these days, he said.