All of us want every child to grow up in a loving home, free from harm. But sadly, that is not the reality for many. While we know children can be resilient, domestic violence can add significant trauma to their lives. Every 9 seconds, a woman in the U.S. is beaten or assaulted by a current or ex-significant other. When domestic violence does occur, we have a safe and welcoming shelter where families can begin to heal and plan for a more stable future. Last year, our Refugio provided a temporary home for 29 adults and 34 children who stayed for an average of 92 days.
“Casa de Esperanza gave me shelter and the opportunity to grow stronger, to discover many things that I had, but perhaps I didn’t know. There are very special people out there for you, for women, for us. We’re not alone.”
-Maria Gali, former participant
We are also in the community to support several hundred Latinas and family members who are seeking assistance with domestic violence and related issues. The majority of Latina women who turn to us are monolingual immigrants who know what they need to become self-sufficient. Our Family Advocates help them access legal aid, transitional housing, financial literacy training, as well as connect them to their own community resources. Our Latina Advocacy Framework, which nurtures the strengths and values of survivors, was recently honored with the Minnesota Council on Nonprofits Mission Advocacy Award.
We believe in the power of community guiding the work of ending gender-based violence. Having community support systems can make the difference in someone being aware and able to access the resources they need. Through Fuerza Unida Amig@s we train Latin@ adults and youth how to recognize and respond to domestic violence, sexual assault, and mental health crises within their circles. Each year, our Youth Amig@s organize a conference to educate their peers about Teen Dating Violence and other issues such as bullying, cyber stalking, LGBTQ realities, and trafficking, that can affect their well-being.
“Casa de Esperanza is a phenomenal partner and we deeply value their inclusion of men and youth in their efforts to change the minds and hearts needed to end domestic violence.”
-Allison Corrado, Senior Program Officer, BCBS Foundation of Minnesota
In 2014, when we asked Latino boys who they turn to when they have a problem, they answered, “no one, I pick a fight.” We responded by looking at our role in facilitating safer spaces for men and boys to engage in conversations about healthy masculinity. Our Latino Men and Boys Engagement Coordinator helps us expand our reach to bicultural families and helps parents build their confidence in speaking with their children about healthy relationships and sexuality. We are also working with Latin@ business owners to help them recognize sexual assault and harassment in the workplace.
In 1982, five courageous Latinas stood up to create Casa de Esperanza for Latina women and children who had nowhere else to go for safety and support. Today, we are more determined than ever to carry that spirit forward. I invite you to please stand with us and support healthy, strong Latin@ families and communities.
With warmest regards,
Patti Tototzintle, CEO
Donate today at casadeesperanza.org/donate