Over three million women are affected by domestic violence in the U.S. Sadly, when a woman endures the pain of domestic violence and has nowhere to go, her only choice is to live on the dangerous streets or go to a shelter.
“It’s a vicious cycle,” said Trish Steele, CEO/Founder of Safe Passage. “When women are released from the shelter, often times they go out into the world without the right tools to survive only to find themselves back in the shelter.”
But in the last ten years, some women and children have been able to seek safety at Safe Passage. A 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization which provides aid for women and children of domestic violence.
On April 2, 2010 Safe Passage opened their new office in Van Nuys, CA. Business members of the San Fernando Valley and surrounding communities came together to learn about the organization and its mission to empower women survivors of domestic violence and their children.
Former client Kelly Green attended the grand opening in Van Nuys and is a graduate of Safe Passage.
“I went through numerous motivational and inspirational seminars; hair and makeup instruction seminars; fitness and boot camp work outs. I had my hair done by a professional hairstylist. I went to classes to prepare for the workforce then given clothes for work,” said Greene. “I was restored and I bubble over with joy and enthusiasm to this day!
See video of Kelly Greene at the event.
What’s unique about Safe Passage is that they have partnered with several businesses called the “Dream Team” which consist of dentists, cosmetic surgeons, beauty and life coaches. The team provides services to repair the damage from abuse so the violent cycle can be stopped and develop a positive image and life for her and her children. All services are free.
The result is a confident woman ready to begin a new life without feeling the shame of her harmful experience. Even after the program, Safe Passage will continue to provide services with counseling.
Before the existence of Safe Passage, Steele volunteered her time to shelters for many years. Finally she and her husband decided to provide shelter for women of domestic violence. Steele was committed to provide more than temporary shelter, she was going to give them the tools to succeed in the world.
“I began to teach the ladies a workshop in self esteem and also how to dress and present themselves in a job interview,” said Steele. “I had friends who volunteered to teach other classes to help prepare for the workforce.”
Steele absorbed all the expenses at the time. Today, it cost approximately $1,000 to get one woman through the Safe Passage program.
Steele was a victim of domestic as a child and understands how these women feel. She has been giving back to the community for several years and is considered an angel by many for her philanthropic heart.
“I’ve been blessed in my life to get through tough times as a child, and I want women to know that they are loved and will survive,” said Steele.
Since 1992, more than 1200 women and their children have gone to Safe Passage looking for shelter and support.
The City of Los Angeles Council Member Wendy Greuel awarded Steele with a “Certificate of Appreciation” for her outstanding citizenship and activities enhancing community betterment.
Safe Passage continues to look for community and business partnerships to enhance her services to clients. With the economic recession, corporate and private donations have decreased and demand has increased. With these business partnerships and donations, Safe Passage can continue its mission to shelter, educate, equip and direct women and their children of domestic violence to safety and survival.
For more information about Safe Passage visit www.safepassagelives.org or call 818.232.7476.