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Legal Programs Help Demystify Divorce

Legal Programs Help Demystify Divorce

Even though she had been separated for nearly a year, Nicole couldn’t afford to hire an attorney to get a divorce. She read (Compass Center’s) Family Law Book and got enough information to decide to file on her own. She attended (Compass Center’s) Pro Se (Do-It-Yourself) legal clinic, got all the forms she needed, and – because of (Compass Center) — she was granted her divorce without any of the high legal costs.

Starting a New Life – One Woman’s Journey

Starting a New Life – One Woman’s Journey

Lisa and her two children now live in Orange County in a safe and peaceful home. But it wasn’t always that way.

For years Lisa was married to a man who created a home environment in which Lisa and her children felt hurt, afraid, isolated, unsafe and manipulated. Lisa was constantly ridiculed and called names. She felt like she couldn’t do anything right. At times she would be trapped in rooms, pushed against walls or have objects thrown in her direction. In addition to concerns for her own safety, Lisa was very worried about how her husband’s abuse was affecting her children.

She couldn’t believe that she had stayed in the relationship so long and felt ashamed to talk about it. She was so focused on getting through each day safely without a substantial abusive incident that it was hard to imagine she could have a different life.

At the suggestion of a friend, Lisa agreed to call Compass Center’s hotline. The advocates who worked with Lisa helped her understand that she was not alone and that what she was experiencing was abusive. She talked a lot about what she had experienced and how it was affecting her while the advocates provided emotional support. Lisa also benefited from talking about the advantages and disadvantages of telling friends and family about what she was experiencing.

The advocates were able to help her understand her options for getting a protective order or filing criminal charges if she ever chose to do that. She planned for her safety and that of her children to minimize harm when incidents occurred. Lisa also joined one of Compass Center’s support groups for women who are experiencing or have experienced domestic violence. She really appreciated being able to talk to other women going through what she was and seeing how they were dealing with their own relationships.

Over time Lisa made a decision to slowly take steps to separate from her husband. Compass Center provided her with attorney referrals and continued to help her plan for her safety. The network of support Lisa received from Compass Center for Women and Families, friends, family and other local services helped her to complete the separation, gain freedom and successfully adjust to the life she and her children have now.

Teens Climb High Participant Recognized for Leadership

Teens Climb High Participant Recognized for Leadership

Charlotte had been recommended to our Teens Climb High program at the beginning of 6th grade by her school counselor because of challenges she faced in her home situation and at school. At the end of her seventh grade year she applied for and was selected to be a Peer Leader for her final year in the program. In this role she attended weekly group sessions, assisted in teaching the sixth and seventh graders and planned events for the group as a whole. The younger girls and her fellow eighth graders looked up to her as a leader in the program.

Charlotte’s developing leadership has been recognized in other venues as well. In summer, 2010, she was selected to attend the “Discover the Leader in YOU Leadership Camp.” Following that experience, she was recognized for her outstanding leadership in September 2011 through the United Way of the Greater Triangle’s Women’s Leadership Council. In addition, Charlotte has been involved for four years in the Blue Ribbon Mentor-Advocate program, and attended the Duke Young Writer’s Camp in summer, 2012.

A 2012 graduate of Teens Climb High, Charlotte’s initiative and hard work have been an inspiration to others participants and leader in the program.  Program leaders are confident she’ll be a leader and an asset in all her future endeavors.

Click to learn more about our Adolescent Programs.

Making Changes. Setting an Example.

Making Changes. Setting an Example.

Maria had always dreamed of buying her first home, but was burdened by debt. Her Disability income was not enough to pay the bills for herself and her nine children. Referred by a local housing organization to Compass Center for Women and Families, Maria soon joined the Financial Coaching and Support program. With other participants she attended weekly financial workshops for two months then each met individually each quarter for a year to chart their progress with a financial counselor. Each participant was invited to place an empty frame on the wall at home and envision their completed picture. Maria was inspired by this challenge, and learned and developed new financial skills, and, perhaps more importantly, identified her own beliefs about money, changed her behavior patterns and was able to share her journey with the eight other women participating.

Fifteen months later, Maria has established an emergency fund, is putting two kids through college and has commendable savings for a down-payment on her first home. Even better, her children are learning from her grit and determination to make smart choices around money for themselves as well. “I wish I was using Compass Center a long time ago,” Maria told us recently. “It really, really helps. If I didn’t have Compass Center, I wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t have that belief in myself.”

Click to learn more about our Financial Counseling Services.

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