Category: Success Stories

Success Stories

Rachel

I wasn’t really given an option if I wanted my children back from the system. I needed my own housing. My case worker suggested that I call Hope’s Door and get on the waiting list. That’s what I did! When I came to actually live at Hope’s Door, I met with Jen and we did the paperwork together. We set goals for me to accomplish and my biggest goal was to get my babies home where they belong with Mom!

There were days filled with tears because things were moving too slow for my liking. I wanted my children and I wanted them NOW! Each day was a new beginning at Hope’s Door. On my own and completely alone, I am lucky I had a job (still do) to take up most of my day. The rest of the day, I hid in my room. Finally, my children started staying the night with me again. They wanted to go play, so outside we went and that’s when it hit. Out of my shell, I came.

Still working, going up against the State, I finally won my babies home. Now the real stress began. Four people, one room, a tight fit but it was OUR space. I filled out housing application after application and got on every waitlist I could. now I am packing and getting ready to leave Hope’s Door. A new adventure in life, but saddened at the same time. Over the seven months I have been here, I have developed friendships with each staff member. It’s like walking into your home. They greet you, encourage you, help you and listen to you.

Each and every staff member, past or present have taught me lessons in life. Kristen taught me open communication is key. Glenda taught me there is always good even when things are bad. Cindy taught me to believe and believe in myself. Elsa taught me that a little encouragement goes a long way. Pat taught me to not always be too serious and remember to laugh. Kaitlyn and Alina taught me it’s okay to vent and break down, even over mushrooms to take time and look at the beauty of life. Sofia taught me to color, sounds weird I know, but to color, every person everywhere has a different story. We are beautiful individually but put us together and we are awesome.

To each and everyone who has been a part of my life these past seven months, from hell to heaven and everything in between. I cannot say thank you enough! These life lessons will stay with me and my babies as I continue to grow as a woman, a mother, and a survivor. I could not have it without each and ever one of you! Thank you!

– Rachel

Cassandra - Success Stories

Crystal

Success stories are from survivors that have used our programs and services. Read Crystal’s story below and learn how AAFV has started helping her during her time of need.

My name is Crystal, I moved into Hopes Door in April 2016. I was 9 months pregnant and getting out of an abusive situation. I had my baby girl one day after moving into the shelter. I had relapsed on Meth and started treatment before coming to Hope’s Door.  As soon as I moved in I met with a Service Specialist to start applying for housing for me and the baby. I filled out several applications and applied to the CATCH program.  After being here a few months I found out that I had a serious health issue and needed surgery. The staff at Hopes Door was very supportive and extended my passes so that I could stay with family to recover.

In October 2016, I received a call from CATCH that I was next on their waiting list. The staffs at Hope’s Door helped me collect all the paperwork needed and gave me a good reference. I was able to move into my apartment on December 20, 2016. It was the best Christmas present ever. I will forever be grateful to all of the staff at Hope’s Door.

 

Colton - Success Stories

Colton

Colton - Success Stories

Colton was brought into this world March 1998, in Nampa, Idaho. Within the year his parents would separate and Colton would move to Northern Idaho with his father. As he began to grow alcohol, drugs and violence surrounded him. One day, 5-year-old Colton, told his dad he wanted to be just like him when he grew up. His dad passed him a beer and cigarette and told Colton he better learn to smoke and drink like him. Once he had tasted his first beer Colton would begin to steal sips of his dad’s drinks when they were lying around the house. One day he tasted whiskey and would begin drinking heavily as a 6-year-old boy. At age 7 Colton tried drugs for the first time, making it a weekly habit. Soon he would realize his high wasn’t enough and he tried cocaine and other hard drugs. Colton learned by age 10 he could make a lot of money in the drug world and he began dealing. By 6th grade, Colton found a love for wrestling and learned as he became highly addicted to drugs he could use losing weight for wrestling as an excuse for the dark circles under his eyes and extreme weight loss. Through all of the violence, alcohol, and drugs he maintained A’s and B’s in school.

