A response to Sutherland Springs, Texas shooting tragedy

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Dear Friends,

Our hearts go out to everyone impacted and moved by the Sutherland Springs, Texas shootings yesterday, Sunday, November 5th. There are no words that can contain the emotions, the loss, the horror of this tragedy.  

As the details of the Sutherland Springs, Texas shooting tragedy unfold there will be many questions that may never be answered. Today we learned that law enforcement officers investigating the mass shooting at a church killing 26 people said that a "domestic situation" within the gunman's family may have motivated the killing. Freeman Martin, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, said during a news conference Monday, "This was not racially motivated, it wasn't over religious beliefs, it was a domestic situation going on."

Domestic violence within our communities, churches, and businesses is not uncommon. Yet only half of all churches have a plan in place for how to respond if someone shares they are experiencing domestic violence.   

A LifeWay Research Study Conducted in 2016 found 37% of pastors are aware of an adult in their church who experienced domestic or sexual violence in the last three years, but only 52% of churches and many business lack having a specific plan or procedures in place for how to respond if someone shares that they are experiencing domestic violence. 

Stronger than Espresso helps survivors reclaim what abuse took away, and we are experts on helping survivors and faith and business leaders navigate how to help. An event like this tragedy leaves many dealing with the trauma of the event, not knowing how to respond.  

Here are some basic items all faith leaders and business owners should have in place and can be put into action if they learn of someone experiencing domestic violence:

1. Have a referral list with hotline numbers and shelters. See below for phone numbers and support information.

2. Contact us. We're here to help. Through training, information and support, we can help you understand how to better respond when domestic violence is identified within your community. Links are below to two resources to help now.

Stronger provides expertise in: Evaluating and establishing a domestic violence program, how best to respond, establishing safety in the workplace, equipping lay leaders to provide small support groups for survivors and trauma healing for victims and their families. 

Estimates say that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have experienced domestic violence in their lifetime.  We are answering the call to help provide healing to those that have experienced abuse.  Traumas from abuse can last decades after the abuse and abuse can leave devastation in its path.

3. For individuals, you can have someone take the Are You Being Abused 15 Question Evaluation. This can help identify risk, see if additional help is needed and know next steps.

And here is some guidance to help someone evaluate their score.

  • 1-2 - Yes, Take notice, strive together to improve troubled areas.

  • 3-4 - Seriously examine relationships, seek help from qualified source.

  • 4-6 - Relationship breaking down, ABUSE is the issue. Joint counseling is not appropriate until FEAR ceases.

  • 7-15 - CRISIS INTERVENTION NEEDED! Seek individual help from sources / advocates familiar with abuse issues. Joint counseling is not appropriate.

If you answer “Yes” to 7–15 of the questions, seek help immediately! 

You don't have to deal with this alone. There is a network of Domestic Abuse professionals who can provide counseling, information and resources. Depending on your financial position, much of this care is offered for free, or at low cost, based on your income. 

Please seek the proper care and counseling to support you during this time.  Call 9-1-1 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 to help find resources in your area. 

4. For church leaders.

Develop sermons and preach about abuse. Make it a topic that is brought out from the shadows, out of the darkness and into the light so healing and change can happen. At Stronger than Espresso we believe everyone has the right to be safe in their own home.  Contact us to help connect with sermons other faith leaders have used to preach on this topic. 

4A. For business owners.

It's estimated that victims of domestic abuse lose 8 million work days each year nationally that they would've had under safer circumstances. Further, the total economic impact of domestic abuse—adding up lost productivity with the expense of police, medical, and social services—is estimated to be as high as $7 billion. It is impacting your business bottom line and productivity. Developing a plan to respond to domestic violence and/or provide a healing support group for survivors can be a real value to your business and help employees feel safe and cared for.

5. Have a benevolence fund to cover basic expenses to provide a safe place to stay for a victim or their family to keep them safe until longer term arrangements can be made.  

