According to Families To Freedom Founder/Executive Director Sarah Nejdl,
It’s nearly midnight. Judy is driving on a small dark the highway. The mom, her client named Kayla, has dozed off. Her children are already asleep under blankets leaned on top of each other. Even the dog’s tail has stopping thumping in the crate. One window has tiny fingerprint drawings that will travel back to Texas. It’s a little reminder that a young child was there watching the landscape pass during this road trip. Judy sees the final turn ahead. It had been a very long day of travel that started from a domestic violence shelter in DFW. They left the shelter parking lot in predawn dark to now arrive to a family home states away. The tires grind onto a bumpy dirt road on the final turn waking everyone in the backseat. “We’re almost there,” Judy says. Family came running from the porch to welcome Kayla and her children.
Kayla overcame many obstacles to be at this point. She had a vision of how much better her life could be and this gave her strength. She realized that her long-time abusive boyfriend was never going to stop beating her. She realized he brought drugs into the same place her children called home. She accepted she would need to let go of a lot in order to gain her freedom.
Our hotline advocate at Families to Freedom gave Kayla shelter phone numbers to call on and words of encouragement. We committed to help her get to shelter then to family in another state. This was the spark of hope that Kayla needed to focus on long-term safety and recovery!
Three months after she arrived, Kayla reported feeling like her life now makes sense. “I have reason for my life now!” Her children were excelling in school, she now had a small car and a little place of her own. Her dog was happy to guard the home during the day and play with the kids in the evening. This victory story gets our team excited every time we remember Kayla. It’s what we hope for and aspire towards for all of the victims who call on us for help.
Since we launched services in late 2015, we’ve now helped over 1,800 victims and children get to new safe places. Since last year we’ve driven to emergency shelters across North Texas 126 times, driven to family homes in other states 50 times, issued 44 Greyhound bus tickets, bought 17 budget priced commercial flights, and handed out 30 fuel cards for survivors to drive far away. Often we drive a client to shelter to get counseling and immediate safety, then help again with transportation to family far away. We’re eager for North Texas Giving Day to raise the critical funds needed for more rides to shelter and more rides to family so that domestic violence survivors can feel forever free. Learn more about Families to Freedom and all that we’re doing for victims and children at FamiliestoFreedom.org
If you need help, or know someone who does, call Families to Freedom at 972.885.7020 for a discussion.
* Photo credit: Heather Miata **Graphic and photo provided by Families To Freedom
In 11 years, Communities Foundation of Texas’ North Texas Giving Day has pumped more than $290 million into the North Texas community. In 2019, more than $50 million was raised through more than 169,000 gifts benefiting over 2,988 area nonprofits.