Colton was taught through actions violence was a way to live the life you want. He often got into fights and was encouraged to do so. One of his earliest memories was that during family get-togethers his parents, aunts, and uncles would put Colton and his older brother in a mock ring and place bets as to who would be beaten up or knocked out first. He also recalls, while at his grandpa’s house, his older brother hit him over the head with a beer bottle, Colton had a pellet gun in his hands threatening to shoot his brother out of anger. His grandfather and family became furious and told Colton that if you pull out a weapon you use it and if he would’ve shot his brother he wouldn’t have gotten into as much trouble. As violence continued to surround him at home, the drug leaders would learn of Colton’s aggression and use him as an enforcer for people who owed money. His dad would soon learn Colton driving back and forth between Idaho and Washington to pick up drugs to sell in Idaho. Knowing this Colton’s dad sent him back to Nampa to live with his aunt.

Nampa was a second home to Colton, as every two weeks to a month he would live with a new relative. Once arriving in Nampa he began hanging out with his old friends and family, began fighting, and got involved in drugs. He would attend parties and fights would be line up for him, at times he would fight six times a day. One night after drinking with his uncle and cousin at Lake Lowell the police showed up, realized he was intoxicated and attempted to arrest him. As he sat in handcuffs Colton would begin to kick and head butt the police until they took him to the hospital. Doctors told him he was a dead man walking as he blew a 3.8 and a 4.0 equals death. After this incident, Colton attended court where he was sentenced to one month and put on probation. Two days after his release he was back with his uncle and cousin drinking. His uncle passed out in the truck and the boys took the liquor and started walking. The police stopped Colton and his cousin and slammed him on top of the police car. Enraged, he began swinging at the police. This time Colton would go back to juvenile detention for a year and be released on good behavior.

Once Colton was released he began using drugs and alcohol again. After six months, he was driving his friends to a gas station to purchase beer and cigarettes, as he was sitting in the car he realized his friends were robbing the store. He was now an accomplice to a robbery. Days later while at the gym US Marshals would arrest him and take him back to Juvenile Detention. Two weeks went by and Colton was released due to a lack of evidence. He went back to his aunt’s house, during an argument his aunt began hitting him, he would try to block the blows, eventually grabbing her arms so she couldn’t hit him anymore, and left. His aunt called the police and police began patrolling the area looking for Colton. As he hid in a ditch he saw police at his aunt’s house; knowing he had drugs in his bag he ran to a nearby friend’s home who drove him to his brother’s house in Kuna. When he arrived a friend informed him that her 13-year-old sister was at a house of 20+-year-olds who were using drugs and it wasn’t safe. Colton and his brother went to go pick her up and the men wouldn’t release the girl for some time. Once they let her go with Colton and his brother the police were called. The next morning US Marshals arrested Colton and his brother. Once again he was in juvenile detention. He was not only tried for his parole violation but aiding and abetting from his previous crime. Colton decided to offer a plea bargain for one of the three felonies, the other two would be dropped and he would no longer face 25 years to life on each felony. He found himself in juvenile detention for another year until his next court date. As he sat in jail he remembered his family telling him he will be just like his mom, arrested for the first time when 12 and eventually land himself in prison.

This is when Colton’s story begins to change; I met Colton summer 2015 at Juvenile Detention. During the first day of healthy relationship class, I noticed him not engaging. He didn’t want to talk and if he did he was cracking jokes about the class, and he was rarely looking up. The second and third month was the same. However, I made it a point to always ask him a question about himself; whether it was, what’s your favorite color or do you like sports. Sitting at my desk after the third month I received a letter in the mail; it was from Colton. “Dear Kaitlin, I ain’t good at writing long letters surprisingly. I told you I would write you and I’m a man of my word…at first, I took the class as a joke but it actually works, writing down that stuff and looking at everything opens your eyes to different worlds.” In the fourth month of classes, he began to participate and ask questions. The next month I received another letter, it included his 20 year-goals, “Join the military and receive my diploma.” Month six, Colton was all but teaching the class, answering every question, asking how to pursue healthy relationships and telling the new kids who were joking to stop because the class is important. In his last letter he wrote, “You are the sixth person I have ever trusted in my life.” I began writing him back, my phone rang, and it was Colton telling me he was released before his hearing. He asked if I would write the judge a letter and if I was serious about anger management classes. I wrote a letter for his release and we began anger management classes.

