This September, the Madison Heights campus of Ross Medical Education Center held a purse and handbag drive for a non-profit organization called HandBags of Hope. This organization provides basic necessities, education, support, and advocacy. Through community collaboration, they strive to end domestic and sexual violence and to promote a safe environment for all. Diane Elsey, Medical Insurance Billing and Office Administration Instructor, shared that the campus as a whole was very motivated to help out, “Because many of us, unfortunately, can identify with situations involving domestic violence it seems like a great organization to support.” Since its beginning in 2006, one of the foundational functions of this organization has been to provide purses filled with necessary daily items to women and teen girls that are in or have escaped from an abusive situations.
The organization’s founder, Jackie Bobcean, said, “At HandBags of Hope we believe a woman’s handbag is a very personal possession. We carry a small world in our handbags. Imagine what happens when you have to run for safety in the middle of the night…often taking only the clothes on your back and a child in your arms.” In light of this, the Madison Heights campus, including staff, faculty, and students, decided to come alongside and support this organization and these women and families. Through their drive, they were able to collect over 100 purses for women who are victims of abuse and in need. They also collected and donated important items with which to fill the purses such as wallets, hair care products, toothbrushes/toothpaste, cosmetics, razors, shave gel, etc. One of the most meaningful items the campus community included was as a card with words of encouragement which the students wrote on to place in each the purses.
In keeping with the mission of HandBags of Hope, one of the Madison Heights campus’ main goals was to bring awareness and education to the problem of domestic violence and to provide the resources to which people can turn in those situations. “I love that we are bringing much needed awareness to this horrible problem that so many women and men face on a daily basis and feel it has to be kept a secret…please speak out if this is happening to you, there are so many out there willing to help!” said Rachelle Thomson, Office Assistant.
Jackie Bobcean, founder of HandBags of Hope, looks forward to the future, “This is the busiest season for us here at Handbags of Hope, we expect to provide over 2000 Handbags to women in domestic violence situations in the months of September and October alone. We hope by this time next year we can also add on to our organization and be able to provide business suits as well.”