The Retreat Helps Put an End to Domestic Violence

The Retreat Helps Put an End to Domestic Violence

A portion of ticket proceeds from Dan’s Taste of Two Forks (July 23) and Dan’s ClambakeMTK at Gurney’s Montauk (July 30) will go to benefit The Retreat, which provides safety, shelter and support for victims of domestic abuse and works to break the cycle of family violence.

The Retreat, established in 1987 in East Hampton, offers a variety of programs and services including in-school violence prevention education, a teen leadership program that addresses dating violence and bullying, a 24-hour bilingual crisis hotline, legal advocacy, financial management and job readiness services, and a Suffolk County Fatherhood Initiative. Stephanie House, The Retreat’s shelter, is a safe space where victims of domestic violence can stay.

“There was a need for housing for those in abusive relationships. When the shelter started, there was more awareness and people spoke out,” says Loretta K. Davis, Executive Director of The Retreat.

Stephanie House provides housing for 18 adults and children for 90 days. The Retreat helps with transportation and clothing, if needed, and also has counseling services and case managers for the residents. “All our services are free and confidential. We don’t want anyone to be fearful to make the call,” Davis says. The shelter is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The Retreat also serves many non-residential people as well. “We love [Stephanie House], but what’s important to know is that we’re not just a shelter. We have counseling, advocacy, and we aid in mental health calls. We work with the police, and the police will give out our number. Last year we served 3,400 people,” says Davis.

The Retreat Executive Director Loretta K. Davis

The Retreat Executive Director Loretta K. Davis, Photo: Richard Lewin

A newer program, the Suffolk County Fatherhood Initiative focuses on prevention. “The requirement is that none of these fathers have abused. We help them with parenting skills—something we all need—relationship skills and job placement.” Davis explains that abuse often occurs due to stressors, such as lack of financial stability. The Fatherhood Initiative works to help men locate what triggers them, as well as prevent violence from happening in the first place. “We received a five-year grant from the federal government for this program. We’ve lowered the age of participants to 16. At-risk fathers want to have a better relationship with their families.”

Another place where The Retreat helps create awareness of domestic violence is in schools. “We go into lower, middle and upper schools and talk about healthy relationships. We address bullying and cyber bullying,” says Davis. Teens have the opportunity to become involved through leadership programs, which count as community service credits. “We give them language they can use to confront an issue. We help them recognize red flags so they can set boundaries. These are very important issues for teenagers, and they inspire us and give us many ideas as well.” The Campus Safety program at local colleges also works to engage and educate students and employees, in every department and at all levels, about violence awareness and prevention. “There are many education programs in the schools, one is just as important as the other,” Davis says.

The Retreat is successful due to the efforts of more than 150 volunteers, school involvement, grants, community leaders, fundraising events, private donations, and with financial help from The Retreat’s thrift store in the Bridgehampton Commons. “We sell clothing and furniture to raise money for all that we do. It also helps our clients by providing clothing for them, if they need it.” The greatest success of The Retreat, Davis says, is helping people. “Our clients are the ones—they transform their lives. They inspire us because they took that first courageous step!”

The Retreat is based at 13 Goodfriend Drive, East Hampton. Their thrift store, The Retreat Boutique, is located at 2102 Montauk Highway, Bridgehampton. For more information about programs and services, call 631-329-4398 or go to theretreat.org.

Dan’s Taste of Summer kicks off with Dan’s GrillHampton hosted by Adam Richman on Friday, July 22, and continues on Saturday, July 23, with Dan’s Taste of Two Forks presented by Farrell Building Company hosted by Alex Guarnaschelli and Katie Lee, both on the waterfront at Fairview Farm at Mecox. VIP tickets for GrillHampton are $185 and offer early access beginning at 7 p.m. General Admission, from 8–10:30 p.m., is $135. VIP tickets for Taste of Two Forks are $295 and offer early access beginning at 6:30 p.m. General Admission, from 7:30–10 p.m., is $185. The oceanfront food and drink fest ClambakeMTK at Gurney’s Montauk, hosted by Marc Murphy and Eden Grinshpan, premieres on Saturday, July 30. General Admission for Clambake MTK, from 7:30–10 p.m., is $150. VIP tickets are $250, and include access to after-party from 10 p.m.–12 a.m. A portion of ticket proceeds from Dan’s Taste of Two Forks and Dan’s ClambakeMTK at Gurney’s Montauk will go to benefit The Retreat.

Visit DansTasteofSummer.com for tickets and info.

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