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New center serves survivors of domestic abuse

Greece, N.Y. -- When Karen Messina-McDonnell left an abusive spouse, she said there were emergency services available, but no place to help her start over. She said her ex-husband controlled everything, including her. She didn't even know how to balance a checkbook.

Now she and other survivors of domestic abuse have opened a new center in Greece to offer services ranging from legal and financial advice, help finding housing, to clothes to help women start a new life.

They established the center through Offsprings Charities, which relies on donations from businesses and the community and grants to help survivors of domestic abuse. The new center is located at 64 Maiden Lane in Greece, in the former St. Charles Borremeo School.

The center will offer various classes for survivors, including coping skills to teach them how to deal with the fear that often remains long after they have left an abusive relationship.

The services will be offered in the evenings from 6-9 p.m. and there will also be free babysitting so families don't have to pay for childcare.

Tara Palmer is also a survivor who is working at the new center. She will teach yoga classes to help women relax their minds and bodies to better deal with the stress, trauma and abuse they have endured.

Tara said she was verbally abused and controlled by a former spouse who was respected in the community, she said. She was determined to stay in the marriage, believing at times that what was happening was her fault.

Tara finally left with nothing but the clothes on her back. Friends took her in, buying her a car and caring for her and her daughter until she could get back on her feet. Now she wants to help others move on.

For more information about the new center, click here.

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Washington Times