Many clients of TPN are involved with multiple services provided through our agency. This story comes from a mother who has been involved with our agency for approximately 10 months, has been very involved with virtually the entire staff, and was happy to share her experiences.
Mom attended the Allstate financial training given by one of our Community Educators through the Economic Independence (EI) program. She feels the budgeting classes were very good at helping her figure out her spending. She noted that although many people do not know a lot about economic abuse, it did seem to her that the Allstate program was aware as this type of abuse was a central theme throughout the training. Another advocate through the EI program has also been helping her discover all of her options through various social service programs such as weatherization to get her house fixed up.
In general, what she really feels is very important is that the EI program gives you goals to work toward, but that they are your own goals. Program staff refer to the goals as ‘designing your own life’ which she likes very much and said that “I feel like I have achieved something” after having completed several of her program goals.
One service, our 24-hour crisis line, she has found to be particularly helpful. She stated that the first time she called she was very surprised about how educated the volunteer who answered was on the issues, how she really understood what she was going through, and it made her feel much better afterward. She said she is ‘very impressed’ with the crisis line and is “glad to know it is there 24-hours a day. Even if I don’t call, I know it is there if I need it” and she continues to call whenever she needs to talk.
She has attended multiple sessions of our 8-week domestic violence survivors support group and stated that going to group was the “first step that changed my life.” She said “I love it just because at times I feel like I am the only one going through it, and it is really nice not to feel isolated and alone.” She also enjoys the friends she has made through group as they get together and do things, call each other up, “sort of like networking” with people who understand each other. Several group members also attended TPN’s 5K Walk, and she said that it was really nice to see everyone come out for the cause and be there with people from the group.
She has also been accompanied to court by several advocates over these last few months for different issues. She said that this service “is really good, it is nice to have somebody there so I could ‘stick to my guns.’ I don’t know what I would have done, probably buckled to what he wanted” without an advocate there with her. She stressed how important it is to have an advocate with you at court, as one time she went without an advocate and ended up filling out a great deal of unnecessary paperwork. She said “having an advocate at the courthouse is very important, and I learned that the hard way!”
She has also been involved in ongoing peer support. She said that the first time she left her abuser ‘everyone’ was telling her to “go to peer support but I was against it, I didn’t really understand what it was. I wish I had listened the first time. She said that “it makes a big difference because they (advocates) knew what I was talking about. It makes sense that you can be best helped by someone who knows what you are talking about.”
Her story is a meaningful testament to the essence of this agency. The advocates and volunteers have been able to help her through her journey and she trusts these people to empower her, listen to her, and help her through any issues that come about in her life. She is a powerful survivor, and as a summary of her experiences with TPN helping her get to the point she is at right now, including becoming financially stable and furthering her education, she also stated “when times get tough, I can look back and can see that it can be done….I am moving forward and I am going to figure out a way to make it happen.”