Guest Post: What Day One Means To Me

Honey Heller (right) with Executive Director Stephanie Nilva at the 2019 Voices Against Violence gala, where she was honored with the Above and Beyond Award for her commitment to Day One.

As part of our 15th anniversary celebrations, we will be featuring a series of guest posts throughout the year on the topic “What Day One Means to Me.”

by Honey Heller

Dating and domestic violence have been important issues for me for close to 25 years. I first learned about the issue of domestic violence as a board member of the Nassau County Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCCADV).  I served on their board for 10 years, including 2 as president.

I met Stephanie Nilva, the Executive Director of Day One, shortly after my husband and I moved to Manhattan. Stephanie shared information with me on Day One’s mission to educate youth about dating and domestic violence and healthy relationships as well as providing legal services.

I had never thought about that age group before, as NCCADV was a traditional domestic violence organization working with survivors of domestic violence and their children who witnessed the abuse.  Day One is the only agency in New York City that works solely with youth.

To learn more about Day One and see their educator in action, I attended a workshop at a Manhattan high school.  I saw first hand how Day One helps teens identify the warning signs of abuse and breaks down barriers to their coming forward for help.

Day One not only educates youth but gives adults in law enforcement, school faculty and parents the tools to recognize dating abuse and domestic violence. They learn about effective safety planning and appropriate referrals.

In recent years, Day One has tackled abuse through technology, sex trafficking as well as sexual assaults on college campuses.  In response to these issues, Day One reaches many more youth through the RAPP program placing social workers in 8 city high schools and through the Elementary Prevention Initiative, Day One’s newest program, that reaches children K-5.

I had the honor to be Day One’s first board chair. I have served on the Day One Board for over 14 years. It has been a continuous learning experience.  I wish Day One on its 15th Anniversary many more years of success.

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