SafeHouse Center
24/7 HelpLine: 734-995-5444
If you are in immediate danger, call 911.
Linea de Apoyo de 24 horas: 734-995-5444
Si esta en grave peligro, llame a 911.

The Blue Car

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As the Executive Director of SafeHouse Center, I often have an opportunity to meet the survivors who walk through our doors. I’ve heard their stories of what led them to us, how we’ve been able to provide them with hope, and I’ve been fortunate to witness what happens when people are given the support they need to drive ahead in reaching their goals. Sometimes those stories really stick with me.

I remember one day in particular, last spring. As I was standing in the lobby, a woman walked in and asked to speak with our Shelter Coordinator. Not certain that our coordinator was in the building, I asked if I could help instead. But the woman was adamant: she would speak only to her. I asked why.

It turns out the woman had driven to SafeHouse Center and parked right in front of the entrance for one simple reason: she wanted to show our coordinator her blue car. Her new blue car. The new blue car that represented all she had worked for since being a resident at SafeHouse Center. You see, when she had left SafeHouse and secured her first job working as a cashier, she told us that one day she’d be the manager. And when that day came around, she’d go out and buy the cutest little blue car she could find. So that’s exactly what she car

When this survivor first walked through our doors, the odds were stacked against her. Fleeing an abusive relationship, she was in her late twenties, hadn’t graduated from high school, had no income or access to resources, no credit score, and had never lived on her own. However, during her three months at SafeHouse Center, our staff walked her through the legal system, assisted her in dealing with law enforcement, and helped her run a credit report, begin job hunting, start work on a GED, and find housing.

Her goal upon leaving SafeHouse Center was to have a job, a place of her own and, eventually, the cutest little blue car she could find.

When people find out that I work at SafeHouse Center, they often ask me, “How can you keep doing such hard work for so many years?” The answer is simple—I’m on the side of hope. Within the walls of this building are families working to rebuild their lives after experiencing unspeakable violence and pain. This structure provides shelter and safety, and the people working in it offer support, counseling, access to resources and the tools survivors need to forge ahead.

Of course not everyone’s goal is the same, but most survivors want the chance to start over and work towards getting their own “blue car.”

Throughout our lives, you and I have had our own “blue car” goals. These are goals that we have been able to build on, goals that allow us to dream to achieve even bigger goals. That “blue car” goal might have been graduating from college, getting a first job or finding an apartment, and most of us have had people by our side to help us attain them. At SafeHouse Center, we have the privilege of being those people for survivors. We have the opportunity to help families plan for the future and take concrete steps towards reaching these “blue car” goals—be they actual blue cars, jobs, educational opportunities or a home of their own.  car with caption

When they walk through the doors at SafeHouse Center, survivors and their families are given the chance to heal by finding safety in our shelter, support in our counseling and support group services, and a helping-hand through our legal advocacy services. Most importantly, they are given hope.

When we are no longer focused on merely surviving, we can look to the future. We can dream of possibilities for ourselves and our children. We can learn to be economically self-sufficient and take steps to make our dreams come true– and sometimes these dreams involve the cutest little blue cars we can find. 

In an ideal world, there would be no need for a SafeHouse Center. But our world is far from ideal, so we will continue to battle against sexual assault and domestic violence. Together. These are tragedies that affect women and men from all walks of life every single day. It could affect you, and it could affect me.

That’s why SafeHouse Center is here 24 hours a day, 365 days a year when people need a safe place to turn for emergency shelter and counseling. Day or night, we’re ready to meet with survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. And these around-the-clock services are possible because of contributions from people like you.

Someday soon, these services will enable another SafeHouse Center survivor to reach her goal. Which might just be the cutest little blue car she can find.

Thank you for your continued support,driving

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Barbara Niess-May, Executive Director

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