How We Began
The New York Asian Women's Center (NYAWC) was founded in 1982 by an impassioned group of volunteers who answered the call to action of Asian immigrant women in domestic violence situations.
What began as a community awareness project, soon grew to include a
hotline -- one telephone and a single answering machine. Led by Founding Executive
Director, Pat Eng, the hotline was run by volunteers out of a supporter's
office, with the phone hidden in a file cabinet during off hours. As
awareness spread throughout the community, hotline hours and
language capabilities expanded.
How We Grew
The late 1980s and 1990s saw massive growth for NYAWC. In 1985, volunteers opened their homes to women and children survivors in need of shelter. This effectively created the first organized shelter program for abused Asian women on the East coast. Two years
later, NYAWC hired its first full-time staff, and in 1988 we began offering
"safe apartments" to provide shelter facilities for women and children. NYAWC services continued to grow with our Children's Program, launched
in 1995, offering counseling, play-therapy, and parenting skill services.
In 1999, we opened our second safe facility for women, and in 2001 we
began offering 24-hour emergency shelter. In 2005, NYAWC established Project Free to assist Asian human trafficking survivors.
Where We Are Now
NYAWC's shelter services have grown to include two 24-hour facilities with a total capacity of 40 beds. With the goal of owning, rather than renting, we purchased and began operating our first facility in 2003 and second in 2009. Our non-residential services have grown into our Shelter Alternatives: Fostering Empowerment (SAFE) program, serving and empowering women within their own communities. We now have more than 40 staff, offering services in over a dozen Asian languages and dialects. Through Project Free, NYAWC has established itself as the agency with the most expertise and cultural and language capacity to serve Asian human trafficking survivors in New York City.
Over the past two years, NYAWC launched three technical assistance projects---Hitting Home, Safety First, and Home Court Advantage---to help child welfare, healthcare, and legal service providers to better identify and serve Asian survivors of domestic violence. NYAWC now provides customized workshops, trainings, and consultations to staff members of our partner organizations.
Until now, all of NYAWC’s site locations have been confidential. NYAWC has extended our reach to Asian American New Yorkers by opening community offices in Elmhurst, Queens, Sunset Park, Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan. Located in the heart of major Asian immigrant neighborhoods, our walk-in facilities increase access to the concrete services our women need and deserve.
||Pat Eng directs the first meeting to discuss issues affecting Asian women rarely addressed in the community - specifically focusing on domestic violence.
||NYAWC launches a community awareness campaign on domestic violence issues.
||All-volunteer counseling training program is held. First ever hotline for battered Asian women is launched with limited hours of availability.
||Volunteers personally take battered women and children into their homes during emergency situations, effectively creating the first organized shelter program for battered Asian women on the East Coast. First fundraising event is organized by a coalition of community women's groups.
||In response to a physical assault of a woman at a community space, NYAWC and other groups mobilize the community with the first major undertaking to raise public awareness through the Coalition Against Violence in the Community.
||First full-time staff member is hired.
||Establishes "safe apartments" that provide facilities to battered women and children.
||NYAWC and other community groups organize the "Cultural Defense" forum in response to the sentencing of Dong Lu Chen, an immigrant man who had beaten his wife to death with a hammer and was sentenced to only a five-year probation.
||Establishes the first ever 24-hour Asian multilingual hotline in NYC, staffed solely by volunteers. Governor Mario Cuomo awards NYAWC with the Eleanor Roosevelt Community Service Award. Receives Susan B. Anthony Award from NOW-NYC.
||President George Bush awards NYAWC with the President's Volunteer Action Award. Inaugural issue of Center's trilingual newsletter is published.
||City officials award NYAWC and its volunteers for 10 years of unrelenting efforts to combat violence against women in "A Tribute to Volunteers" ceremony held at City Hall. Receives Gloria Steinem "Women of Vision" Award from Ms. Foundation For Women. Receives Woman Warrior Award from Asian Pacific Women's Network.
||Receives Celebrating Women's Lives Award from Sakhi for South Asian Women.
||Children's Program is established, offering counseling, play-therapy and parenting skills services.
||Celebratory 15th Anniversary event "In Honor of Battered Asian Women's Strength & Courage" is held at City Hall.
||“Asian Youth Mentor Program” is launched as a collaborative project with Columbia University's Asian Youth Program.
||NYAWC opens second emergency shelter facility.
||Volunteers help create and launch the official NYAWC website: www.nyawc.org
||NYAWC establishes first 24-hour shelter facility. Receives Nav Nirmaan Community Service Award.
||Governor George Pataki presents Justice, Freedom and Courage Awards to End Domestic Violence Award. Adds a third residential facility for battered women and children. Landmark 20th Anniversary Gala "Rising From the Ashes: Celebrating 20 Years of Women's Courage & Strength" is held at the Tribeca Rooftop.
||NYAWC makes its first purchase of a shelter facility. Executive Director Tuhina De O'Connor receives the Hero Award from Robin Hood Foundation.
||NYAWC's first owned shelter, known as Rose House, opens to serve battered women and their children.
||NYAWC is awarded 20-bed facility from the New York State Homeless Housing and Assistance Corporation. Honored as a Community Champion by Newsday. Launches Project Free: Ending Modern-day Slavery program for victims of human trafficking.
|| NYAWC receives Caring for Children Award from the Coalition for Asian Children and Families. Selected as New Yorker of the Week by NY1 News.
|| 25 th Anniversary Gala is held at the Tribeca Rooftop to celebrate 25 years of empowering women and children to overcome violence and abuse.
|| NYAWC launches the project Hitting Home. Becomes the first domestic violence agency to partner with child welfare agencies to address domestic violence in NYC.
||Peace House, NYAWC’s second owned emergency shelter, opens. NYAWC receives its first federal grant to launch Safety First with Lutheran Medical Center. Launches Home Court Advantage with the Children’s Law Center in NYC .
||Center for Asian Women Crime Victims, NYAWC's first community office, opens in Elmhurst, Queens.
||NYAWC hired its first in-house staff attorney to provide direct immigration legal services to our women.
||NYAWC is expanding our services to better help our women reach self-sufficiency through financial literacy and transitional housing programs.