'Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has'. That quote by Margaret Mead inspires me...to give, to make a difference.
This is #MyGivingStory....a Story about 'Sport n Art 4 a Cause'
Early morning. a well-made Espresso. then a PCH ride on my motorcycle. After a few miles of feeling the ocean breeze - a cool little question popped up - 'What makes me happy?'...That just meant, time for a stop at the Marmalade Cafe...Along with an egg-white-frittata (highly recommend it!) breakfast, came a little answer.
I have always been passionate about Sport & Art. Realms that have always brought joy to me - high tide or low tide. But then a question came up 'What's passion without purpose?'
By the time i got my Shadow to kick up again to top gear, i came up with a fundraiser idea - for this awesome non-profit (A Window Between Worlds http://www.awbw.org) that uses Art as a Healing Tool for survivors of trauma ’n abuse, thereby making a positive difference in their lives.
An idea..that would be fun..that would bring in art for the sports fan..with a purpose.
.and when Passion meets Purpose, Life happens!
Check out this short film about my journey of 'Sport n Art 4 a Cause’...a football-themed facepainting fundraiser towards AWBW's cause.
It’s truly a #OurGivingStory with so many amazing people involved in making this happen. Special Thanks to L.A Cheeseheads and So.Cal Seahawks. They are such a fun, philanthropic football fan community out here in So.Cal
I'm grateful to share this experience with all of you for #GivingTuesday. Wishing u the very best in your journeys!
Review from #MyGivingStory
I'm not only a volunteer but have also been a client served. I have worked with A Window Between Worlds for over 10 years and have never been more impressed with any other nonprofit organization. It is no doubt due to the talent commitment and efficiency that permeates this organization that they have grown to impact thousands of lives across our nation. Even now they continue to expand their mission and reach to serve a more diverse population, promoting healing and empowerment to our fellow citizens effected by violence. My affiliation with this organization is a great source of pride and purpose.
Review from Guidestar
I dont think there is enough room in this little box for me to explain what a wonderful orginazation A Window Between Worlds is. This orginazation gave me "ME" back, if that makes any sense, they helped me in opening up about stuff i wanted to keep bottled up and hidden. Windows helpd open a door i had closed, i had never talked with my children about what we as a family had been through, i didnt know how to do it. Through an art project the door opened all on its own, i sat and talked with my oldst daughtrand that was the first step to our healing process. The healing isnt easy and what I love about AWBW is that they know that and they honor that, they take the time as other programs i had been involved with give you 12-18 classes and then you should be "healed" being a survivor is a life long process and AWBW is there for you!! The AMAZING women that work for windows are women who actually care about us. They are real with us and help us see the positive side of what feels like th emost negative issue. I love when they call or email just to say hi to check in. I go to the once a month Survivors Art Circle and the empowering feeling when i enter that room is amazing, I wish they could offer a circle evry weekend , I am such a happy woman when i levae there i feel so positive!! AWBW is the reason i am still safe the reason i am still alive and not felt the need to return to my batterer AWBW has given me hope back, it has instilled in me it wasnt/isnt my fault we went through the awful things we went through, they have helped me believe that there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and that one day ill be ok!!!!
I began volunteering at AWBW in 2010 because of a small blurb i came across on the internet. From the first time i stepped into the office, the warm, positive and ambitious nature of the AWBW staff surrounded and inspired me. I was amazed by how such a small staff of less than a dozen individuals could affect the lives of tens of thousands of individuals dealing with domestic violence a year. I was able to be a integral part of the program as a volunteer, taking part in fundraising events, shelter leader training preparation and educational conferences. AWBW is like a second family to me and i talk about it to everyone i know because it truly deserves every bit of attention it receives. The impact AWBW has on the community only continues to grow as more and more people become involved in this amazing non-profit.
