It takes a great deal of courage for a person to leave an abusive relationship and seek a better life. Where can a victim turn to for help in escaping from domestic violence?
Peace River Center of Highlands County, a United Way partner, is a
community mental health organization that has been making a difference
in Florida for the last 62 years. "Melinda," a 41-year-old mother, and
her three children found help there. (Name and photo withheld for
Melinda fled her abusive ex-husband in 2011. However, he continued to stalk and threaten her since their divorce. She has had to change residences several times due to his continued violence towards her and the children.
One of Melinda’s main goals after entering Peace River Center’s domestic violence program became finding her own housing and becoming gainfully employed. Staff members helped her locate affordable housing locally and a full-time job. Melinda also received financial assistance for her housing security deposits.
Peace River Center's program helped Melinda to regain her self-esteem and achieve her goals of being independent and living a domestic violence-free lifestyle. She is now very involved with her children’s activities such as football and cheerleading and takes care of her ill mother at home.
“The help and kindness I received from the people at Peace River saved my life,” said Melinda.
Since leaving the center three months ago, Melinda reports that she is doing well. She remains employed and living in her own apartment. Melinda plans to utilize the center’s outreach support groups as soon as her work schedule permits.
Peace River Center and the United Way of Central Florida are helping to better the lives of others for the good of the community. For more information on how to donate or volunteer, please visit www.uwcf.org.
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