Jennifer stayed at 180’s Safe House

Dear Friends of 180,
Warm winter greetings from 180 Turning Lives Around!
This Holiday Season, I would like for you to meet Jennifer. Her name and identifying details have been changed to protect her for purposes of this story, but her experience with us is real. Her life forever changed for the better because of individuals like you who choose to support our mission. You make her story, and so many more like hers, possible. It is especially important for us to say thank you during this holiday season and to ask for your continued support on behalf of our neighbors in Monmouth County who will need our help in the coming year. Without you, we simply could not continue to change and save lives here in our community.
On behalf of the 180 Board of Trustees, staff and all of our survivor-families, we wish you a peaceful and safe new year.
Sincerely,
Anna Diaz-White
Executive Director
180 Turning Lives Around
I came to 180 and stayed in their Safe House. I was pregnant with my first child. It wasn’t the first time he was violent, but this time he strangled me. I left him and found 180. The staff at the Safe House gave me the tools I needed to start anew. Safety and a place to stay at first, but the longer, more lasting benefits were the tools I was given to make sure that I lived a life free from abuse; self-confidence, inner strength, renewal and hope. These tools would set me free and would allow me to carve out a life away from him and safe for me and my baby. I gave birth while staying at the Safe House and thanks to 180 my son and I will be celebrating our first holiday together – on our own and safe. I will never forget my time with 180 and all of the guidance and support I received. While the first days of my motherhood were spent at 180’s Safe House, my infant and I were exactly where we were meant to be.
Jennifer’s story has been altered to protect privacy and safety. Names have been changed to preserve anonymity.

Please meet Honor.

I would like to introduce you to Honor. Honor is a two-year old Miniature Therapy Horse who spent time last month with children at our Safe House. Research has shown that equine therapy is an effective way to help heal from trauma.

Domestic abuse survivors and their families can learn from horses, including how to control fear, how to be more assertive and confident and how to connect with others. This was 180’s first experience with this form of therapy and we will be exploring ways to perhaps integrate programs such as this in the future.

At 180 Turning Lives Around, we are always exploring the best ways to meet the needs of our client-families and we welcome interest and support from our community in helping us bring innovative programs to the forefront. If you would like to support 180 and/or explore new initiatives with us, please contact, 180 Executive Director, Anna Diaz White Thank you!

Special thanks to Honor and “Mini Horse Heroes” for making this day possible for our families.

Mini Horse Heroes serve in memory of P.O. Ken Tietjen formerly of Middletown, NJ.  The organization was started in 2001 to honor Port Authority Police Officer, Ken Tietjen, who gave his life saving others on 9/11.

An update from 180’s Executive Director

On behalf of the Board of Trustees and Staff of 180 Turning Lives Around, I would like to take a moment to update you on some of the exciting projects that are a direct result of the generosity we receive from our community:

Our new Safe House has welcomed over 250 women, men and children since we placed our first families in February 2016.  The fact that we were at capacity just a day after opening our doors and have continued seeing a steady stream of survivors cross our threshold, underscores the magnitude of the need for this service here in Monmouth County.  Thousands of domestic violence incidents are reported in our communities each year and it is well documented that victims are at the peak of danger when fleeing.  Our shelter not only provides the basic necessities for families but provides supportive services onsite so that families can begin the healing process.  This type of intervention is highly beneficial, and sets victims on the path to long term independence.

Another model program that has been underway in 2017 is our Keeping Families Together Project.  180 has been providing supportive services to a pilot group of families who are homeless.  This program has shown to be a key factor to decrease child welfare involvement while keeping families together in permanent housing.  180 provides comprehensive, evidence-based, trauma-informed, therapeutic and concrete supports to these families. This program enhances a survivor’s self-sufficiency, assists victims to regain control of their lives and helps families heal from the trauma of violence.

180 is proud to have received the first Impact 100 Jersey Coast Grant of $145,000 to create a Family Justice Center in Monmouth County. Based on a nationally proven model, 180’s Family Justice Center will address the root of the hardships many domestic violence victims face when trying to break from their abuser’s coercive control. The FJC will be a one-stop shop where multiple services and service providers work collaboratively to meet the needs of survivors and their families. No longer will survivors  have to relive the trauma through multiple recounting of their abuse; complete a multitude of paperwork; find the time and means to travel to multiple locations; and wait (sometimes over the course of days or weeks) to keep the process moving.  With this project we will coordinate a team of professionals who will provide the following under one roof: legal services, counseling, case management, advocacy, art therapy, coordination with civil court, and more.   This method has proven to reduce homicides, increase prosecutions, reduce recantations, and improve overall outcomes for victims and their children.

