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Celebrating Women’s Month, Giving Back

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Posted on March 30, 2023

Beginning in 1995, a series of annual presidential proclamations designated March as Women’s History Month. We participate in this celebration every March to honor our team, of which approximately 75% are women. From administrative and legal assistants, paralegals, and bookkeepers to attorneys, women are the backbone of our firm. Their dedication, hard work, and contributions propel us to succeed every day.

Grungo Gives Back Initiative for March

This month, our firm partnered with ZZ Dance Studio to support their efforts to collect donations for the Camden County Domestic Violence Center. Grungo Law purchased $400 worth of feminine products. Grungo Law and its community also collected close to 100 gently used purses and designer bags for donation. Together, our donations help dozens of women, children, and other victims who enter the center seeking asylum. Some of the victims enter with only the clothes on their backs, and having access to these necessary items offers them some relief and sense of normalcy in a life-altering situation. Our businesses recognize the devastating impact of domestic violence and the need to continuously help victims. We also recognize this is an ongoing, serious issue that demands attention beyond just one month of attention.

ZZ Dance Studio

This Cherry Hill-based, women-owned business has a deep sense of social responsibility, as they are committed to shaping students into “kind, compassionate, productive, responsible, philanthropic and tolerant members of their communities.” Owners Meredith Ziemba and Sammy Zweben combined their lifelong passions for dance and the arts into ZZ Dance, their “dream come true.” They offer an array of services, from free one-week trials, five-week classes, drama, private lessons, and group classes for people from 6 weeks to 18 and older. Some of their nonprofit partners include Holton’s Heroes, Make A Wish NJ, Camp Cranium, Jewish Family & Children Services, and others. This month, we have joined efforts to help make a difference and bring attention to domestic violence in Camden County.

Camden County Domestic Violence Center

The Camden County Domestic Violence Center (formerly the Camden County Women’s Center) provides an array of useful and life-changing services that assist survivors of domestic violence in building violence-free lives. The mission of their free and confidential services is to provide women and men in Camden County with the “safety, strength, and security to move forward.” Victims seeking help from abuse experience an array of struggles are welcomed into the center.

An amazing program enacted in 2016 is the Peace: A Learned Solution (PALS) Program, which is a creative arts therapy program for children between the ages of two and twelve who have been affected by domestic violence. PALS encourages children to use music, art, play, drama, and movement therapies like dance in a way representative of their traumatic experience(s) to help the child create emotional distance from the trauma. Coordinator Nailah Levy states that, “It provides them a way to be comfortable speaking about or expressing what they have been through.” Children who participate in this program have seen reduced aggression and improved confidence.

What are some of the Camden County Domestic Violence Center’s Services?

Their outreach office in Camden offers case management, counseling, a therapeutic program for children between the ages of two and twelve, clothing, hygiene items, and many other necessary supplies. “We work with all domestic violence centers in the area, and if there is something we cannot personally offer, we refer out to other agencies,” said Program Coordinator Nailah Levy. She explains their “if we can help, we will” attitude and the Center’s mission to aid in any and all avenues to help victims navigate such difficult and trying times.

Survivors are required to stay at the shelter for a minimum of 45 days. Within this period, they are given a housing case manager, a regular case manager, and a non-lawyer child advocate to ensure that children have an advocate for any needs, amongst other resources. During this period, victims are assisted in locating housing, receive help with vouchers, and are connected with a plethora of resources. An example of one resource is with the Victims of Crime Compensation Office (VCCO). This state-wide program, which covers crimes from assault to threats of bodily harm, helps survivors or victims of crime with relocating, lawyer fees, and other difficulties. The maximum financial assistance that they provide is $25,000 to help victims get on their feet.

Getting Involved with the Center

The Camden County Domestic Violence Center is always accepting donations, particularly clothing, diapers, wipes, baby formula, toys, and personal care toiletries, according to Naliah Levy.

As important as these donations are, another vital way to assist the Center is through volunteering for the Domestic Violence Response Team (DVRT). The Response Team answers phone calls and assists victims of domestic violence through compassionate, trauma informed support, and attends hospital and police department trips. The DVRT may help a caller who is trying to place a restraining order on their abuser after hours. The team member will go with the victim to the police station, support them and talk them through the process. The DVRT exists to support survivors in challenging situations, and thus, they require access to a vehicle. The Hotline receives calls, and depending upon the request, it gets transferred to the DVRT. Volunteers must be 18 years or older and complete 40 hours of training.

Messages About Domestic Violence from a Professional

Domestic Violence takes hold of no one specific. It is not specific to status, class, or culture. “We see it affect celebrities and athletes,” said Nailah Levy of the CC Domestic Violence Center. She emphasizes the importance of reshaping commonly held beliefs about domestic violence. In her experience, celebrities who we idolize also experience these forms of abuse. From an impoverished neighborhood to the heart of Hollywood, this abuse can happen to anyone.

“Be empathetic when it comes to someone going through domestic violence. What you as an individual may not take or tolerate, someone else may. They [the victims] have to be ready to leave when they are, even if we know it is the worst situation for them to be in,” she said.

“If you really understood domestic violence and the trauma it does to the brain, you would stop and pause before you gave your opinion on what someone else should do,” Levy concluded.

If you or someone you know are struggling with domestic violence or are in need of immediate assistance, call the Camden County Domestic Violence Center’s 24-Hour Hotline at 856-227-1234

*All services are free and confidential