Bay Ridge

Golden praises Healing Center director as life saver

March 28, 2017 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
State Sen. Marty Golden says Antonia Clemente, executive director of The Healing Center, has saved the lives of countless domestic violence victims. Photo courtesy of Golden’s office

Victims’ advocate to win Women’s History Month Award

A woman who founded a center in Southwest Brooklyn to assist domestic violence victims and their children is winning recognition from the New York state Senate for her work.

Antonia Clemente, the co-founder and executive director of the Healing Center, will be the recipient of a special Women’s History Month Award from state Sen. Marty Golden during a ceremony to take place at the Norwegian Christian Home and Health Center, 1250 67th St., on April 28.

As part of the event, Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-Southwest Brooklyn) will present Clemente with gift cards from supermarkets and drug stores to allow clients of the Healing Center to purchase necessities during emergency situations.

Golden is asking residents of his senate district to donate gift cards. The cards can be sent to his district office at 7408 Fifth Ave., Brooklyn, New York, 11209.

Golden, who described Clemente as “a special woman,” said she has made “a real contribution to countless people and families in the community.”

March is National Women’s History Month. By holding the ceremony in April, Golden is in effect extending the designation for another month in Bay Ridge.

Founded in 2000, the Healing Center began operations out of a church kitchen. Within five years, the founders formed a board of directors and successfully applied to the Internal Revenue Service for nonprofit 501(c) (3) status as a tax-exempt organization.

In a mission statement on its website, thehealingcenterny.org, the organization describes its work as “a beacon of light for women and their children who are victims of family violence” where “their spiritual and social needs will be addressed.”

Although the Healing Center has a mailing address at 7304 Third Ave. in Bay Ridge, a note on its website pointed out that the location of the center itself is not made public in order to protect the privacy and safety of the clients.

In 2008, the Healing Center began working in partnership with Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Bay Ridge. The church helps the organization spread the word about its programs for domestic violence victims and their families.

In recent years, the Healing Center has expanded its mission and has developed working relationships with the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, CONNECT, Sanctuary for Families, Safe Horizons and the Metropolitan New York Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

The Healing Center assists families affected by violence to understand their options and learn how to take steps toward healing and self-sufficiency, according to the organization’s website.

The organization regularly conducts educational workshops in schools and churches to raise awareness of family violence, elder abuse and sexual assault. The group also sponsors empowerment support groups to encourage self-esteem and help clients to understand the dynamics of violence and the cycle of abuse in their lives.

Golden is also marking Women’s History Month by encouraging residents in his senate district to write letters describing special women in their lives and submitting the letters to his office by April 27.

The letters will be posted on Golden’s office window.

“We all have a special woman in our life that has influenced our lives, be it a role model or mentor, a family member, someone from our community or famous person,” Golden said.

For more information, call Golden’s office at 718-238-6044. The Healing Center can be reached at 718-238-5138. All calls to the center are confidential.