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Caring to the Forefront

A group of UAlbany students make their feelings known at Monday's "We Care" event. 

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 18, 2017) – Some basic gifts and a simple message of caring can mean a lot to a person recovering from a sexual assault.

That knowledge brought hundreds of volunteers from UAlbany and Albany Med together Monday evening at the SEFCU Arena for the third annual “We Care” event. The group packed and delivered "survival kits" — collected items such as clothing, toiletries, a hairbrush, gift cards, a journal and a personal note — from the packer to victims who have undergone forensic testing in the aftermath of sexual assault.

Approximately 300 kits were delivered to Albany Medical Center for use in treating men, women and children who had been transported by the ambulance services Five Quad of UAlbany, and Albany County EMS of the Office of the Sheriff.

“At Albany Medical Center, our Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners (SAFE) treat nearly 200 survivors of sexual assault each year. These kits serve as a reminder to our patients that their community is here in support of them,” said Kaylin Dawson, R.N., coordinator of Albany Med’s SAFE Program. “I commend the University at Albany and all of our sponsors for their support of this very important initiative that will help our patients start out on their journey to recovery.”

Victims have reported to We Care Project organizers that they find comfort in the “We Care” kits’ familiar items and that they gain a sense of taking back control of their lives after clothing they had worn and personal items they’d possessed had been left behind for forensic testing.

The We Care Project, planned to heighten awareness of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, was supported by a variety of government, university and business concerns: Albany County’s District Attorney’s Office, Safe Harbour Program and County Sheriff’s Office, CVS, Five Quad Ambulance, Subway, Walmart and R.J. Valente.

At this year’s event, Dylan Pamerantz, an Albany Medical College student, received a standing ovation for sharing his sexual abuse survival story with the 200+ students in attendance. He said events like the We Care Project help remove the stigma around sexual assault. Pamerantz helped pack some of the bags alongside the UAlbany and Albany Medical College students, as well as others from the community.

"The University is proud to host this event in collaboration with Albany Medical Center and so many community partners," said Chantelle Cleary, assistant vice president for equity and compliance and Title IX coordinator, UAlbany. “It is our hope that the participation of our students and staff in this event will bring some measure of healing to survivors of sexual violence in the wake of victimization.”

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.