Every year the Undergraduate Social Work Organizations on both the Rutgers Camden and New Brunswick campuses host the Krystal Skinner Memorial Scholarship Fund Domestic Violence Awareness Walk. This year, as a culmination and celebration of the domestic violence awareness and fundraising efforts of Rutgers School of Social Work over the past seven years, the Krystal Ball was held on the Camden campus on March 28th, 2015.
These events are held to educate and engage the Rutgers community about the issue of domestic violence, and to commemorate Krystal Skinner. Krystal Skinner, a 22-year-old student, mother, and New Jersey Division of Child Permanency and Placement intern, was killed on March 26, 2008, in a tragic domestic violence incident. In the wake of her passing, Dr. DuWayne Battle, director of the BASW program, led the effort to establish the Krystal Skinner Memorial Scholarship Fund. This scholarship was established to financially assist eligible undergraduate students pursuing their social work degree at Rutgers University. The Domestic Violence Awareness Walks and the Krystal Ball were created to further this effort, and the Undergraduate Social Work Organizations have worked hard to help make this a reality.
About 80 people attended the Krystal Ball, which included dinner, dancing and a silent auction in the Multipurpose Room at the Rutgers Camden Campus Center. Since 2009, this effort has raised nearly $110,000 and 11 scholarships have been awarded.
For many the highlight of the night was hearing people talk about Krystal Skinner. Dr. Battle provided a moving account of Krystal's life and passion for social work as a student and child welfare professional.
"I would describe Krystal Skinner as a beautiful person in every sense of the word,” said Dr. Battle. “She was intelligent, compassionate, competent, and considerate of others, committed to making a difference in the world, not just for her, but for the common good."
Professor Susan Higgins, assistant director of the BASW program, said she is grateful for the continued support from Skinner’s family. She also said that the enthusiasm and involvement of the students made the evening a success. “They embodied the spirit of Krystal, which was always fun-loving and spirited. The students this year, along with those from past years, continued the celebration of her life.”
All proceeds from the event benefitted the Krystal Skinner Memorial Scholarship Fund.