Colton has been out and sober for 9 months, attends counseling when he can, completed anger management courses in July, maintains a full-time job and drops by the office weekly for check-ins. We are now in the process of finding him a program to get receive his diploma, as he wants to be the fifth person in 3 generations to graduate. He still maintains hope of getting his felony dropped for completing three years probation and wants to serve our country in the military.

Sharon - Success Stories

Sharon

Sharon lived at Hope’s Door shelter in 2015-2016, with her two children; a son and a daughter. When Sharon first moved into the shelter, she was fleeing an abusive husband that moved her out of state. She wanted to return to her home state to be close to family. Her 8-year-old daughter was in need of receiving services for her disability and requiring extra care. She was working full time to try and take care of her family but did not have enough time to take care of herself or her family’s needs.

Shortly after moving into Hope’s Door, Sharon was able to quit her job and started receiving benefits for her daughter and focused on her daughter’s needs as well as her own. She had always suffered from anxiety and depression but had not had the ability to deal with her own issues. Sharon applied for low-income housing and the catch program.

Sharon has recently moved out on her own and into low-income housing. She is receiving disability for her daughter and has recently applied for herself. Her daughter is receiving the required medical care needed and both children are attending school as she currently looks for part-time work.

As a resident at Hope’s Door, Sharon has expressed her gratitude for all of the support and help she received while living at our shelter. She hopes her story will inspire others to make the difficult decision and get the help they need to get away from abusive relationships.

Krista - Success Stories

Krista

Hi, my name is Krista. I would like to share a little bit of my past and the wonderful life I live now because of the opportunity I had residing at the Hope’s Door Shelter.

A year and a half ago I was in a very dark place. In the prime of my addiction, I isolated myself from my kids, family, and friends. Filled with shame and guilt, I had once again relapsed and was on the run from the law. On June 27th, 2015 the lord had saved me and I was picked up on my second burglary charge. I did a good 90 days until I was released to the drug court program. Two weeks later I was accepted into Hopes Door.

This place gave me the structure, safety, and the freedom to be successful in my recovery and my life. Through my hard work and determination, my life began to soar. The staff at Hope’s Door helped me as much as I was willing to help myself.

I was accepted into the early transitional housing program and hooked up with the CATCH program. Within 6 months upon arriving at Hope’s Door I am now living in my own apartment. All three of my children live with me. I have a wonderful job and my own car.

Today, I am 13 months sober and faithfully working a program of recovery. The staff at Hope’s Door gave me the respect, support, and unconditional love that I needed to grow into the woman I am today.

Thank you to Advocates Against Family Violence for letting me share my story. And to the women out there who feel lost and hopeless: Just remember you are worth it, and you have to learn to love and trust yourself before you can love anyone else.

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Hope’s Door Shelter

Hope’s Door is the only domestic violence specific to women and children shelter in Canyon County. We provide protection not only for victims in Idaho, but across the entire United States.

While staying at Hope’s Door Shelter, survivors are able to take part in many different educational courses that focus on healthy relationships and life skills. Our goal is to empower individuals to set the course for eliminating violence in their lives and throughout our community.

Learn More

Success Stories

Judy

Before coming to Hope’s Door, I was abused by my son who had learned abuse from my many relationships, which were all abusive. I lost my home, my car was damaged, and I lost my job.

Since staying at Hope’s Door, I have had a safe place to come to. Classes like Self-Esteem, Boundaries & Safety Planning have helped to build myself up again and give me confidence. I have gotten my job back, got a car & and also have bought my own trailer. Every person’s experience is unique.

I feel the staff at Hope’s Door and Advocates Against Family Violence take the time to listen & respect women’s needs. They give us hope in making choices; the right ones in our lives. Hope’s Door and AAFV gave me the time I needed to start over.

Cassandra - Success Stories

Cassandra

One of the residents of Hope’s Door Shelter recently sent us a letter thanking us for our service and the help she received. Read Cassandra’s story and learn how Hope’s Door helped her get through some of the most difficult times of her life and overcome her addictions.