Provisions should be coupled with a systematic method to connect this person with local resources, safety planning, shelter and legal support as needed. Stronger than Espresso has local advocates as to domestic violence shelters to walk along the victims in this difficult time. 

Domestic violence is not something that is a private family matter, or a woman's issue or a tragedy that "doesn't happen around here." Unfortunately, it is happening all around us, and in this case, as do many other domestic violence cases, the violence extends further out and injures others. Tragedy occurs and communities are never the same.

Praying for all who have been impacted. 

With gratitude,

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Dr. Brooke Jones
President & Founder
Stronger than Espresso
469-307-8488 Ext 1

www.StrongerThanEspresso.com

“Helping Survivors Reclaim What Abuse Took Away” 

Jolt Awake! eNews - Healing the Wounds of Trauma

As we moved from September into October, we knew we had a full schedule ahead of us, since October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Little did we realize the scope of opportunities God was preparing for us. We were able to touch significant influencers, educators, leaders and groups of people desiring to tackle this important issue.

We are grateful for the team of people who  mobilized to help us execute success in October- from staff to volunteers to supporters. Thank you for standing with us in this journey and for sewing into our organization with your connections, resources, talents and invitations to new opportunities. We are literally impacting the trajectory of lives as we deposit hope and healing across our community. YOU invested generously and we didn’t waste one moment or one dollar!

Thank you for making a life-changing impact on individuals and families in our communities. With all of my heart, I want to say, THANK YOU! Please read below about our work from this past month with photos of our team in action.

Event Updates: (click to auto-scroll to each event)

Sept 21-23
Healing the Wounds of Trauma Healing Intensive Training for Women

Stronger than Espresso, in partnership with Agape Hope and Resource Center, provided an intensive training to help heal the wounds of trauma.  This intensive trauma healing is a small group engagement opportunity, a fusion of Biblical and mental health principles. 

As a part of this powerful intensive multi-day workshop, individuals explored additional trauma wounds in the areas:

  • If God loves us, why do we suffer?
  • How can the wounds of our hearts be healed?
  • What happens when someone is grieving?
  • How can we help children who have experienced bad things?
  • Caring for the caregiver.
  • Taking your pain to the cross.
  • How can we forgive others. 

What the participants said after the training,

  • “A new beginning!”
  • “The most impactful part was writing the laments.”
  • “I loved the writing and drawing!”
  • “I was moved to hear the stories of other women – I felt connected.”

Stronger than Espresso team members are certified to facilitate the Trauma Healing Institute program Healing the Wounds of Trauma. If you would like to learn more about this special program or how you can invite Stronger teams to lead for your small groups, please contact brooke@strongerthanespresso.com

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Sept 26
Women of Visionary Influence

Our Founder and CEO Dr. Brooke Jones spoke to the Women of Visionary Influence local chapter. Women of Visionary Influence was founded on the idea that women thrive helping one another — mentoring each other.

Dr. Jones shared her personal testimony and experience surviving domestic violence, and shared information, tips and immediate use resources to help provide support and information so more women can help women they know, love and care about. This Chapter has many members in growing Grayson County. 

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Sept 26
Dignity Initiative of Collin County

Stronger than Espresso teams were part of the Dignity Initiative – a multi-year effort to educate the campus community about five specific elements of gender violence and to empower community members with specific action steps to end gender-based oppression. Stronger than Espresso has partnered with Collin College on this initiative since the beginning for over 4 years and have served as an expert resource, guest speaker, and community resource vendor. We envision a future in which women are treated with respect and honored as valuable members of cultures around the world.

