THE POWER OF ONE A College Student’s Quest to Help Abused Women

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By Pam Teel


Twenty year old, Ellen Rothfuss, from Roosevelt will be helping out a good cause by running in the 26.2 mile Boston Marathon on April 18th of this year. Her hopes are to raise $10,000 dollars as a charity runner for Casa Myrna Vasquez, a leading domestic violence and dating violence shelter in New England. A junior at Emerson College in Boston, Ellen is studying Communication Sciences and Disorders. This power of one has already met her challenge halfway and needs your support to reach her goal of $10,000 dollars. Not one to sit idle, Ellen has immersed herself into her school theatre productions, helped in an early childhood program for preschool children in low income neighborhoods and has also worked as a student ambassador tour guide for her college. Not being a seasoned runner, Ellen has trained hard to work herself up to running in the Boston Marathon. She was selected through a competitive application process to be a charity marathon runner for Casa Myrna Vasquez, committing herself to raise ten thousand dollars for the shelter. She has run in a 5k to help raise money for Eden Autism Services in Princeton and she also ran the Tufts Health Care 10K for women in Boston. A member of the Executive Board of Emerson College’s Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority, she also helps host Emerald Empowerment, a week long campaign against domestic violence and partner abuse with all of their proceeds going to the Casa Myrna Vasquez and Transition House, another Boston shelter. Ellen has also been busy raising money by holding local events in her hometown of Roosevelt and in nearby communities. This past March she helped to host a Comedy Show at the Hightstown Fire Hall in an effort to raise more money for the shelter. With all of her extra activities, Ellen is on the Dean’s list and still manages to maintain her excellent grades. The Boston Marathon is something very personal to Ellen who has friends who ran in it on the day of the Boston bombing. Instead of being afraid to run again, they show their fearlessness against terrorism by running stronger every year. Their commitment has been an inspiration to Ellen as she trains hard, vowing to cross the finish line in memory of those victims of the bombings. To follow up on Ellen’s training and future events go to: www. CasaMyrna For those who would like to help Ellen reach her goal with a small donation, go to: (donations are preferred before the April 18th marathon but can be accepted up until May 18th, 2016.) All money raised will go directly to the Casa Myrna Vasquez shelters. Ellen will be paying her own race fee, which is $350.00. If there is a reader out there or a business who would like to sponsor Ellen and pick up the costs of her entry fee, please contact Ellen at: Casa Myrna was founded in the mid 1970’s by a group of volunteers in Boston’s south end to provide a safe haven for women who have been abused by their husbands and partners. The first shelter was named after Puerto Rican actress and activist Myrna Vasquez, who fully believed in the restorative power of the arts and culture and used her talents to help provide an outlet to others in her community who were beset by many of the inner city problems such as domestic abuse and crack cocaine use. The first shelter was an eight-room brownstone in Boston’s South end aptly named after Myrna when she passed away suddenly in 1976. Today Cass Myrna has grown into Boston’s largest provider of shelter and supportive services to survivors of domestic violence. The patterns of domestic violence can take many forms from verbal threats, isolating the victim from family and friends, intimidation, financial control, sexual violence, physical violence, stalking, damaging property or threatening to harm the victim’s family members, children or pets. Abusers will also sometimes threaten to hurt themselves as a way of making victims feel guilty. If you find yourself a victim, it’s important to call and talk to someone. They are there to help you and your family. You don’t need to be a victim anymore. You do have a choice. Hotlines New Jersey Domestic Violence Hotline 1 (800) 572-SAFE (7233) 24 hours a day/7 days a week The New Jersey Domestic Violence Hotline provides confidential access to domestic violence information and services, including crisis intervention, referral, and advocacy. Bilingual and accessible to the deaf and hearing impaired. New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NJCASA) Hotline 1 (800) 601-7200 24 hours a day/7 days a week The New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NJCASA) connects individuals affected by sexual violence with professionals that provide assistance and referrals. Calls are routed to the closest rape crisis care center. NJCASA is the collective voice for victims of sexual violence, their loved ones and rape crisis centers across New Jersey. The thing about domestic violence is that it’s a silent killer. It could be happening right next door and you would never know until it was too late. The scourge of domestic violence is so stigmatizing that most victims never talk about it or seek help. You can help make a difference in a victim’s recovery by providing funding so shelters like CasaMyrna Vasquez can continue to offer help and counseling to someone whose future at one time deemed hopeless. At such a young age, Ellen is already making a difference in the world. It goes to show you what the power of one can do. There are no limits. Now it’s your turn to pay it forward. Please help Ellen reach her goal with a small donation.