Success Stories

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Karen

Karen* called the police for the last time and decided to leave her abusive husband after nearly 25 years. She first met with an advocate from Camden County Women’s Center Domestic Violence Response Team as she waited with her 3 children to file her Temporary Restraining Order and learn what charges her husband would be facing after he abused her that night.

As the advocate connected her with two legal advocates for her case, she proceeded through the following weeks and lived on some money provided to her by friends and family. She was connected with attorneys for divorce, custody, and was finally experiencing living life on her own, navigating a system that seemed so foreign to her, and uprooting her children in order to keep them safe. Her husband never allowed her to work, and she had no idea where to even start when looking for work, so she obtained TANF funding from the State to help her move forward on her own.

As she entered her third counseling session at Camden County Women’s Center Outreach and Support Center, she was asked, “what are your dreams?” She paused before replying, primarily because no one had ever asked her that question before. She remembers dreaming of getting away from her abusive father as a young girl, obtaining a college degree, and raising a healthy family. She remembers dreaming of being a social worker, of helping individuals that were struggling, especially families. She never dreamt after that, as her life became consumed by power and control at the hands of her abuser.

Karen replied to her CCWC counselor and said, “I want to help others the way you are helping me.” The counselor set Karen up for some incredible resources available for women’s independence and outlined the path of obtaining an education in the field of social work. The counselor helped Karen make a real plan to survive and show her children what it means to survive.

As Karen realized she needed to really analyze her financial situation, she signed up with CCWC for financial empowerment classes along with regular case management, she learned how she can properly fund her own plan, for the first time checked into her credit report, and obtained the tools needed to provide for her family.

Through the program, she was able to budget, find the grants needed to put her through school, and teach her children in an entirely new way. Karen is now entering graduate school and volunteering with women in need. Karen is a close friend and partner of CCWC and a strong survivor of domestic violence.

*Name has been changed at the client’s request.

Mary

One of our recent success stories was a family of 6 from Essex County.

27-year-old Mary* with 5 children all under the age of 8.  Due to the size of the family, Essex County DCPP reached out to us.  We set up one of the larger bedrooms in our emergency shelter to accommodate the family.

During their 5 months with us, we collaborated with other community providers to create a network of services she could use when she left us.  She participated in domestic violence groups, developed a healthy relationship with our case management team and clinician.  She was linked to a mental health provider for the necessary therapeutic services and medication.  The oldest boy was enrolled in a school for children with behavioral needs and was in the process of being reevaluated.  The family was linked with PALS and had started receiving services before leaving us.

Mom had multiple mental health diagnosis including but not limited to PTSD.  We helped her start the process of applying for SSI benefits for herself and her oldest son who also had some special needs.

This family lived with us for approximately 5 months.  By the time they left, she was communicating better with her children, she was making calls on her own to providers, and she had developed some friendships in Passaic County.

She moved out into her own apartment with ​Temporary Rental Assistance (TRA)​ from Passaic County Board of Social Services (our on-going partner), with the goal of returning to school to get her GED in the near future.

She had never left her abuser for this long because she did not have any support or safe place to go.  Our goal was to help her be safe and heal, by building new positive experiences and connections.  Needless to say by the time she left, we were all excited but sad to see them go.  Those 5 babies kept us busy, but we knew she was ready.  She has since visited the shelter for the Holidays and it was wonderful to see her.  She was still not in school but working on it.  Staying out of the relationship, breaking the cycle, was her success!

*Name has been changed at the client’s request. 

John

JOHN was born HIV positive in 1995 to an AIDSinfected mom who soon died. John grew up poor with little supervision or support and sporadic medical care. He was six months from release at one of NJ’s state prisons when he became part of the CAP program. He did not know what medications he had been on or what he was taking at the prison. He had jumbled memories of childhood and young adulthood of sporadically taking medicine, seeing various doctors, and enduring numerous bouts of illness.

The CAP program worked with John to understand his diagnosis, his current health condition, and methods of preventing transmission. On the day he left prison, he had a safe and supportive place to stay at Canright House and had a medical provider that had all his updated records.

John is currently on his way to having an undetectable viral load, is working a part-time job that he hopes to make full-time soon, and has surrounded himself with positive people supportive of a healthier lifestyle.

Abdul

Abdul went to prison on a drug charge in 2017. Once released in 2019, he enrolled in the Staffing Solutions training program. Through his hard work, he received his forklift certification as well as a plumbing certification. Shortly thereafter, Abdul received a job offer from Ingersoll Rand’s Trane operation in Trenton. He is optimistic about his future!

Keira

Keira was a victim of ongoing and escalating physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her husband. Mother of 5 and 7-year-old daughters, she landed in the hospital with a broken jaw. At the hospital, Keira met an Advocate from the Domestic Violence Response Team (DVRT). Keira decided that it was not safe to go home with her husband. Keira arranged to move into the shelter where she stayed for 45 days. She obtained a restraining order, accessed rental assistance as well as Victims of Crime Compensation to help pay her medical expenses, and found an affordable apartment. Keira enrolled in the PALS creative arts therapy program- Peace-A Learned Solution. After six months in PALS, the girls were sleeping better and crying less. Keira also reported that she and her kids feel safe for the first time in years. She has obtained employment and feels more empowered to support her family. She and her girls continue to be safe and stable.

Jane*

The client entered services in need of an income, legal advocacy, and safe, permanent housing. The client was unable to work due to being 7 months pregnant and high risk. While attending services, the client was able to receive assistance through the Camden County Board of Social Services. She was also able to pursue a civil action with the assistance of legal services and pro bono attorney, Lisa Incollingo. Case management assisted the client in completing the NJ Victims of Crime Compensation Office Application for relocation services as well as a loss of spousal support. At the end of services, the client had received services through the Camden County Board of Social Services, court-mandated child support, she was compensated through NJ Victims of crime compensation Office and moved into her own apartment with her children.

*Name has been changed at the client’s request.

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