AWBW has brought clarity to my life. It helped me to find my passion for helping women and children, it gave me the confidence I needed to be an artist, and it gave me a network of guardian angels (AWBW staff) that have inspired me to be the young woman I am today. Through my experience with AWBW I have learned the ins and outs of a non-profit organization, how to work effectively with a group of strong women (which usually ends badly, but not at AWBW !), how to use art as a healing tool in my everyday life, how to understand the healing process of survivors. But most importantly I have learned that doing what I am most passionate about is not only for me, but it’s for all of the lives that I touch on that journey, and that if I take the journey with AWBW I will never be walking alone. I continue to volunteer with AWBW because their mission is my mission. AWBW values their volunteers in a way that leaves a lasting impression on every volunteer’s heart. I spent three months working in the office and I didn’t want to leave. Actually, I still want to go back! I continue to volunteer with AWBW because there is no greater feeling in the world then being a part of another person’s healing process. Watching women heal, seeing the pain leave their eyes, watching the weight lift off of their hearts, hearing the new found clarity and confidence in their voices, that’s why I will be a lifelong AWBW volunteer.
I became aware of A Window Between Worlds (AWBW) in 1993 when a friend told me she had become involved as a board member. It really pulled at my heart strings as I, as many women, had left an abusive relationship and understood the need that AWBW was fullfuling in the lives of women and their children. As an artist, I wanted to volunteer in any capacity that they would have me. I volunteered whenever there was an opportunity and all these years later I am on their staff. I've witnessed first hand the life-changing impact that this organization has on the lives of women and the empowerment that it gives them to make the changes necessary for a violence free life.
I began volunteering with A Window Between Worlds in 2009. I am a survivor of domestic violence and sexual abuse. For ten years, I was trapped in my house, suffering from agoraphobia. I never went more than three miles from home, and went out only if a friend came and got me. My therapist suggested that I find a organization to volunteer with that I cared enough about to leave home and travel more than three miles. A Window Between Worlds was it for me. Not only were they helping women and children survivors through art (I use art in my own healing process,) but they provided a safe environment that I quickly came to trust. Each year I find myself volunteering more hours. I recently began volunteering during the week in addition to the volunteer day each month. I'm also signing on to help with AWBW special events. I went through a lot of research and visiting other volunteer groups before I found AWBW. It was worth everything I did to find them. I would like for AWBW to be honored as often and as much as possible. The work they do provides concrete help with an issue that affects the whole world.
I was feeling depressed after the loss of my mother. Not yet ready to get back to work full-time, and not sure if I should implement a career change, what I did know is that I wanted to do something useful, something that I felt good about. I decided that I wanted to contribute to a cause that I believed in and one that had a positive impact on my community. I remembered a flyer that I had received about an organization that helped survivors of domestic violence through healing art projects. I thought it was super cool. I have always found art to be a healing force in my life. (It is now apparent to me that I became an art major in order to save myself, without even being conscious of it at the time)! So I filed the flyer away, thinking that I might like to get involved later on. In my state of desperation I looked for the flyer and found it and thought this may be the place--especially when I saw that it was located in my very city. Keeping it local also appealed to me. I checked out my spiritual centers non profit affiliations, and saw that they were also involved with a healing art program. This seemed like an omen to me, it solidified my decision. I knew for sure that this was where I need to concentrate my energies, efforts and love and see how it unfolds. I wrote a letter to Lonnie, the Volunteer coordinator at AWBW and she responded right away, and enthusiastically. Probably echoing my own enthusiasm. She asked when I would like to come in, we set up a time, and I have been forever grateful to her since. Everyone there made me feel so welcome, and they were so appreciative of everything that I did. I looked forward to going in the office. I saw first had the work they put into changing the lives of women and children who have suffered. It made me feel so good to be a part of the process. Even if it was just preparing art supplies -- sharpening pencils, or cutting strings for an art workshop. I loved being there so much that I think Audrey (the operating manager) must have noticed and asked me to help