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Collecting for Those in Need

GMU student coordinates care campaign for domestic abuse shelter residents.

GMU senior Joy Tharrington, Dr. Angie Hattery and Artemis House Director Laly Goodmote carry in the donated items of hygiene products for the shelter residents.

GMU senior Joy Tharrington, Dr. Angie Hattery and Artemis House Director Laly Goodmote carry in the donated items of hygiene products for the shelter residents. Photo by Andrea Worker.

Joy Tharrington, a senior psychology major at George Mason University (GMU) and starting forward on their women’s basketball team, has been coordinating an effort with her teammates and members of the track and field teams to collect small, but comfort-providing items for the women and children being protected at Artemis House, the county’s only crisis domestic violence shelter, run by Shelter House, Inc.

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GMU senior and starting forward on the GMU women’s basketball team Joy Tharrington doesn’t mind getting really down to it while she sorts some of the donations of personal hygiene products she helped collect.

“I took Dr. Angie Hattery’s class, Social Dynamics of Family Violence, last semester,” said Tharrington. “It was a real eye-opener.” Hattery is GMU’s associate director of Women and Gender Studies. In addition to her teaching experience, Hattery has authored books and papers on related topics, volunteered and supported the volunteer efforts of students on ending violence toward women and children, promoting gender and racial understanding and equality.

Hattery suggested to her students that in their travels they consider bringing back unopened shampoos, soaps and other hygiene products. During a team trip to New Mexico during the Thanksgiving break, Tharrington remembered Hattery’s suggestion and returned to class with dozens of mini-bottles.

THARRINGTON, her teammates, and members of other GMU sports teams have been on a roll ever since.

“Sometimes people don’t help out because they think they don’t have time, or it will be too difficult. This is something everyone can easily do,” remarked Tharrington. “It’s such a small thing to do, but you can really make someone feel better—even yourself.” Dr. Hattery agreed. “The students sometimes get overwhelmed by some of the topics we explore in this class,” she said. “I found that giving them this avenue to help makes for a win-win situation. It doesn’t require hours of their time but it does help them empathize and offers a way to make a positive impact on people who are at a really low point in their lives and need everything we can do to support their dignity and self-esteem.”

On Friday, April 19, it was time to deliver the donations. Tharrington, Dr. Hattery and Liz Ryan, GMU assistant athletic media relations director, piled the boxes of donated items in to the car and headed out to the Katherine K. Hanley Family Shelter in Fairfax, one of three shelters operated by Shelter House. Joe Meyer, deputy director of Shelter House and Laly Goodmote, the director of Artemis House, were among those on hand to gratefully receive the donations. The items will be sorted at the Hanley Shelter and later brought to the families at Artemis House. “For our client’s safety, Artemis House is at an undisclosed location,” noted Meyer. During the visit, the GMU contingent received a tour of some of the shelter’s facilities and a few of the young residents seemed delighted to get down on the floor and “help” Tharrington sort the hundreds of mini-bottles.

Meyer and Goodmote could not thank the GMU group enough for their generosity. As Meyer commented in the Shelter House press release, “With this donation, Artemis House will be able to provide those basic needs to those in such critical need.

OVER 200 WOMEN AND CHILDREN walk through our doors every year. It is people like Joy and institutions like GMU that make Fairfax County a community that cares!”

Joy Tharrington will be graduating in a few weeks, but she says she will take this experience with her. “And I think I have someone lined up to take over next season and keep the donations coming,” she added.

For more information about Shelter House, visit their website at www.shelterhouse.org.