Because of the support from our community, our 180 families are on a new path for healing, and indeed, turning their lives around. We are grateful that so many members of our community have contributed and supported our life-saving and life-changing services and programs for families experiencing domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees and all staff at 180, we wish you and your family a safe and restful summer.

Thank you again for your belief in our mission!

Anna Diaz-White, 180 Executive Director

Elder Abuse Awareness –  Ways to make a difference in an elder’s life

 

The Department of Justice observed World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on Thursday, June 15, 2017. 180TLA wants to recognize the profound need for this awareness and share with our community what this means and how we respond to this issue in our organization. As the leading and designated agency in Monmouth County for domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, dating violence and human trafficking, 180TLA has positioned its mission to be most effective in supporting those vulnerable to these crimes. We are supported by trained, world class volunteers and by our professional staff with years of deep experience. The domestic violence victims whom we serve include all members of a family that are victims of violence that occurred in their homes. Think about the pain that occurs when a person is victimized by someone who is both in their home, where they should feel and be the safest, but is also someone that is in a close relationship with them. This is the irony and the tragedy that elders often face when abused by someone in their homes.  Most of us believe that our closest relationships or family should also bring us safety and comfort. When those relationships are broken by their most intimate relations, particularly because they are already vulnerable, seniors suffer the unthinkable and can become victims of physical abuse, psychological or verbal abuse, sexual abuse, financial exploitation and neglect. Their defenses are down, their world is broken and they are in need of support from agencies like 180TLA and the law.

There is help and there is hope.  Both come from raising the level of awareness of Elder Abuse so that these victims do not suffer in silence; and, the crimes against them, such as psychological and financial crimes, which can be hidden more readily that some others, are brought out into the open where supportive people, family and community members can be effective in stopping the abuse. As the United States Department of Justice notes, “far too many older Americans are suffering in the shadows.”

The Department of Justice is working on multiple fronts to protect elders from abuse and to raise the level of awareness throughout the country.  They have also launched 10 regional Elder Justice Task Forces across the country “to enhance the ability of federal, state, and local authorities to work together to combat elder financial fraud and to pursue those nursing homes that provide grossly substandard care to their Medicare and Medicaid residents.”  In the home, some elders are also in danger of financial abuse from their caretakers. Family members should be aware of these crimes and share their concern with appropriate authorities.  Studies show that elders suffer physically and are put in harm’s way when the crimes against them are financial fraud and abuse. This leads to both higher rates of hospitalization and mortality.

180 has supported victims of elder abuse.  We have sheltered them in our Safe House. We have supported them in their efforts to be free of the abuse and live their lives in the peace that we all expect is our due when we’re older.  Connecting elders to the people and resources they need to be free of abuse opens a new lease on life for them. If you want more information on elder abuse go to Elder Justice website: www.elderjustice.gov.  If you need support for yourself or an elder call 180 at our toll-free number:  1.888.843.9262.   We’re here to help you in Monmouth County 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Many people will experience being vulnerable at least once in their lives. Helping them and showing them how to help themselves during these times is a genuinely kind and humane way to be a part of your community.

Elder Abuse Day proclamation:  https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/department-justice-observes-world-elder-abuse-awareness-day

Our First Thanksgiving at the new Safe House

Dear Friends of 180,
It’s our first Thanksgiving at the new Safe House – how blessed we are this year! Thanks to your support, our families are celebrating together. They are planning the menu as I write this note to you – and setting a special table, one that for the first time in 40 years, is large enough to accommodate all of them for this gathering. They will take turns at the stove while pausing to watch each other’s children – telling stories and sharing traditions. We have a newborn baby girl with us this Thanksgiving and a toddler who is just learning how to walk. The teens will be playing video games in the Game Room as the aroma of freshly baked pies fill the home that you helped us to build. Our families are so grateful for this home – a true safe haven to protect them this Thanksgiving Season. What a blessing for them to be among others who, like them, have taken the brave steps needed to turn their life around after years of abuse and violence. There is a profound sense of strength and hope that results from going through the same life challenges and overcoming them too.
This is our family. Parts of this Thanksgiving celebration may sound a lot like yours. Although our families will never celebrate together again, we all share the special bonds of family. Soon our families will leave us to start anew….each going in a different direction to begin a life free of violence and abuse. And for this we are especially grateful. I know you are too.
It is in this spirit of Thanksgiving, that 180 is especially thankful to you for your many gifts of support throughout the year that enable moments like this to take place. On behalf of the Monmouth County families and children that 180 serves, please accept our sincere thanks and best wishes for a peaceful Thanksgiving with your family.
With warm regards,
Anna Diaz-White
Executive Director