When we first meet our amazing survivors, they are homeless. In some cases, someone has quite literally told them whose house or which hotel they will sleep in every night, for as long as they can remember. Others are so far into a downward spiral and addiction, that they stay awake for weeks at a time, only to crash every few weeks once their body starts shutting down. Some have plastic trash bags with a few outfits and some personal belongings. I’ve seen a few backpacks… and even a broken down laundry basket once.
Most have horrific memories of ‘home’ and ‘homes’. They entered into human trafficking at an average age of 13. So you can imagine what it means to them when our team of volunteers takes them out to begin collecting things for their very first homes. None of them initially have opinions about color preferences or decorating styles. It’s so powerful for them to be able to EXPRESS themselves and use their voices for the very first time.
Doma means home! We redefine home for those whose homes were full of abuse, pain, neglect, and injustice. We redefine home for those who don’t even have the first clue about what a home should look like—because their homes have only felt empty.
How do we do it? We spend anywhere from $200-$400 per apartment—and in “Trading Spaces” fashion, we take one day, and drive the survivors to thrift stores all over Columbus to pick out their own patterns and colors. We help them do it with dignity and empowerment, so that they don’t feel as though they are just getting our leftovers. We want them to develop their sense of self! I used to make it a point to visit each apartment after every makeover. And I’ve seen leopard prints emerge—and country patterns—and lots of PINK!
These amazing women delight in filling their apartments with pots and pans. And in hanging up curtains, and in picking out pretty bedspreads. One woman said that she loves the fresh laundry detergent smell of her bedspread as she pulls it up to snuggle in safe and sound at night—safe for the very first time in her life.
Thank you for all you do for the ladies we love so much—so now please help us redefine home. Over the last few years we have received some grant funding for apartment makeovers, but not yet for 2013. Doma has done amazing work with survivors to restore dignity with very little individual donations. But now we really, really need your support. I promise you, we would not be asking if we had the grant secured. Please consider giving to our survivor services. These next few weeks alone, we have 3 apartments that need made over– and one willing volunteer to coordinate.
Donate here at domaconnection.org, donate now, survivor services, and leave a note in the donation that it is meant for apartment makeovers. And yes, if you have pots and pans that aren’t broken down, and plates that look nice still—please drop them off at our offices– 40 West Long, YMCA- downtown.
And yes, of course, we’ll take anything PINK that you might have. It is so neat to see these amazing women exploring their inner child, and living life free and unclenched, and safe…