Health and Wellness is one of United Way’s three focus areas. We believe that it is important to have a safe and violence free environment to live a happy and healthy life. Child and Family Services Haven House Counseling and Advocacy Program, a United Way Program Partner, has been helping achieve this goal for over 30 years by providing safe and confidential services for victims of domestic abuse and their children. Haven House offers a broad range of residential and community-based services designed to empower victims and support them. They provide victims with the resources needed to rebuild their lives, and teach victims children coping skills and conflict resolution.
One client, “C,” was so happy with Haven House that she sent them in a thank you letter with her story, without even being asked. C was a 34 year old mother of one. As she was growing up she struggled with depression and alcohol abuse, and though she had seen many counselors nothing helped her.
With her confidence already low she found herself in a verbally, physically and mentally abusive relationship. After almost three years of abuse, right around the time her daughter was born, she decided to leave the relationship. As she was preparing to face her abuser in family court, he attacked her; it was so serious that the police intervened. A friend told C about Haven House not long after. She contacted the agency, was matched with a counselor, and started attending group sessions where she could hear other women’s stories and get support.
When C reflects on the impact her counselor made on her, she is profoundly grateful. “She is a true blessing. She greets you with a big smile every time you meet. She makes you feel comfortable. She helps you realize that we are all human and struggle with certain things. I had to go through a custody battle and she was right there, actively giving me advice and pointed me in the right direction. I could call her when things got bad and she would call me back the same day to listen and encourage me to utilize the tools we were working on. She made me laugh when the stress of my consequences were unbearable. She gave me the tools to not let him manipulate me anymore and to believe in myself. Things were terrible in my life, and they could have been worse. But I got a real life coach that taught me tools to get me strong and back on my feet.”
C is well on the road to being back on her feet. Her experience with her counselor led her to refer a friend who was experiencing some of the same issues C was. She’s appreciative for everything Haven House did for her, for making a difference in her life, and she could not imagine doing it without them. Though Domestic Abuse Awareness Month is coming to a close, this is a serious issue that requires awareness all year round.