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June 28, 2016

I recently attended an English tea, hosted by the Community Resource Center of Encinitas, CA. The CRC is a large organization devoted to helping abused women break free from their dysfunctional homes and start new lives. The enthusiasm at the tea was contagious; over two hundred supporters filled the room with their chatter and laughter. They placed bids at the silent auction and purchased raffle tickets for elaborate gifts donated by merchant supporters.  I couldn’t help but wonder if any of them were former abused women celebrating their freedom and giving back. The tea raised tens of thousands of dollars to support this wonderful service organization. My spirits soared at the thought that all these women were helping the abused to break free.

It was my first contact with the CRC so my initial goal was to learn about the organization. How were they helping? What were their goals? Were they connected with other organizations locally and nationally? Here is some of what I learned.

First and foremost, the Community Resource Center provides emergency shelter, at their very secure Carol’s House, for women breaking free.  But their help doesn’t stop there. Whether or not she is housed in this facility, every abused woman who has broken free, and her family, receives food and counseling. Volunteers provide emergency clothing and household goods. The CRC also operates thrift shops to bring in funds for their operation and to provide affordable clothing and household items to the whole community.

The CRC helps women who have broken free find jobs to support their families. They help them with resumes, job referrals, and job training too.

To ensure stability in the abused woman’s life, the CRC continues to help her after she leaves the emergency shelter, by offering her additional counseling, asset building advice, and even classes on choosing healthy food. They also provide referrals to professionals who may help her move ahead.

On a county basis, the CRC participates in an organization that networks non-profit, public and private groups to provide one-stop county-wide assistance to domestic violence victims. Currently the SDDVC is working to inform teens about the signs of control that could lead to date abuse. See for more information.

Following the tea and a progress report we heard from a woman who had been abused. She told us about her abuse, her cycle of breaking free and then returning to her abuser, and her success in finally breaking free. Her story contained many of the elements we’ve discussed in this blog.

In spite of the sadness of the CRC’s cause, I left the tea filled with the joy. The joy of coming together with this large, energetic organization to help abused women break free from an environment that no one should have to endure.

Organizations such as the CRC are vital to the health of a community. Domestic violence is increasing in the United States.  More CRC-like organizations are needed. If your community does not have such a group, please champion the formation of one.

Do you have a sheltering organization in your area? My readers and I would like to hear about it. Please reply to this post or email me at


C. L. Woodhams, author,  The Outreach Committee:Because Marriage Can Be Murder, a multiple award winner, available at







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