BENEFITING: Casa Myrna Vazquez, Inc.
ORGANIZER: Casa Myrna Vazquez, Inc.
EVENT: Purple Purse Challenge
Casa Myrna Vazquez, Inc. wrote -
Casa Myrna delivers solutions to end domestic and dating violence through intervention, awareness and prevention. Founded in 1977 by community activists, we provide:
- A range of bilingual English/Spanish supportive services to help survivors in crisis rebuild their lives, including a financial empowerment program (SOAR – Stability, Opportunities, Achievements, Results), legal advocacy, community-based advocacy, children’s services, counseling, and housing assistance and advocacy.
- Three Boston-based shelters for survivors and children who are homeless due to domestic, dating and/or family violence.
- SafeLink hotline (877-785-2020), the only statewide, 24/7, multilingual domestic violence hotline in Massachusetts, in continuous operation since 2000.
- Education and outreach for adults and teens, including workshops, trainings and campaigns on mass transit systems statewide about domestic and dating violence.
The domestic violence survivors we serve are often struggling with many forms of adversity, including poverty, violence and homelessness. Our work supports them as they build better futures for themselves and their children.
Casa Myrna began providing financial empowerment services to survivors in 1999 in response to their need to not just "get safe" but to build long-term financial stability. In 2007, we created the SOAR (Stability, Opportunities, Achievements, Results) Program, which provides survivors with skill-building economic workshops and individual training and advising on basic budgeting and personal finance. It includes assistance with identifying, enrolling in and paying for degree programs, continuing education courses and certificate programs; assistance with opening bank accounts; goal setting to meet realistic short and long-term financial goals; and connections to a network of supportive services at Casa Myrna. Our full-time, bilingual Self Sufficiency Specialist manages SOAR. In the past year, the program reached 95 survivors. A story about a survivor from SOAR highlights the impact of Casa Myrna’s economic empowerment efforts:
Gloria (not her real name), who is 22- years- old, was connected to Casa Myrna via our Community-Based Advocacy Program. Community Services Specialist Camila met Gloria at Boston’s Family Justice Center after Gloria filed a police report about her boyfriend for physically abusing her. He was the father of her two-year-old son. Her boyfriend was trying to press charges against Gloria, although the police report indicated he was perpetrating the abuse. Gloria lived with her mother at the time, and had grown up in an abusive household. Camila referred Gloria to our Teen Parenting Program since there was space available, and Gloria and her son entered the program.
Camila helped Gloria prepare for her court appearance, and the charges against Gloria were dropped. Camila also helped Gloria obtain a restraining order against her boyfriend. Now Gloria has a set schedule for supervised visits between her son and his father. This is one way Gloria can take control to make decisions and not need to do everything on her abuser’s terms.
Gloria also began working with our Self-Sufficiency Specialist Joselyn. She completed SOAR’s five-session financial literacy group, led by Joselyn at the Teen Parenting Program. Joselyn also helped Gloria enroll in a job training program by Catholic Charities. In addition, Joselyn worked with Gloria to overcome her anxiety about banking, budgeting and paying her rent on time.
Casa Myrna’s Housing Specialist helped Gloria find safe, affordable housing in a public housing unit in Brighton.
Gloria continues to meet with Joselyn and our Housing Specialist and stay in touch with the Teen Parenting Program Coordinator to ensure her continued success in living independently and caring for herself and her son. Our Self-Sufficiency Specialist reports that Gloria is even interested in beginning to save for retirement!
What Your Purple Purse Gift Will Do…
- $50 – you purchase 15 personal finance planners for survivors
- $100 – you help a survivor purchase a suit for an interview
- $250 – you give five survivors personalized guidance sessions to enhance their education and job search prospects
- $500 – you provide three hours of basic budgeting and personal finance training to ten survivors
- $1,000 – you help two survivors enroll in an English as a Second Language (ESL) Course
- $2,500 – you sponsor a five-week personal economic planning workshop for ten survivors