Bill Connington, the actor/writer, visited The Streetwork Drop-In Center for Homeless Youth at 209 West 125th Street in New York. He met with representatives of Safe Horizon, the largest provider of domestic violence services in the United States. In attendance were Ariel Zwang, CEO, Steven C. Parrish, Chairman of the Board, Liz Roberts, Chief Program Officer, Jose Gonzalez, Director of Streetwork and Kristine Widulski, Senior Director of Major and Planned Gifts. Streetwork is one of several programs Safe Horizon offers with walk-in services around the city.
The representatives of Safe Horizon each shared stories about adolescent and young adult clients (female and male) who have been victims of violence and abuse, many of whom are homeless. The Safe Horizon team described what they do to help at this facility: providing a safe environment during the day for clients to take a shower, eat a healthy meal, use the computer, and speak to trained counselors. Safe Horizon provides a limited number of beds for clients to spend the night. There is a long waiting list of homeless youth attempting to obtain safe shelter. The team explained that for teenagers and homeless people in their early 20s, they put themselves at risk sexually if they stay at adult shelters in New York City.
Last November Connington directed a charity performance of I STAND BEFORE YOU NAKED by famed American author Joyce Carol Oates, to benefit Safe Horizon. Broadway and television stars including Barbara Walsh, Stephanie D'Abruzzo, Nikka Lanzarone, Bree Williamson, Janet Carroll, and Mary Stout performed. The play is a series of 10 monologues dealing with womens' issues, including domestic violence. Connington is planning another production of the play.
Connington is the writer and star of the play ZOMBIE, based on the novella by Joyce Carol Oates. He performed it at The New York International Fringe Festival, and in two Off-Broadway runs. He wrote and starred in the short film of ZOMBIE, which is making the round of film festivals. The feature film of ZOMBIE is currently in pre-production. The play and film were directed by Thomas Caruso. The film's producer was Michael Cooper. The composer of the play and film was Deirdre Broderick.
Safe Horizon is New York City's largest provider of domestic violence residences with more than 425 beds available throughout the five boroughs. Safe Horizon operates both emergency shelters for crisis situations and transitional housing where women move after several months to plan for a future free from violence. The shelters offer comprehensive services including counseling, housing assistance, life skills and parenting courses, childcare, and medical aid.
Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-621-HOPE (4673)
Crime Victims Hotline: 866-689-HELP (4357)
Rape & Sexual Assault Hotline: 212-227-3000
Safe Horizon Administrative Office: 212-577-7700
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