Rosie’s Girls Santa Monica, based on a national program designed to build self-esteem, leadership and physical confidence in middle school girls, participated in a question-and-answer talk Wednesday, August 9th, by Sojourn outreach manager Liz Jones on the warning signs of, and solutions to, disrespect, verbal abuse and physical violence.

Sojourn provides shelter, support groups, counseling, legal assistance and 24-hour hotline services to more than 3,000 battered women and children from the Westside each year.

Jones goes out into the community to familiarize various groups about what people can do when faced with various forms of aggressive behavior, abuse or domestic violence.

“Today, I learned that there is no excuse for abuse,” said 11-year-old Chloe Roberts.

“Don’t let an abuser stay in your life,” 12-year-old Nicolle Daghighian added.

“Be more careful in relationships,” said ten-year-old Arielle Kronovet.

Rosie’s Girls is a city program for 28 middle school girls who attend a three-week summer camp to experience what it takes to maintain the city by learning and applying skills in carpentry, welding, firefighting and other technical trades.

The program’s name comes from the World War II-era cartoon character Rosie the Riveter.

“Working with the City of Santa Monica’s tree trimmers, firefighters, welders and plumbers gives the girls technical knowledge and a boost in their self-esteem,” said Rosie’s Girls director Shirl Buss. “Today, they realize they can reach for the stars.”

While the six-year-old camp is fee-based, 50 percent of the girls in the camp are on scholarships supported by foundation grants and donations.

Rosie’s Girls are returning the favor to Sojourn by building three large planters that will be donated and installed in Adams House, a second-stage shelter that accommodates battered women and children for periods of three to six months.

“People of all ages can be a part of preventing domestic violence and supporting victims,” Jones said. “Another way to get involved is to become a volunteer.”

Sojourn’s next round of volunteer training starts Tuesday, September 19th.

Sojourn is one of ten projects at OPCC (formerly Ocean Park Community Center) and is California’s second oldest battered women’s shelter, says a spokesman.

Information, Sojourn’s 24-hour hotline, (310) 264-6644; OPCC, (310) 264-6646; or www.opcc.net

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