by Ariella Rams
One woman came in because her boyfriend put a gun to her head. Another showed up after he burned all of her clothes; the young mother arrived with the clothes on her back and nowhere else to go.
These two women’s lives were turned around thanks to the Anaheim Family Justice Center (AFJC), a non-profit organization that provides survivors of domestic violence, child abuse, elder/dependent abuse and sexual assault help with services such as temporary restraining orders, police reports, access to shelter and social workers.
The AFJC opened in Oct. 2006, and in five years has improved thousands of lives.
One way it makes a difference is through the innovative Survivor’s Academy. Created by the AFJC Foundation in 2009 and facilitated by Irene Martinez, this innovative eight-week program funded through the non-profit AFJC Foundation focuses on the talents and strengths of women who have survived family violence. The program provides them the tools, confidence and courage to change their lives and become more independent and self-sufficient.
The Survivor’s Academy “looks at what the next steps are to becoming self sufficient outside the shelter,” said Kerith Dilley, AFJC Executive Director. “These women have amazing talents but don’t know how to focus and utilize them. That’s where we come in.”
So far the Academy has graduated five classes. Graduates of the Academy have gone on to open catering companies, floral shops, boutiques, as well as work in the corporate world, leaving behind lives of suffering.
Up next, Dilley says, is a Children’s Survivors Academy that will begin in Spring 2011. The academy will focus on the long-term goal to reduce crime as well as how children who grow up around violence can reverse the cycle of abuse.
“Violence seen on the streets starts with violence in the home,” Dilley said. “If we can reduce violence in homes then we can reduce violence in the streets.”
The center has faced challenges the past few years because of the growing population that needs the services the center provides. The AFJC is committed to providing quality in helping victims of domestic abuse, and capacity is always in question.
Like other non-profit organizations, the AFJC is always in need of funding. Successful events have been held such as the annual improve fundraiser, “Laugh It Off,” which raised $6,000 and drew 260 people.
To continue to raise funds to help support the center, the AFJC will host a Spring Reception on May 19 that will honor individuals and organizations for their contributions and efforts.
Among those being honored: Survivor Academy facilitator Martinez , as Community Partner of the Year. AFJC will also acknowledge a Corporate Partner of the Year.
To purchase a ticket or find out more information about the organization, visit AFJC’s website here.
Filed under: Community Programs