Helping families of domestic violence & poverty this holiday season

Happy Holidays! I need you all to know my friend Tamara Mailman. She’s the founder of the New Found Hope Project – a recovery community effort to support survivors of domestic violence and their children. This is a completely grass roots effort – no admin costs, no paid employees, just immediate help to our neighbors who need it the most.

Not only are her efforts inherently positive, they’ve launched at a time of year that a lot of us need something to feel good about. For too many of us, the holidays are just an inherently sucky time of year.

It’s not the materialism that really gets to people like me. It’s the feelings of obligation and the belief that we must spend time with people we don’t like because we happen to be related to them. (Good news: you’re free to rid yourself of that excessive and undeserved loyalty).

It takes a lot to really change your life. It’s hard to say to someone, “I’m sorry, I can’t have you in my life anymore”, but I’ve had to. When sick and selfish people talk to me, I don’t hear them. My brain provides a soundtrack for my life. I hear Cheryl Crow singing, “You don’t bring me anywhere but down.” Then they have to go.

My family today is almost completely people I don’t share DNA with.

My family is amazing. It includes people like Tamara who just go out into the world and kick ass. Apparently, no one has told Tamara that she’s taking on a huge local need. I doubt she’d be dissuaded in the least. She’s already been to hell and back. You can’t stop people like us.

So, a few of the realities of domestic violence:

  • The most dangerous time for the majority of us is when we leave
  • We very often leave in the midst of crisis, with little more than the clothes on our backs
  • Our abusers typically control our lives and our finances
  • Our children suffer by virtue of the failures of our abusers.

Please, never ask a survivor, “Why don’t you just leave?” That question assigns blame, shame, and stigma. It’s infinitely better to ask, “How can I help?”

I’m so glad you asked! Here’s how you can help:

  • Daily life necessities – diapers, formula, hygiene products
  • Basic life needs – heating fuel, groceries, warm clothing
  • Gift cards. It can be worrisome to give cash but cards to Wal Mart, Hannaford and Pharmacies (Rite Aid, Walgreens)

So this year, instead of buying crap for people you don’t like, send a long a donation to someone who will put it to excellent use. You can always send cards that say, “In the spirit of the holiday season, I changed someone’s life – not just by helping to meet their life needs, but also by reminding them that there are good people in the world who reach out to those in need without judgment.

Contact Tamara:

The New Found Hope Project Brewer MaineTel 207-391-0540

thenewfoundhopeproject@gmail.com

 

Jim LaPierre

About Jim LaPierre

Jim LaPierre LCSW CCS is the Executive Director of Higher Ground Services in Brewer, Maine. He is a Recovery Ally, mental health therapist and addictions counselor. He specializes in facilitating recovery (whether from addiction, trauma, depression, anxiety, or past abuse) overcome obstacles, and improve their quality of life. Jim offers a limited amount of online therapy to those with very flexible schedules.