Difficult Times Call for Increased Awareness


Rumson – 180 Turning Lives Around, a nonprofit agency that assists victims of domestic violence and sexual assault throughout Monmouth County, was able to spread their message and mission at an informational breakfast on Feb. 26 hosted by one of the agencies longtime supporters Carolynn Diakon, a resident here.

Intended to educate and enlighten area residents about the important services 180 provides to individuals who are affected by domestic violence, child abuse and sexual assault, attendees were also informed about 180’s statewide 2NDFLOOR ® Youth Helpline – an accessible, free telephone helpline to assist children and adolescents with their day to day concerns.

According to 180 Director of Development Nicole Romaine, the youth helpline is an important piece of 180’s youth-centered and prevention efforts and has become more significant during recent and difficult times. “Last month 2NDFLOOR ® received nearly 7,000 calls and our website received an equal amount of hits from every county in the state,” she said – an increase of between 15 and 20 percent.

“Our goal is to provide callers with a confidential, non-judgmental voice on the other end of the line; our counselors encourage youth to seek out a trusted adult and also make referrals and recommendations based on the caller’s situation,” said Romaine.

Because of heightened economic anxiety levels and youth access to information and technology, Diakon believes that now, more than ever, it is important to spread the message of prevention and advocacy. “Raising children is difficult, even when times are good,” she said. “With so much uncertainty at home and fearful news at their fingertips, children are becoming confused often having nowhere to turn.”

180 has been providing essential and wide reaching services to the residents of Monmouth County for over 30 years and is in the process of developing a new, larger Safe House facility in the county. Currently, the organization can accommodate seven women and their children in their existing temporary housing facility but are turning away just as many women and families as they serve.

At the breakfast, a former 180 client shared her story about her involvement in an abusive marriage and the services and support 180 provided to her through the agencies family court liaison program in Freehold. The speaker – a professional woman and mother of three who is now divorced – helped guests understand that she could be any woman: neighbor, co-worker, or friend.

A rousing speaker, the former client developed a unique connection with the guests who all asked questions, opening frank and honest dialogue about various aspects of abusive relationships, the court process, stages of healing and the affects on children during both the marriage and long after the relationship had been dissolved.

For the past year, Diakon has sponsored an area wide Pajama Drive for 180, collecting new sleepwear for women and children who often flee their homes with little but the clothes on their backs. “When women find themselves in abusive situations, and have the courage to leave, the last thing on their minds is necessities, much less comforts,” said Diakon. “If we can take a moment and provide a simple something that so many of us take for granted, perhaps that small gesture will lead to great hope and trust that someone cares for them.”

With nearly two dozen 180 associates, board members, supporters, and interested individuals, Romaine was pleased by the turnout at the breakfast and grateful for the opportunity to generate interest in the organization as a result of the morning’s discussions. “By opening their homes, supporters like Carolynn help us educate groups in an intimate and comfortable setting,” she said. “If people leave more educated and informed and, perhaps, ready to help in some way, we are thrilled and know the gathering was a success.”

To find out more about 180 Turning Lives Around or to host an informational meeting in your home, please visit www.180nj.org for more information.

Carolynn Ozar - Diakon opened Resources Real Estate, a full service real estate company in 2000. She is totally committed to personally hand picking her agents and training them herself. With 21 years of real estate experience, Carolynn maintains an outstanding reputation of leadership and knowledge for her team of agents.

Resources Real Estate is located at 112 East River Road in Rumson, NJ. For more local real estate info you can call 732-212-0440. You can also hear real estate trends and tips on www.resourcesrealestate.com.