In recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the peer educators student organization, Promoting Healthy Relationships Through Education and Empowerment (PHREE), at Misericordia University hosted an “Empty Place at the Table” exhibit on campus in partnership with the Luzerne County Domestic Violence Service Center.
“Empty Place at the Table” is a traveling memorial to victims from Luzerne County whose lives were lost due to domestic violence. Of the 27 place settings at the table, 26 are created by the victims’ families to represent a loved one lost to domestic violence and an empty seat at the family table. The table includes place settings honoring Jane Aiello, 47, a nursing surgical specialist who died from domestic violence on Sept. 26, 2013; Richard Janczewski, a 23-year-old Avoca police officer who died in 1986 responding to a victim’s call, and Diane Snyder and her 37-day-old son, Brian, who died in an arson fire in Mountain Top in 1983. The 27th place setting is the “unknown” place setting, designed to represent all victims known and unknown in Luzerne County.
Misericordia’s PHREE peer
educators Linsey Parks of Pine Beach, New Jersey; Taylor Daton of Jackson, New Jersey; and Lauren Balogh of Drums hosted an information table in collaboration with the exhibit, to provide information on support services available on campus and in the local community. Lori Ianni, medical counselor advocate at the Luzerne County Domestic Violence Service Center, and Louise Keller, service-learning specialist with the Office of Service-Learning at Misericordia University, helped coordinate the project.
October has been recognized nationally as Domestic Violence Awareness Month since 1987. That same year marked the launch of the first national domestic violence toll-free hotline, 1-800-799-7233.
The Luzerne County Domestic Violence Service Center was founded in 1976 to provide services to battered and homeless women and their children. For more information, please go online to www.domesticviolenceservice.orgor call 1-800-424-5600.