The It Happened to Alexa Foundation, founded by Tom and Stacey Branchini, honors the courage of their daughter, Alexa, who survived a traumatic rape by a stranger who broke into her college dormitory the second week of her freshman year. The foundation provides financial, emotional and advocacy assistance to victims who prosecute their attackers.
The It Happened to Alexa Foundation has successfully been working on an educational outreach program with Niagara County schools for three years. In the past, Grigg Lewis and the Sabres Foundation have contributed funding to this venture.
"Our challenge has been the manpower to approach the schools and fulfill all the requests that we get," said It Happened to Alexa Foundation Executive Director Ellen Augello. "That will no longer be an issue as the foundation was able to hire a part-time educational outreach/victim support person. Mrs. Sandra Lahrache started with the foundation in September and we could not be more thrilled to have Sandra as part of the Alexa Foundation team. Sandra is a licensed victim advocate and crisis service counselor, as well as an accomplished presenter. She is very well-suited to work with school-age children as well as college-age students."
Safe Dates with the Alexa Foundation is a hybrid of the safe dates national program enhanced by safety issues facing today's young adolescents. The foundation offers this program in response to the alarming statistic that 1 in 3 adolescents are victims of dating abuse.
The main goal of the Safe Dates program is to equip students with the skills and resources to help themselves or friends in an abusive relationship. It can be used as a prevention or intervention tool in recognizing violent or abusive behaviors in others, as well as strategies to control their own anger.
The It Happened to Alexa Foundation would like to help create a school environment where respect and responsibility are promoted and violence and sexual harassment are not. By educating youth on this crucially important topic, the foundation said it hopes to reduce these statistics throughout the community.
Those who would like to make a donation to assist with the funding of this program, and those who would like the Safe Dates program brought to their school, should contact Lahrache at 716-754-2210 or call the It Happened to Alexa Foundation at 716-754-9105 or 1-877-77-ALEXA.