with a temporary position. Being there everyday, even if for a little while, solidified my feelings about how great the work they do is. Being there also had another side effect that I was not quite prepared for. My memories of my own abusive parents started to come up for me. I had certainly recognized in the past that I had an abusive family, particularly my step Father, but I don't think I ever dealt with all of my feelings around it -- at least not full on. Participating in one of the workshops while attending as a volunteer, I had a very powerful and moving experience, painful, but very cathartic. It made me think that perhaps I should join AWBW's, monthly healing art group -- Survivors Art Circle. It has taken a while for me to admit my past publicly, but and it has genuinely helped me further along on my personal journey of healing. And now I really see how it impacts the lives of so many, like myself. AND I also can vouch for how beautifully executed and heartfelt everything AWBW takes on turns out. I am honored to be a volunteer for AWBW, and I would encourage anyone looking for a great organization to get involved with to do the same. Lisa Pearson
A Window Between Worlds has made such a big impact on me, in so many ways. As a survivor of multiple traumas back to back to back, I would have never thought that I could emotionally or mentally be so strong. They have empowered me to accept what I have been through and move forward instead of looking back. I am in NO way an artist, but creating has been an integral part of my growth. I am a SAC (Survivor's Art Circle) member, and began volunteering because I wanted to give back to such a special place, and hopefully help others that are too afraid to speak up. I was one of those people, and now you cannot keep me quiet! I attribute that to AWBW. I have never in my life even liked myself, let alone love myself...and now I can happily say with strength that I LOVE myself. I also know that I will NEVER EVER be abused sexually, emotionally, mentally, financially, or physically again! Before I used to say it, and still be the victim of all kinds of abuse. NOW, I can truly from my heart say...IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN!
AWBW saved my life, and the life of my little boy. I was their client back in 2007 as I moved through their services, art made a huge difference in my life, it empowered me and help build my self-esteem. Eventually I graduated and as I was working towards becoming myself a DV counselor, they sponsored me to take their training workshop and now I am certify to do the Art as a Healing tool. This training has help me to open doors for internships and I intend to use this experience in my resume once I graduate from College God permitting it will be next year 2013. My field is Psychology, but I intend to use the training that AWBW provided for me in my field. AWBW has change the lives of so many women, children and teens in helping them take control of their lives through art. As many victims of domestic violence don't have much control of what is happening in their lives, Art through AWBW offers them a light of hope, satisfaction, returns to them self-esteem, hope and creates in them empowerment to take control of what they are able to control and that is their feelings, emotions and through the healing of art they are able to little by little realize how amazing they are and that their lives can change, their lives can be different and they eventually gain enough strength to leave, overcome domestic violence and obtain enough empowerment to help empower others through the healing of Art and thanks to A WINDOW BETWEEN WORLDS. I am a living proof of how amazing this organization is. As proof that this organization is so amazing, I am now are in a position where I am completely free from Domestic Violence, I am not only a survivor but a warrior and I now in a healthy relationship with an amazing husband and our marriage is build and founded in trust, mutual respect, true love, understanding, encouragement and a completely healthy relationship where my son now 7 has found stability, confidence and safety. My husband supports me and we are now expecting a new baby girl and I have the security and complete confidence that my little girl will not have to ever see or experience a bad scenario between my husband and my self. This organization help me enough to recognize a healthy relationship and be able to rebuild my life and make a complete and true change in my life and in the life of my son.
The following is an testimonial I wrote about how one particular AWBW project, Pearls of Wisdom, that enabled me to heal from a lifetime of sexual abuse. The Pearls of Wisdom workshop propelled me farther down my road toward healing more than any other therapeutic endeavor. The pearls workshop enabled me to modify my behavior and move forward more than all the work I diid in the past with countless counselors, friends and advocates. The workshop, just like my abuse, took me through a roller coaster of emotions. During the workshop I felt everything from anger, frustration, and sadness to feeling supported, enlightened, relaxed, adventurous, reinvigorated and finally, empowered.
