"I recently was a client at the DAWN House. I want to take a moment to let you know how the experience of staying there changed my life. I really can’t event put into words how grateful I am for all the help I got while I was there. The staff there is so special and gifted at what they do. I never ever thought I would have my life back. I cannot say thank you enough. I will never forget how being there changed me.

I was so scared when I first got there. Because of the counseling I was able to receive though the resources at the Women’s Center–YFS I am a much stronger person today. Obviously it was extremely emotional time to go through but I feel like a different person completely… I don’t know what I would have done if there wasn’t a place like DAWN House. I’m still struggling looking for a job, but I’m blessed enough to be staying with a friend I met while staying at the shelter… I met some wonderful new friends as well while staying there and I wake up looking forward to every day."

“I came into the DAWN House because I was in a mentally and physically abusive relationship. When I got there, I was scared and nervous. The staff made me feel at ease. I was assigned to a counselor and with her we talked about the abuse and where I was going from there. Dawn House really helped me get back on my feet. When I came in I didn’t have a job but I was given the time I needed to find one and save money. My counselor and other staff really helped me on my self esteem issues. When I first got there I felt worthless, used, abused, scared and ashamed. I didn’t think I was worthy of anything good. The counseling I received from DAWN House and now the Women’s Center–YFS, has helped to keep me on track. I don’t know where I would be if it wasn’t for the DAWN House and the staff working there. Now I have a job, my own apartment and I said goodbye to my abuser! I just want to thank everyone at DAWN House and the Women’s Center–YFS for helping me get my life back.”

How the Women’s Center–Youth & Family Services Helped Me

"In December 1983, after several months and years of deliberation, I decided to leave an abusive marriage. I had endured physical and verbal abuse for more than ten years. I had to escape somehow, but I had to plan carefully.

My mother suggested I call the Women’s Center–Youth & Family Services. I did not know much about the Women’s Center–YFS programs, but I called from work and made an appointment. I left work early and met with a kind lady named Judith at the Women’s Center–YFS offices. She listened as I told her all the things I had experienced over the last decade. She told me that I did not deserve this treatment, and that the Women’s Center could shelter me at a secret location. There, my children and I would be safe until I could find my own apartment.

At last, I had hope! There was light at the end of the tunnel! However, I was still not sure how I would be able to leave. I knew my spouse would not allow me to just pack my bags and take my babies. He did not know I had contacted the Women’s Center–YFS.

One night, my husband came home drunk and angry. He hit my five year old son with a belt repeatedly for no reason, and then beat me when I intervened. I was able to call the sheriff, and luckily the authorities took him to jail. Here was my chance to get away!

My parents helped me move out that night. I stayed at my sister’s house for the night, but I feared for her safety, so I called the Women’s Center–YFS first thing the next morning. They directed me to a phone booth, where I was met by a lady who took my three children and me to the DAWN House.

At the DAWN House, I learned, to my great surprise, that there were many women who had experienced trauma and abuse, just as I had. We had counseling sessions, where we talked and talked, and learned how to avoid abusive relationships in the future. I felt a tremendous relief. There really was hope for my future!

The staff at the DAWN House even helped me connect with a local organization that took my children on a shopping spree, buying them clothes and toys for Christmas! After two weeks, I found an apartment, and was able to move in a week before the holiday. The DAWN House staff actually had tears in their eyes as they helped me with my boxes, and hugged me good-bye!

The Women’s Center–YFS not only helped me while I was residing at the DAWN House, but they referred me to a peer counselor. She was someone just like me, who was working and moving on from her abusive past. She and I met once-a-week at a hamburger stand and talked and ate together for several months. She referred me to low-cost mental health services through the County, where I continued to go for counseling in 1984.

My parents were so impressed by the services provided by the Women’s Center–YFS, that at their 33rd Anniversary party in 1985, they asked guests to contribute to the Women’s Center–YFS, instead of giving gifts! They raised several thousand dollars for this most valuable organization!

Now those little children I had with me at the DAWN House are grown men and women, with children of their own. The older ones remember staying at the DAWN House. They know that violence is not the answer to disputes. They have grown up to be fine, hard working adults. I have gone on to lead a healthy, happy life after much counseling and effort.

I am sure there are thousands of women just like me, with stories to tell about how the Women’s Center–YFS has helped them. I am so grateful for this opportunity to tell my story."

~ Former DAWN House resident