Why do we do this work from Courtney Santana
In my work as a speaker, advocate, and survivor ambassador, I am blessed with the opportunity to speak to many different groups and organizations. After all, I was this “Super Survivor” who openly shared my story with others in a way that made them hopeful. I had survived some horrible times and I was sharing my story proudly.
Without fail, I would finish my speech and someone would come and tell me that they were inspired by my story but when they or a loved one of theirs went to the shelter, they were turned away. This happened over and over again, so in 2011, we pivoted our business model to address this need.
I started my research and what I found was astonishing. I could not believe the countless articles and press I read about shelters being full to capacity, unable to house those families fleeing to them in the middle of the night. Since 2011, more than hundreds of new shelters have opened across the country and yet, the wait lists and the numbers of unmet shelter requests continued to climb. This is not JUST an Austin, Texas problem. It is a national problem.
Without a second thought, I knew THIS was the place I needed to focus my attention because 1,000s of women like me with children like mine were becoming homeless monthly.
In the state of Texas alone, the Texas Council on Family Violence reports that in 2015, more than 42% of the victims seeking shelter services, will be turned away due to the lack of facilities to hold them and their families will be placed on a wait list until a bed becomes available.
To address this growing problem, I started the Survive2Thrive Foundation (S2T). Survive2Thrive, a 501c3 organization, is an advocate-supported recovery pathway for domestic violence and abuse (DVA) who have been waitlisted or have recently left the shelter.
This is our mission but it is also my purpose. As a survivor, I am not sure what I would have done if I had been turned away with my then 8 month old son and 2 year old daughter.
Over the past 5 years, my team and I have been working to find solutions to this wait list problem and to give survivors the tools they need to become self sufficient and thrive! Join us in this mission to change the domestic violence movement from VICTIMIZATION TO EMPOWERMENT TO SURVIVOR SUCCESS!