Creating my pearl allowed me to clarify things and reaffirm that I am okay. Each aspect of the workshop revealed aspects of my long history of sexual abuse that I had become so adept to ignoring. During the writing portion, it was very telling that I couldn’t look at myself in the reflective paper. Writing my story on reflective paper helped me see how much I have detached myself from it, even though I had previously journaled about it on many occasions.
I also greatly benefitted from wrapping my pearl in bandages! Taking the strips and dipping them in water gave me a feeling of being in control and symbolically healing my own wounds. I felt very powerful and the bandages brought me out of the negative place the reflective writing portion took me. Each part of the workshop seamlessly fit together. The process not only allowed the terrible feelings that came from my abuse to surface, but also gave me the opportunity to process those feelings in a different way and symbolically heal my own wounds.
I always thought that the sexual abuse was my fault because I never fought off my abusers. From childhood to adulthood whenever sexual abuse took place I automatically detached my mind from my body and went numb. Each time I was molested reinforced my unconscious coping mechanism of lying quietly pretending to be asleep. Through the project I was able to reconnect parts of myself that I had shut off in order to survive the negative experiences. I was finally able to internalize the saying “sexual assault is never the victim’s fault” and truly recognized that none of what I experienced was my fault. Just because I never said no doesn't mean that I said yes.
Another aspect of the abuse that was hard to reconcile is that sometimes the bad touch felt good, which was confusing, especially when I was little. I have since learned that I couldn’t protect myself from sexual abuse when I was little, but I can now. My vagina is mine! I have power over my sexual activity.
This is the first time that I haven’t been sexually abused for over one year. The last time it happened was December of 2008 and it will never happen again. The day I made my pearl I found myself in danger of being sexually abused again. This time I spoke up and protected myself for the first time by saying “no”. I am a warrior who, not only protects others, but most importantly, protects myself and I have the Pearls of Wisdom project to thank for it.
Working with A Window Between Worlds has been an amazing experience. I have worked with the organization on a few different dates and done a variety of activities, but each experience has been wonderful. I started volunteering through my high school to fulfill a community service requirement. On my first volunteer day, i helped organize and assemble supplies for the many art workshops in domestic violence shelters this organization sponsors. I had so much fun and was truly enlightened by the work done by A Window Between Worlds. This summer, I am coming a few days a week to continue my volunteer work. I have always had a passion for art, and now I am considering a career in art therapy because of my work with AWBW. The staff members here are very welcoming and clearly passionate about the work that they do, and it is a pleasure to be part of such a great organization.
I worked with AWBW last summer and I have come back to work with them this summer because this place makes a difference and touches the lives of many of the people that they work with. The staff here are so full of love for one another as well as the leaders and families at the shelters who work with AWBW. I have been lucky enough to be able to attend a training where leaders from all over come to learn what AWBW is all about and how to incorporate art into their methods of therapy as a form of creative expression. The "window of time" that these workshops allow women, children and even men is an important part of the healing process and opens up an opportunity for a form of expression that many write off an insignificant. Here at AWBW, they prove that art can have a major impact on the victims of domestic violence and help them start to move toward a brighter future. I love working here and hope to continue helping any way that I can, because AWBW not only empowers the people that they work with but they give volunteers a sense of agency.
A single art program offered through A Window Between Worlds changes lives. I know, because I am forever changed as a result of a simple exercise offered during a board meeting 10 years ago! I am a survivor of both childhood violence and as a married woman. I had the courage to run away from home at 17 and then from an abusive marriage. My commitment to healing and paying it forward led me to Windows, where I found a deeper level of healing than I had ever expected! As 2010 International Coach of the Year, I work with international organizations of all types. Without a doubt, Windows is one of the most efficient, effective and life changing nonprofits I have ever been involved with. It is with profound gratitude that I recommend AWBW for the Women's Empowerment Awards 2012.