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Helping pups strut their stuff in support of domestic violence victims

When people help others, it’s satisfying to know that you have made a positive difference for someone else. Volunteering is important to me because it gives me a sense of community and giving back to that community is extremely important.

Since joining PSEG Long Island five years ago, I’ve been a paralegal in the law department. A few years later, I discovered a local organization called L.I. Against Domestic Violence, which provides a range of services that help over 14,000 Long Island adults and children each year to escape from abusive relationships and build new lives. Domestic violence is more common than most people think and I’ve personally known people who have had to deal with it, which made this organization hit close to home, lighting a fire in me to help.

I’ve been volunteering with L.I. Against Domestic Violence for two years, sitting on the planning committee, as well as charged with planning their Paws for a Cause event, which is held annually at the YMCA Boulton Center for the Performing Arts in Bayshore, New York.

According to Safe Place for Pets, up to 65% of domestic violence victims are unable to escape their abusive partners because they are concerned about what will happen to their pets when they leave.  This why I just love the Paws for a Cause event, which is a dog fashion show where all proceeds go to support domestic violence victims.

This event takes a year’s worth of planning with lots of meetings, organizing, advertising and securing sponsorships. This year, I was in charge with securing a DJ from 106.1 BLI, a local classic rock station in Long Island, a photographer, as well as securing guest judges, event sponsorship and social media marketing.

Our PSEG community did not disappoint and immediately raised their hands to help support the cause. Daniel Eichhorn, president and COO of PSEG Long Island, along with Suzanne Brienza, director of customer experience and utility marketing of PSEG Long Island, happily jumped in as guest judges, and PSEG signed on as a sponsor for the event, making my job extremely easy. Additionally, PSEG’s employee business resource groups (EBRG) helped secure more PSEG Long Island volunteers for the event, as well as provide branded gift donations to be raffled off.

I’m proud to say that this year’s Paws for a Cause event raised $17,000 and this donation for domestic violence will help adults, children and pets alike get the support and courage they need to leave abusive situations.

PSEG’s Power of One, which honors the volunteer efforts in our organization and in our communities, is enriching and motivating, and I encourage everyone to get out there and volunteer! I found my home with L.I. Against Domestic Violence and, by giving back, you can find your home too. #PSEGPowerOfOne #PowerofOnePSEGLI

Pennie Vakkas - paralegal, Law Department, PSEG Long Island

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