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B'ville: Ending domestic violence

Every month, more than 1,500 domestic dispute calls are made to police.

Nearly 700 women and children obtain shelter from domestic violence annually.

Of homicide victims, 25 percent are women killed by a current or former male partner.

These statistics, which affect households in urban, suburban and rural areas alike, account for Onondaga County alone, according to verahouse.org.

To help raise awareness about domestic and sexual violence, Vera House will launch the 2009 White Ribbon Campaign Wednesday March 25. Organizations, businesses and schools across the county have been working hard to support this effort including Baker High School's National Honor Society.

"About 15 years ago, the first White Ribbon Campaign was launched," said Thomas Magnarelli, the Honor Society's advisor. "The library staff here at Baker were selling the white ribbons and it was suggested that the National Honor Society get involved. We took over responsibility for the Vera House campaign the following year and have organized and participated every year since."

Traditionally, organizations sell pins, ribbons and bracelets with all proceeds benefiting Vera House to fund education and awareness programs and services in the community. To up the stakes this year, Magnarelli suggested students secure donations from individuals by asking them to forgo haircuts, manicures and other services from November through February and instead pledge money that would have been spent on these services to Vera House.

"The simple sacrifice would not add any additional strain to ones expenses. It was simply going without something," he said. "The members have approximately $6,000 pledged and are now in the process of going back to the donors and collecting the money that was promised."

Over the last 10 years, Baker's National Honor Society has raised more than $30,000 for Vera House through other innovative initiatives. In fact, the National Honor Society has collected more donations and contributions in recent years than any other group in the community, Magnarelli said.

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