The highlight of this evening was the guest speaker Mark Wynn, who shared his moving and powerful testimony which led him to be actively involved in the effort to end violence against women. He is a survivor of domestic violence, a veteran police officer, member of the Nashville Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the National Center for Victims of Crime, Consultant to the National Stalking Resource Center of the National Center for Victims of Crime, Consultant to the Department of Justice Office of Victims of Crime, and he helped form the largest police domestic violence investigative unit in the United States. He has appeared on PBS, Oprah WInfrey, NBC World News Tonight, and ABC Evening News. He is also the recipient of multiple awards for his work and efforts to end domestic violence. For additional information, visit his website: www.markwynn.com

Sept 28
WAM Women's Auxiliary of McKinney Annual Conference

This years WAM Women’s Auxillary of McKinney Annual Conference was a huge success. WAM is passionate on fostering Relationships that Empower, and Promoting and Supporting Women in Business. Women’s Alliance of McKinney is a program of the McKinney Chamber of Commerce.  The event, Power Your Potential, was filled with a number of dynamic speakers and over 130 women dedicating a day to learn and engage with one another.

Our Founder and President, Dr. Brooke Jones was excited to present Your 1 in 4 helping this larger group of women learn the warning signs, know what to do, and how take action to help their daughter, best friend, sister, mother, niece, or any other woman in their life.  Everyone has the right to be safe in their own home.

Dr. Jones also had the group conduct an art healing activity creating an intention stone so women could have a tangible take away to identify their intention of a goal, change or transformation they desire in their own life.

Other dynamic speakers of the day included Transform Your Life presented by Elizabeth Mahusay, a successful entrepreneur for 15 years, wife, mother and businesswomen. She is a passionate, articulate speaker whose heart is to help people live more productively. And we heard from Michelle Prince, CEO Prince Performance Group, who is a Zig Ziglar Motivational Speaker and author.

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Oct 2
Cut it Out Luncheon

Cut it Out is a national program teaching salon professionals to know the warning signs and know the resources to refer clients who are facing domestic violence.

Stronger was excited to partner with the Collin County District Attorney and other community organizations to be part of this luncheon teaching and connecting with salon professionals to educate them.  Stronger passed out packages of ‘shoe-size’ referral cards to each attendee. These cards have safety planning, abuse signs and symptoms, and emergency resources to help a woman facing this difficult experience.

Many times, our salon professional is one of the few individuals who has access to a person and can see warning signs from their clients that go unnoticed by most individuals in the general public. Equipping this group of professionals with knowledge and resources may save a women’s life.  

Oct 13
Domestic Violence in Our Homes – Dallas County Responds Panel Discussion

This panel discussion created an opportunity for the community to learn and discuss Dallas County's plan for collaboration and response to domestic violence. Panelists included The Honorable Roberto Canas, The Honorable Brandon Birmingham, The Honorable Shequitta Kelly, District Attorney Faith Johnson, Dallas Police Department Lieutenant Kylee Hawks, Daniela Marez from The Family Place, and Irving Chief of Police Jeff Spivey.

Oct 6
Friday Breakfast Meeting – Fem City Dallas

Dr. Brooke Jones inspired women at a breakfast meeting of the Dallas Chapter of the National Networking Organization, Fem City (Facebook link).  Dr. Jones shared her powerful testimony and journey through and out of domestic violence and aggravated stalking. With 1 in 4 women survivors of domestic violence in the US, there are certainly women that have been affected by this pandemic. Either personally, or a loved one has had to endure its impact and devastation.

Fem City is networking platform growing teams of leading FEMS that create local communities catering to women looking for an abundance of support, consistent uplifting vibes, and a tribe of women inspiring endless possibilities.

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Oct 18-21
Advanced Certification for Healing the Heart Wounds

Stronger than Espresso is proud to announce our Founder and President, Dr. Brooke Jones has successfully completed the certification from the Trauma Healing Institute to be a Trauma Healing Training Facilitator for their program Healing the Wounds of Trauma.