Cassandra - Success Stories

Hi, my name is Cassandra and I suffer from mental illness. I am also a recovering addict and a recovering alcoholic. But most of all, I am a survivor of domestic violence! I come from the streets, gangs, bikers, sex, drugs, and alcohol. A self-medicating schizophrenic.

I would use drugs to medicate myself and I was too paranoid to seek help. Due to being on the streets and using, I got myself into trouble with the law DUI after DUI. Nobody understood what I was going through and I chose to be alone. I was deep in my illness and I left my family and my children. I didn’t know how to take care of them, let alone myself.

I was married for 12 years and behind closed doors, my husband would beat and rape me. So I chose to leave and to go back to the streets. While back on the streets, I would break the law every way possible trying to find my next high to keep the pain and the voices away. Nobody understood why I did the things that I did. Picking up my third DUI felony charge, I was sentenced to 10 years in the State penitentiary. Afterward, I was given felony probation and eventually was back on the streets.

I met my next offender, who was supposed to be a friend. He had kidnapped me to take me to Detroit from Oregon and I was beaten, choked and raped. This time was different, though- I had a .45 pointed ready to kill me.

After this happened, I surrendered myself to Canyon County for absconding. Knowing I would be safer facing that 10-year prison sentence, I chose Mental Health Court. Through this program, I was given a safe place to stay. This safe place was called Hope’s Door. At Hope’s Door, I met one of the lead staff, Jennifer and she gave me some chocolate. She was a ray of sunshine! Over the course of my time at the shelter, I also met with Kristin who was very kind and sweet. They both have hearts of gold.

Kristin was very thorough and understanding. She knew I was scared and not in my right mind. She was patient with me and I was given the support I needed to stay sober. I attended support, self-esteem, boundaries, and safety planning classes. I was taught skills and given the tools to help me heal and protect myself with a safety plan. The staff at Hope’s Door became my saviors. Cindy was like a mother to me! When I needed a shoulder to cry on or when I was in a crisis, she would coach me through it.

I have lots of love and respect for the staff at Hope’s Door. They spread their wings and helped me take cover. They have been my biggest support and I thank them for having my back and encouraging me to get through the hardest and most dangerous times in life.

Kellie - Success Stories

Kellie

Kellie came to Hope’s Door as a referral from the Port of Hope. Kellie was 6 1/2 months pregnant living in Twin Falls and addicted to methamphetamine. She admitted herself to the hospital for psychosis and they transferred her to an Idaho Falls health center. She was there for 10 days and then transferred to State Hospital South, a mental institution. She remained there for 2 months and it was revealed that she had previously been abused and needed to deal with these issues. She was sent back to Port of Hope, where she completed a 28-day treatment program.

When Kellie came to Hope’s Door, she took classes to help her identify the abuse and enrolled into an outpatient treatment center. Hope’s Door staff helped her with referrals to mental health facilities to help her with her issues and counseling. She regained custody of her son shortly after staying at Hope’s Door. After giving birth to another son in December, her daughter returned to live with her as well.

With the help of Hope’s Door staff, Kellie started looking for permanent housing. She was accepted into an Idaho Development and Housing program and was, in turn, able to move into a 3 bedroom house in Caldwell. She has been on her own since April of 2016 and continues to do well. She still participates in her out-patient care and continues to stay in contact with Hope’s Door.

Marissa - Success Story

Marissa

Marissa was a resident at Hope’s Door. Marissa came to Hope’s Door as a referral from the catch Program. She had been living in shelters for the past year and had nowhere to go. She was forced to move back to Oregon with family members but had legal issues that needed to be resolved here in Idaho.

When Marissa came to Hope’s Door in December of 2014 with her 1-month-old daughter, she had been clean and sober for 9 months when entering our program, after struggling for a long time with addiction issues. She had been in several abusive relationships throughout her life and needed a place that could help her deal with those issues.

