Center For Women And Families Opens Children's Library For Young Victims Of Domestic Abuse

LOUISVILLE, KY — Children who call The Center for Women and Families a temporary home can now find literary refuge at a library established by Jewish Women International (JWI) and the Verizon Foundation in the downtown Louisville shelter.

The Verizon Foundation donated $10,000 to JWI’s National Library Initiative for the Louisville facility, the first in Kentucky and the newest of 38 libraries established in the nation.

JWI’s National Library Initiative is working in partnership with volunteers, businesses and corporations to establish 100 children’s libraries in domestic violence shelters across the United States. Each library provides a chance for children enduring difficult circumstances to continue to learn and grow, according to JWI officials.

The Center for Women and Families, which offers counseling, safe shelter and education for survivors of domestic violence and their families, used the Verizon funds to transform an underutilized group space into a library – complete with 150 new books, small and large rocking chairs, bookcases, a study table and chairs and area rugs. In addition, Verizon Wireless and its Kentucky employees donated another couple hundred books for the Center’s children.

“All too often, women and children fleeing from an abusive home aren’t able to bring anything with them,” said Brandy Bernauer, supervisor of child advocacy for The Center for Women and Families. “A library for children can be of particular comfort, especially when children are forced to leave behind all that is familiar and comfortable, such as books and toys.”

JWI’s National Library Initiative was launched in 2006 as an effort to reach the youngest victims of domestic violence and place them on a path to educational stability, emotional recovery and future success. Children fleeing abusive situations suffer from emotional trauma as well as an interruption in their education. This can lead to permanent academic deficits and later workforce challenges, as well as a continuing risk of entering into abusive relationships in their teens and adult lives. The library program breaks the cycle of violence by creating safe havens within shelters where children can study, read, do homework and form a healthy bond with their mothers.

“Our National Library Initiative would not be as successful without the tremendous support of corporations like Verizon Wireless, a company equally committed to domestic violence awareness and prevention,” said Lori Weinstein, executive director of JWI. “We are fortunate to have found such a devoted community partner with whom to join forces.”

“This new library demonstrates our ongoing commitment to making a difference in the communities where we live and work,” said Michelle Gilbert, public relations manager, Kentucky/Indiana/Michigan region, Verizon Wireless, who delivered the additional children’s books donated by Verizon Wireless and its employees. “We hope this library at The Center for Women and Families feeds the creativity of children in temporary refuge and strengthens their desire to learn.”

Community members are encouraged to help fill the shelves by donating new children’s books to the library. For more information on how to make donations, please contact Jonathan Strasburg, of Jewish Women International, at 800-343-2823 or

About Jewish Women InternationalJewish Women International is the leading Jewish organization empowering women and girls through economic literacy, community training, healthy relationships education, and the proliferation of women’s leadership. Our innovative programs, advocacy, and philanthropic initiatives protect the fundamental rights of all girls and women to live in safe homes, thrive in healthy relationships, and realize the full potential of their personal strength. For more information, please visit or contact us at 800-343-2823.

About The Center for Women and FamiliesThe Center for Women and Families helps victims of intimate partner abuse or sexual violence to become survivors through supportive services, community education and cooperative partnerships that foster hope, promote self-sufficiency and rebuild lives. The Center has been serving the Kentuckiana community since 1912, when it began as part of the YWCA. Today it is a private nonprofit organization serving 10 counties and operating seven regional locations, three of which provide emergency shelter, transitional housing and/or long-term housing options. The Center maintains a $4.9 million budget and provided housing, advocacy, counseling, therapy and education to over 30,000 people last year.

About Verizon FoundationThe Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, supports the advancement of literacy and K-12 education through its free educational website,, and fosters awareness and prevention of domestic violence. In 2009, the Verizon Foundation awarded more than $67.5 million in grants to nonprofit agencies in the U.S. and abroad. It also matched the charitable donations of Verizon employees and retirees, resulting in an additional $26.1 million in combined contributions to nonprofits. Through Verizon Volunteers, one of the nation’s largest employee volunteer programs, Verizon employees and retirees have volunteered more than 5 million hours of community service since 2000. For more information on the foundation, visit Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, NASDAQ:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving more than 93 million customers nationwide. Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers innovative, seamless business solutions to customers around the world. A Dow 30 company, Verizon last year generated consolidated revenues of more than $107 billion. For more information, visit