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Healing the Wounds of Trauma is a Bible-based Trauma Healing program that has been developed and grown globally since the late 1990s.  Since 2010, there has been a specific focus to grow a global alliance to equip local churches to care for people with deep emotional and spiritual injuries caused by war, domestic violence or natural disasters.  It combines biblical and mental health resources into an effective intervention that fosters healing and restores relationships with God and others. It includes 327 citations from 275 Bible passages. Dr. Jones can now begin training new facilitators for this specific program in conjunction with a larger community of practitioners who believe a trauma-informed approach is critical to Biblical-base scripture engagement programs for survivors.

In partnership with the Trauma Healing Institute, Dr. Brooke Jones, provides a unique expertise that is specific to domestic violence. Stronger than Espresso small groups can help those in trauma from domestic violence and abuse find an additional intensive resource to help their healing journey in our 15-week small group classes. 

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Oct 18-21
CCCFV Annual Conference

The idea for the Collin County Council on Family Violence (Facebook link) began in 1999. The work of The Council continues today through the efforts of many volunteers and partner organizations. In 2017 The Collin County Council on Family Violence (CCCFV) strengthens collaborative, professional partnerships and serves as a catalyst for a sustained movement against family violence in Collin County.

Stronger than Espresso has been a member of the Council for over four years and we were excited to once again partner with CCCFV and be a community resources for professionals working with victims of domestic violence and other crimes.

Each year we gather together at the Plano Campus of Collin College for professional development and expert speakers offering sessions to achieve professional goals for those working in: mental health, law enforcement, human resources and faith professionals.

Oct 26
Annual Domestic Violence Awareness Month Breakfast

Stronger than Espresso joined Councilwoman Jennifer S. Gates District 13, the Dallas Domestic Violence Task Force, other community partners and individuals for the Annual Domestic Violence Awareness Month Breakfast! 

The Dallas based Domestic Violence Task Force is dedicated to ending Domestic Violence in our community. Thank you for your hard work and your contribution to the annual summary report. 

Thank you to Dr. Denise Boots and Dr. Tim Bray and their research team at the Institute for Urban Policy Research at University of Texas at Dallas for their incredible hard work on the Annual Summary Report. To see a copy of the Annual Summary Report click here. To see the info graphic click here

A Message from Brooke

A Message from Brooke

As we see the leaves begin to change color, it reminds me that there is a season for everything. Seasons have a beginning, middle and an end. Today, past the middle of September, my temperature gauge tells me it is almost 100 degrees in Texas; I certainly don’t feel like the summer season is coming to an end. Even though I don’t know when this summer heat will end, the leaves silently speak to the undeniable change coming soon.

A Story of YOUR Impact

I got involved with Stronger through my mother-in-law’s encouragement, as my husband and I had separated due to difficulties in our marriage.  My mother-in-law had gotten one of Brooke’s cards at a speaking engagement, and she gave me her card and told me she thought it might help.  I wasn’t sure if I wanted to attend a Stronger class, as I felt that this was NOT me, and certainly NOT MY STORY.  I was in denial.

Through Brooke’s encouragement and God’s timing, I knew that this class was the Right thing for me.  I started Stronger in one of Brooke’s FIRST classes.  The women in the class were all different ages and backgrounds.  Even though I started out thinking this was not for ME, it ended up being the very thing I needed. 

I learned for the first time, to have a VOICE and I was vocal about all of my issues.  Until now, I was shy and tenderhearted, not wanting to have any repercussions from voicing my feelings and opinions.  I did not like confrontation.  But through Stronger and Brooke, I was able to express my self worth and it gave me a voice, for the first time.  I have been able to pass this on to my now 8-year-old child, so that He can also express his feelings.  

Praise God, my husband and I are together today.  The class helped me to speak up and build confidence instead of trying to cover it up.  Stronger SAVED our Marriage.  About this time, I started to Let Go and Let God do his work on ME.  He has given me Patience and I continue to Trust him day by day.

Where will I go next?  My husband and I are homeschooling our child.  My life’s lesson: Do NOT waiver from the promises of God!  I have held on to this truth, even today.

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We Asked and YOU Answered!

