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Reflecting on 2023

By: CEO Maricela Rios-Faust  

As we look back on the past year, we remain grateful to each of you, our community of caring individuals and partners, for your steadfast commitment to igniting social change in service of victims and survivors of relationship violence.  

Because of you, we have been able to keep healing at the heart of what we do. The path for every survivor is different and your support ensures that we stay responsive to the needs of each survivor and their families as they begin the journey of healing.  

Over the years we have grounded ourselves in a commitment to learn from survivors. While we believe that we have done that well, we are still scratching the surface on understanding the multiple barriers they face to leading a life free from violence.


Our work would not be possible without individuals who share their voice and talents to enable victims and their children to overcome trauma and begin to lead safe and healthy lives. During our Serious Fun Gala, “The Spirit of Aloha, An Island Style Celebration”, held at the Balboa Bay Resort on May 20th, we celebrated DOVE honoree, Diane W. Biagianti. Guests were able to enjoy an “aloha inspired” evening with live entertainment and a Hawaiian-based menu, raising over $500,000 to benefit Human Options’ life-saving programs. 

This past year, Human Options was grateful to be able to partner with the City of Costa Mesa and the Costa Mesa Police Department during Domestic Violence Awareness Month to host a #ShinetheLight event, a walking vigil for the community to learn about the impact domestic violence has in our county. We also appreciated the opportunity to partner with the City of Irvine and the Irvine Police Department to bring the walking vigil to the city of Irvine. You can learn more about the #ShinetheLight walking vigil here. 

We remain committed educating our community about relationship violence. At our Fall Luncheon, attendees heard from a client of Human Options and William Kellibrew IV, an international victim advocate and keynote speaker. Both survivors shared their personal stories, reminding everyone that the effort to support victims of domestic violence and raise awareness for prevention is an ongoing endeavor. Held on October 6th at Lido House, Autograph Collection, the event raised nearly $245,000 to help sustain Human Options’ programs in Orange County. 

We are grateful to have received two impactful grants this year, one being a transformative investment in innovation that is paving the way for us to dig deeper, allowing us to center the voices of survivors, and partner with them to inform new tools and approaches that will address the barriers that keep them from living free from fear. This innovative grant is setting the stage for continuous learning alongside survivors to drive better outcomes. We also partnered with The California Partnership to End Domestic Violence (The Partnership) to execute a context-specific community awareness and education campaign to better inform communities in Orange County on the intersection of gun violence and Domestic Violence. Through this grant we have had the opportunity to deliver messaging surrounding this intersection and how to access restraining orders (live gun violence restraining orders) that increase survivors safety to over 19,000 Orange County residents, educating all on the importance of safety for healing. 

Thank you for your unwavering support and commitment to ensuring survivors have a safe place to heal from abuse. We remain steadfast in our commitment to advancing our vision where every person and family in Orange County can experience healthy relationships and live free from fear. 

Hoping you all have a safe holiday season and a very Happy New Year! 

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Volunteer Spotlight: April Hufford

1. What inspired you to volunteer with Human Options? My mother is my greatest inspiration. As a young woman she was married to a violent man, but found the courage

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