Orange County Archives - Human Options

Human Options Receives 4-Star Charity Navigator Rating

Human Options, an Orange County-based nonprofit dedicated to ending the cycle of relationship violence, is pleased to announce it received the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator. Approximately only a quarter of rated charities received this top distinction demonstrating the nonprofit’s strong financial health and commitment to accountability and transparency. “It is such an honor to receive Charity Navigator’s four-star recognition for Human Options’ strong financial health, and our commitment to accountability and transparency,” said Maricela Rios-Faust, CEO of Human Options. “Our Board of Directors and employees are dedicated to creating an organizational culture that is efficient as possible to accomplish our mission to end…

The Need For Safety: Susan’s Story

Will you answer their call for safety? Prior to leaving her abusive marriage and relocating, Susan’s husband installed a malicious application onto her phone which automatically installed onto all her Apple devices. Since she was using the same iCloud account for her cell phone, iPads, and MacBook, Susan’s husband was able to see what she and her kids were doing on their iPads, turn on the location feature to find out where they were living, and even eavesdrop on her cell phone conversations. Susan began to notice that her phone battery was draining fast, and that her husband knew things that only someone who had access to her devices would…

The Need For Safety: Eve’s Story

Will you answer their call for safety? Eve and her two children fled from her abuser to a temporary safe location. She had a physical disability that required her to use a walker at all times and was unable to drive. Due to the financial abuse Eve suffered, she did not have the money to purchase a new cell phone and plan of her own. A phone was vital for her to contact safe friends and family members for support, to remain in communication with social services regarding her abuser’s fraudulent use of her disability funds, and to access any private information stored on her phone relevant to her restraining…

The Need For Safety: Julie’s Story

Will you answer their call for safety? Julie’s husband was a violent man with stalking tendencies. After Julie and her children entered our shelter, we determined it would only be safe for her to use her personal cell phone at least 10 miles from the shelter and only for a limited amount of time in one sitting. Julie had been working tirelessly to secure placement for her family in a transitional living program. She decided to take her children to a park 15 miles away from the shelter as a safety precaution in order to use her phone to check for messages. Ten minutes after she turned on her phone,…

The Need For Safety: Maria’s Story

Will you answer their call for safety? Maria and her daughter were safety transferred into our emergency shelter after Maria’s abuser showed up at their previous shelter. After staff denied him entry and called the police, Maria’s abuser broke her car windows and stole confidential paperwork regarding custody of their daughter. He also stole Maria’s medication that she was prescribed for an injury sustained as a result of the abuse. When Maria logged into her email account from a secure shelter computer to access some important evidence for the domestic violence case against her partner, a notice appeared stating that she was already logged on. Not thinking much of it,…

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Volunteer Spotlight: Cornerstone Church

Leaving an abusive relationship can be difficult, especially when you are concerned about housing. At Human Options, our Second Step transitional housing program offers survivors of relationship violence a safe place where they can regain their independence as they continue on their journey of healing. “We’re called to take care of each other,” says April Hufford, Cornerstone Ministry Leader. “We do our best to prepare a comfortable home for each family. For the past three years, Cornerstone Christian Fellowship has designed apartment spaces prior to a family moving into Second Step by blending new with the old by repurposing donated furniture, artwork, and home essentials.  “They deserve good things–to feel…

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Volunteer Spotlight: Interns

Human Options is proud to offer valuable clinical counseling and program internship experiences to bachelor and graduate level students. Our interns play an integral role in Human Options’ mission to end the cycle of relationship violence. Master in Social Work (MSW) interns provide an array of community and residential services including support groups, individual counseling, psychoeducation groups, family counseling, children’s counseling, senior adult counseling, outreach, and prevention.  “Through their work, our MSW interns bring healing and safety to those seeking services, and their hard work helps Human Options expand our services so we are able to have a greater impact,” says Rose Robles, Therapeutic Program Supervisor.  In our children’s program,…

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Volunteer Spotlight: Youth Action Council

One way Human Options engages and educates our youth on the importance of healthy relationships and teen dating violence is through our Youth Action Council (YAC). The YAC are composed of two youth groups, each representing a family resource center where Human Options is the lead agency; at the Minnie Street Family Resource Center and the Costa Mesa Family Resource Center. Both our Minnie Street and Costa Mesa Family Resource Center YAC are high school level students who are interested in learning leadership and community engagement skills. The groups are successfully coordinated in collaboration with our funded partner Melissa Garcia, Volunteer Coordinator from The Raise Foundation. Since the YAC’s inception…

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Volunteer Spotlight: Pro-Bono Attorney Melinda Gomez

One key component in ending the cycle of relationship violence is ensuring access to legal services for survivors. Human Options offers eight monthly clinics through our legal advocacy program thanks to our volunteer pro-bono attorneys. One such attorney is Melinda Gomez of Gomez Family Law. “I began volunteering at Human Options while in law school, and after I began my practice, was honored to start the first non-residential monthly family law clinic for the agency almost 7 years ago,” says Melinda. “Every month, I get the chance to assist survivors of domestic violence with understanding their legal rights, and how to advocate for themselves in court. Human Options provides immeasurable…

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Volunteer Spotlight: Pro-Bono Attorney Christina Helwig

Access to legal support is critical to survivors of relationship violence. Through our Human Options legal advocacy program, clients are able to receive pro bono legal advice through our monthly clinics. One of our pro-bono attorneys is Christina Helwig of Helwig Law, who has been donating her time to Human Options clients for over 7 years. “I volunteer with Human Options because I believe in the work they do and I have seen firsthand the difference that a stable living environment has on my clients,” says Christina. “I love seeing my clients grow and change through the legal process. Human Options makes my job easier with their great support programs.”…