Everything changed the night her husband attacked her with a knife and one of her daughters called 911. Lucy had been married for 12 years to her batterer. She had two daughters and worked in retail management, but no one would know she feared for her life every day.
Lucy's husband was arrested, but with the injuries she sustained that night, she lost her job and was unable to keep their home. Lucy and her daughters moved from emergency shelter to emergency shelter until they found HomeSafe.
At HomeSafe, Lucy received legal help to finalize her divorce and gain custody of the children. She took parenting classes, and she and her children received counseling. Lucy also took courses in retail management and returned to her career in the retail industry. After a year, she and her daughters were able to move to a home of their own, while Lucy and her daughters continued to receive counseling services from HomeSafe staff.
"I don't think I could have found the courage to leave without HomeSafe," Lucy recalls today. "I don't know where we would be today if we hadn't gotten help when we needed it."
John was a bright 17-year-old whose grades had plummeted and whose negative behaviors were affecting both his school and home life. He was part of Next Door's Teen Support Group on referral from his concerned mother. Having experienced domestic violence in his childhood, He resented his father, who no longer lived with the family.
John became a regular and enthusiastic participant in the eight-week Teen Support Group program that covers a range of topics, including domestic violence, teen dating, anger, education and future goals.
Although his behavior at home and school improved somewhat, a brush with the legal system landed him in Juvenile Hall for a month. During that time, support group staff visited John, encouraging him to think about the positive changes he could make when he was released.
John took the initiative to enroll in the Teen Support Group program a second time, finishing with honors and going on to graduate from Yerba Buena High School and enroll in community college.
Alicia was a lonely and angry girl who didn’t get along with peers, siblings or her mother Maria, a formerly battered woman receiving counseling at Next Door. The oldest child in the family, Alicia was rebellious and resentful of the attention her younger sisters received from their mother.
Maria enrolled Alicia in the Just Us mother-and-daughter dance workshop, a combination therapy and dance/movement group. At the beginning and end of each session, mothers and daughters sit in a circle.
In the circle, Alicia didn’t sit next to her mother, while other mothers and daughters sat with their arms around each other. No affectionate hugs, words or looks passed between them.
Eventually, Alicia underwent a transformation. With time and no sibling competition for her mother’s attention, Alicia and her mother grew closer and began to display affection. Today, Maria and Alicia laugh and act silly together. Alicia smiles, initiates conversations with others, and her peers and siblings are experiencing a more engaging and likable friend and companion.