Several excited children ran around the room as college students talked and played with them Friday afternoon at Hope’s Wings domestic violence shelter in Richmond.
Three Eastern Kentucky University student groups joined together to host the shelter’s annual Christmas party. The groups were Alpha Phi Sigma, the criminal justice program honor society, the Golden Key International Honour Society and the Criminal Justice Graduate Student Association.
“We want to give (the residents) something to remember the rest of their lives,” Alpa Phi Sigma President Hoai Robinette said.
The shelter housed seven adults and six children Friday, according to Director Jennifer Lainhart.
In addition to dozens of toys, the groups also donated a big-screen TV and desktop computer to the shelter. Altogether, it came to $1,500 in donated items.
One resident, an expecting mother, cried as Robinette handed her a gift bag full of items for the baby.
Inmates at the Federal Medical Center in Lexington donated handmade blankets and quilts to the shelter’s women and children. The donation was arranged by the center’s Community Relations Board.
The groups also donated a check to the shelter to use for its operational costs.
“This will go a long, long way,” Lainhart said, noting she and others who work at the shelter have learned to pinch every penny so they can help as many people as they can.
EKU professor Dr. James Wells, who teaches in the criminal justice program, said the groups picked Hope’s Wings to donate to because of Alpha Phi Sigma’s theme this year, “Endangered Children.”
He pointed out that in cases of domestic violence, children often suffer along with their abused parent.
Lainhart talked to the dozens of college students about Hope’s Wings efforts to educate the community about combating domestic violence. However, she said the most important thing they can do would be to start in their own homes with the children they will have some day.
“Raise your children up to know love doesn’t hurt,” Lainhart said.
Sarah Hogsed can be reached at email@example.com or 624-6694.
To Get Help
Domestic Violence Crisis Hotline: 877-HOPE-040
Hope’s Wings: 623-4095