Bands raise domestic violence awareness

WESTPORT - Students and adults alike will come together next weekend to support a noble cause through their music.

Westport Central School will host the Voices for Change concert Saturday, Oct. 10, an event sponsored by the Essex County Task Force Against Domestic Violence and STOP Domestic Violence.

STOP Domestic Violence is a program of Behavioral Health Services North, a United Way agency serving our communities since 1874.

Wendy Wintle, an advocate for STOP Domestic Violence and a member of the task force, said the concert is meant to help people become more aware of the prevalence of domestic violence and the services available to help its victims.

"We were looking for an event that people could come and enjoy," said Wintle, "something that would appeal to different ages."

The concert features a lineup of well-known local bands, including The Inlaws, The LaCombes, Tom Wheelock, Dave Wyant with Jim Wade, and Westport's own student-led band, Alkatraz. All of the bands volunteered their performances.

The event is one of two scheduled in October, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The other, a domestic violence Day of Remembrance held annually in front of the Essex County Courthouse Oct. 6 recognizes past victims, some of whom died as a result of attacks within their own home.

In contrast, the upbeat musical performance promises to give a more encouraging outlook on how victims' advocates can help.

"Sometimes the subject can be somber and be a difficult subject," Wintle said, "but this should put a fun spin on it."

Westport Central School principal Michelle Friedman said the school often acts as a hub of the community, and was proud to take on an event suggested by school staff, some of whom work closely with STOP Domestic Violence.

"This seemed like a great way to celebrate music as well as recognize domestic violence awareness month."

Students from the school will be actively involved in the concert, Friedman said. Some will actually perform onstage, while others have pledged to help set up the concert.

Admission to the concert is $5 per person and free for children five and younger. For more information about the event and services offered through the task force, call 962-8949.

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