We recently sent out a survey to find out what you think about Stronger than Espresso and here is how you answered.

Support groups, prevention, and community awareness ranked as the top three areas of our work you are most interested in.

91% of those surveyed said they would recommend Stronger than Espresso to a friend or colleague.

People who completed the survey included pastors, faith leaders, educators, advocates, health professionals, friends, parents, and survivors.

Over 90% of you said the newsletter content we provide is either high or very high quality.

All of this feedback is important to us as we work to serve you and our Stronger clients better, so thank you for responding and please don’t hesitate to contact us with any additional feedback. Thank you!

Art Transforming Trauma

In August, Dr. Brooke Jones our Founder & CEO traveled to California for a two day training with A Window Between Worlds an agency that focuses on Art Transforming Trauma.   Stronger had been working with AWBW over the previous year, but this intensive training has given us the certification, not only to incorporate myraids of art projects big and small into our everyday programs, but now we are certified to teach and lead others into the world of using art to transform trauma.

Stronger than Espresso is partnering with AWBW’s arts programs to provide an effective tool for helping domestic violence survivors move towards violence-free lives.

On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. On a typical day, there are more than 20,000 phone calls placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide.

Workshop participants have repeatedly shared the difference creating art has had in their lives. One woman wrote, “Thank you for giving us the chance to have a safe place to express ourselves. I am no longer alone in the shadows.” Another participant said, “I truly connected with the art material. It reminded me of who I am and who I used to be before the abuse. In this moment, without a doubt, I know I am strong and a survivor.

Agencies we partner with often find AWBW’s arts programs to be among their most effective tools for helping domestic violence survivors move towards violence-free lives. As one shelter director told us, “AWBW supports the internal healing process more than any other resource. Because art is a non-verbal means of expression it bypasses cognitive barriers and enables women and children to make emotional breakthroughs that wouldn’t be possible without the AWBW art curriculum.”
 S
ource: AWBW & National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Imagine offering an opportunity for your staff and team to find healing from their own exhaustion, stress and challenges of their day? 

Ideas:

  • Employee lunch and learn
  • Staff retreats
  • Leadership workshops
  • Educational: classrooms, teens, college students, teachers, faculty
  • Existing small groups: staff, recovery, group sessions, teams, clubs, etc
  • Client support

Stronger trained staff is available to conduct art healing workshops for your staff, team or client base to provide transformation.   

To request a workshop, contact us.

Freedom Forum

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On September 11, 2017, Stronger collaborated with 28 other social service agencies in Collin and Dallas Counties to be a part of the Freedom Forum.  The Forum was designed to help teach the facts about poverty and homelessness in our community, hear about the barriers to economic stability - especially for women - in Texas, and understand the devastating, life-time impact of poverty and homelessness on our community children

Hosted by Agape Resource and Assistance Center, they coordinated an amazing panel of key speakers to discuss the statistics impacting Collin and Dallas counties.    Larry James (CEO, CitySquare Dallas), Roslyn Dawson Thompson (President & CEO, Dallas Women’s Foundation) and Dr. Timothy Bray (Director, The Institute For Urban Policy Research at University of Texas at Dallas) joined to share their knowledge and experience and to suggest viable solutions. 

Stronger than Espresso has been working as a partner with Agape Resource Center for over four years as they have administered the Stronger curriculum and small group programs to their clients.

When women flee domestic abuse, they are often forced to leave their homes, with nowhere else to turn.

Domestic violence is a main cause of homelessness for women and families, either when women are forced to flee a relationship or when they are evicted from their homes because of the abuse perpetrated against them. This is even truer for poor women due to a lack of safe and affordable housing options and housing assistance, as well as discrimination against survivors. 

The impact that poverty has on children creates a pattern of ‘toxic stress.’  This can have long lasting effects on the brain and its ability to sooth, comfort, and calm itself, which can block children’s ability to learn at the same rate as their peers who are not struggling with poverty and the fear of homelessness.