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FARMINGTON — Navajo United Methodist Center, Inc. will recognize domestic violence victims and raise awareness about the issue during several events this month.

The first of the Domestic Violence Awareness Month events will be a balloon release from noon to 1 p.m. Friday. Each balloon will have a tag on it, according to Jalea Steen, an advocate at Navajo United Methodist Center.

Steen said people who attend Friday's event will have the chance to write the name of a domestic violence victim or survivor on a balloon before releasing it.

Steen said helping domestic violence victims is the foundation of Navajo United Methodist Center's mission. The nonprofit provides a long-term housing program for victims of domestic violence through its New Beginnings program. It also offers individual and group domestic violence counseling.

In addition to the balloon release, Navajo United Methodist Center will host a day of prayer Monday  in Ryder Memorial Chapel at Navajo United Methodist Center. Steen said pastors from a variety of local denominations will pray during the event, which will also include a Navajo drum circle and Native American dances.

The final event will be a gratitude lunch for first responders on Oct. 21.

Steen said the nonprofit wants to bring awareness to domestic violence and let people know that it is a real issue in the community.

She said domestic violence victims come to the New Beginnings program with almost nothing. Steen said some of the victims fear that they will become homeless if they leave their abuser.

The transitional living shelter allows victims to remain on its campus for up to one year. During that time, New Beginnings connects them with resources in the community that will help them live on their own.

Steen said 22 people currently live in the transitional living housing program and the center has served 59 people this year.

While New Beginnings has focused on serving women and children, about two months ago it opened its door to men, Steen said. She said two of the 22 residents are men.

"Everyone experiences domestic violence and it's not just from a spouse," Steen said.

Steen said people can be abused by family members or roommates.

In addition to the Domestic Violence Awareness Month events, Navajo United Methodist Center offers a life skills and counseling class for victims of domestic violence from 4 to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. Steen said the class is free and is open to anyone in the community.

People who are experiencing domestic violence can also call the Family Crisis Center's hotline at 505-564-9192.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.

If you go

Balloon release: noon to 1 p.m. Friday

Day of prayer: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Oct. 10

First Responders Gratitude Lunch: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 21

Life skills and counseling class: 4 to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays

Where: Navajo United Methodist Center, 1200 W. Apache St.

Moe info: www.navajoumc.org

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