Not everyone has family or friends to turn to when times get rough. That’s why community service organizations are essential—they are the “village” for people to lean on when dealing with tough times.
Families First, our latest Giving Program donation recipient strengthens communities with individual and family mental health counseling, support groups, education and training, 24-hr crisis/suicide intervention hotline, and many other services.
How Families First changed one life:
Amy’s mother was first her abuser, selling her for sex at age five. Her mother kept all the money that the young girl was forced to earn throughout her childhood. At 18, she was forced into the emotional and physical control of other abusers – pimps. Restrained by physical chains and never allowed to move about the community independently, Amy was forced to perform sex acts, beaten, and starved until last November; she had just turned 50 years old.
Circumstances allowed her escape from her tormentors and she learned about Families First’s services. She was connected to a survivor advocate who enrolled her in multiple services.
Families First provided immediate support by getting her a place to stay and helping with some basic expenses. She received a case manager and began counseling programs to develop a safety plan, becoming aware of ‘red flag’ situations in relationships, and learned to process her trauma and emotions.
Now, less than a year after escaping her abusers, Amy says, “I’m learning to deal with what was inside, because I’ve kept that inside for a long time … It’s getting a lot better. It gets a little raw from time to time just opening up and everything, but … it just feels really good to be in a safe environment; I’ve never had this before.”
Despite years of abuse, Amy still has a heart full of gratitude. “This is just a really nice place, it helps people that are in a bad situation and they start making you feel sufficient and just learn to rebuild your life. Families First basically just saved my life from a path of destruction; I’m learning to make a better life for myself. I was never taught that.”
Amy said eventually she would like to help others who’ve experienced sex trafficking through Families First’s volunteer opportunities of mentorship and facilitating support groups. “If you can just help one person, that’s one person who is saved. And places like this need support where they can keep doing the good deeds that they do.”
She has a long road ahead to learn to live independently. She still walks around in a disguise so that she won’t be recognized by acquaintances of her former life.
“I just want to keep living a healthy life, and just having a happier life, and take the tools that I’ve learned and not be ashamed of where I come from…and just keep smiling because nothing’s promised for tomorrow – so you just got to keep making every day a better day.”
Brown Paper Tickets is honored to include Families First in our Giving Program. You can support Families First by making a monetary donation or volunteering at their Indianapolis-area facility.
Photo provided by Families First.