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Shining a Light on Gratitude  

By: CEO Maricela Rios-Faust 

During this time of year, we take the time to reflect on what we’re thankful for as an organization. We know firsthand that any journey to healing begins when you are surrounded by the right partners. These individuals and organizations make the work we do to help victims and survivors of relationship violence possible. We extend our sincere appreciation to each and every one of you who share your talent and time to Human Options. 

We’re shining a light on the top five things we’re thankful for this year:  

Pro-Bono Partners 

With our valuable pro-bono partners, we’re able to help clients directly impacted by relationship violence. These individuals and organizations play a pivotal role in ensuring our services are available to those who need them most. Our Legal Advocacy program greatly benefits from the pro-bono services provided by our volunteer attorneys. Pro-bono volunteers provide legal representation to survivors to support survivors in obtaining restraining orders and during family law proceedings ensuring that survivors are not revictimized by the court process.  

Donors and Supporters 

Every donor and supporter of our mission further educates our Orange County neighbors to recognize relationship violence as an issue that could threaten anyone. Support allows for survivor advocacy, extends a safe place for victims, and empowers those affected by abuse on their journey of healing. Your generosity at any level, whether it’s $100 for a night’s stay in our shelter or $1,000 to ensure nutritious meals for our emergency shelter, is a beacon of hope for survivors, offering them a path toward a brighter future. 

This past year we are especially thankful for our donor and supporter Kelly Roberts, a survivor of domestic violence who now gives back to Human Options with her husband, Todd. One big way Kelly gives back to the organization is by hosting a “Christmas for a Cause” block party every year. At her party last year, enough money was raised to completely renovate one family unit at our emergency shelter – complete with furnishings. This year’s goal is to raise enough money to renovate two units this year with a goal of $60,000, as well as collect 600 Christmas presents for adults and children at the Orange Rescue Mission in Irvine. Your help really makes a difference!  

If you’d like to attend this year’s event, it will be held at East Balboa Boulevard and Miramar Drive on December 7 – if you’d like to learn more, please visit humanoptions.org/christmasforacause.    

Dedicated Volunteers 

We often say our volunteers are the heart and soul of our organization because of their hard work and commitment to our mission. A survivor herself, Becky has experienced firsthand the impact of an abusive relationship. After bravely leaving her fiancé nearly a decade ago, she now serves as an emergency shelter volunteer supporting survivors through our Hotline. Becky’s warm, welcoming embrace may be the first haven someone trying to escape a violent relationship will have. She is proud to help men, women, and children during what can often be the most vulnerable moment of their lives. Her experience being an elementary school teacher has incorporated a level of patience and kindness that our clients truly cherish. 

Board Members 

Each of our board members play a crucial part in ensuring Human Options is doing the work that aligns with our mission and vision. Their commitment and expertise greatly enhance our capacity to effectively assist survivors. 

This year, we’d like to extend a special thanks to Dr. Liza Eshilian-Oates, MD, who practices family medicine at Kaiser Permanente. She is an expert in Adverse Childhood Events (ACEs), which can have a long-term negative impact on a person’s mental and physical health well into their adult life if left unaddressed. Whether it be enduring physical or verbal abuse, witnessing relationship violence, divorce, or growing up in a home with mental health issues, these sorts of ACEs can have long-term repercussions including negative health effects, substance use disorder and more. You can learn more about the impacts of childhood traumas and how to intervene early from Dr. Oates on our blog here

Committed Staff 

Behind the curtains of our organization are our remarkable staff. Their commitment goes beyond the call of duty, as they support survivors of relationship violence every single day. More than just professionals, they are passionate advocates dedicated to providing victims and survivors with the essential resources and unwavering support needed for stability. They work diligently behind the scenes, demonstrating a genuine commitment that transforms our organization into a haven for those in need. Our staff stands as a testament to the resilience and compassion that propels our organization’s work forward. 

These five partnerships make up the foundation of our organization. It’s an honor to work alongside them, committed to a future in which every person and family in Orange County experiences safe, healthy relationships and lives free of fear. The significance of a cohesive community, consistently providing support and resources for victims of relationship violence, cannot be emphasized enough. In 2023, we extend our sincere appreciation to every one of you. 

As we approach 2024, at Human Options, we’re ready to continue making a positive impact, recognizing that everything we do is only achievable through your support. If you would like to make a donation, please visit: https://humanoptions.org/donate.  

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