While staying at Hope’s Door, Marissa has taken classes to help protect herself and her children. She was given referrals to other agencies and also received counseling services through Hope’s Door. She has resolved her legal issues and is excited to move on with her life. She is currently working part-time to support her daughter and is working on regaining custody of her other children. Marissa will soon be relocating back to Baker City, Oregon, where she has good family support and plans to maintain her sobriety.

Jessica - Success Stories

He’s Hurting Me…

He's Hurting Me

He’s Hurting Me…

A friend reached out to me and while we were chatting, the problem came up. She and her kids were living with a guy. She didn’t want out, she was sure he wasn’t hurting the kids, and she was sure the kids didn’t know. She was sure he was going to change and things were going to get better.

I offered to get her out of there, but apparently I didn’t “understand”. So, I listened, and I waited. Soon she quit texting me and calling me. Through channels, I let her know I was still around, and she let me know he was monitoring her phone so she couldn’t talk anymore. I managed to get her the phone number of the Advocates Against Family Violence Domestic Violence Crisis Phone Line, and also reminded her of 911. And I waited.

One Friday night at 2:30am she called. The cops had been there, they arrested him and were recommending she go to the hospital. I drove right over.

The kids were with their Dad somewhere else, so they didn’t see it. He had a bad week at work, she got “lippy”, and he broke her cheek bone, tried to strangle her, sat on her chest, and gave her road rash on her kidneys as she struggled to get out from under him. She was in shock and refused to go to the hospital and refused to go to a shelter. He had alienated her from her other friends.

She stayed on my couch that night. The next day I took her to three different shelters. The first one, she refused to go in, the second and third she went in and talked to some people. She didn’t want her kids to be in a shelter, so she talked to her ex and he happily agreed to keep the kids a few days extra.

Monday we went and saw the Prosecutor. They took pictures, took her statement, gave her more referrals to counselors and provided resources for medical treatment. We got her a new cell phone with a new number. This way, he didn’t have control of it, and couldn’t monitor it. Now she was able to talk to her kids.

The next week was spent mostly on the couch sleeping, crying, angry and hurt. A huge rollercoaster of emotions. She went into work and talked to her boss, and explained what happened. Her face was a mess, he had a lot of empathy, and told her to take the time she needed to get it put together, and he’d happily put her back to work when she was ready.

The abuser’s father wrote a large check, and he was out on bail. I learned what a Civil Protection Order was. If you’re unfamiliar with what a CPO is, it means he can’t come near her and with my address added, he couldn’t come near me either. I told the local cops what was going on, and they were pretty happy to keep an eye out for us. They drove by a bunch, which made us feel better. Thankfully, he didn’t come around.

We looked up the abuser’s record. He’d been arrested 5 times over the years for domestic violence and assault and never convicted. Until now. He is now currently in the state penitentiary doing 10 determinate, 15 years indeterminate. This means that he won’t be out for a minimum of 10 years.

Over time, she moved on. She worked it out with her ex and they continue to share custody of the kids. She kept her job, and is working to get to a position to go back to college. That was a really bad time in her life and I remind her of it. We don’t talk much anymore and that’s okay. What matters is that her kids are safe, and so is she.

Women who are living with an abuser will often find help for the sake of their kids. Kids see and hear more than we think they do. They wake up when they hear the sounds of a slap, or the whimper of mommy when she is brutally pinched. They hear the derogatory comments the man makes, the snide digs, the put downs. They see mommy hustling the kids away when he’s had a bad day. This becomes normal to the kids, so the behaviors continue on for the next generation. Young girls look for guys who show their love by hurting.

I’d do it all over again, although I’d do some things differently. I would listen to her, but I would also point out these things; Do you want your daughter to find a great guy to hurt her? Do you want your son to be the young man who hurts?

Next time I’d push her to take care of her kids, and protect her kids by doing the scariest thing imaginable – change. I’d push her to call the Advocates Against Family Violence Domestic Violence hotline to get help (208.459.4779).

Thousands of women and men have gone through this, and they want to help others find their way out. People want to help. They are grateful for the chance to help. They know how scary it is to reach out and think about change, and they completely respect the courage and love it takes to try by reaching out to the Domestic Hotline.

Do them a favor. Let them help you.

Advocates Against Family Violence

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