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Hairdresser Portrait

In their own words ...

Every day, Serene Harbor works tirelessly to give survivors of domestic violence, their children, and their pets resources and programs that will aid them in their road to a life free of abuse. We share their journey with them and are pleased to learn that they are prospering and ready to embrace life as the ones in control of what happens. 

If you or someone you know needs help, please call or text our 24/7 hotline where a trained and certified advocate can assist: 321.726.8282

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Surviving and Thriving after Domestic Violence

Meredith's story highlights what survivors of domestic violence encounter while enduring life with an abuser. 

Watch her story 'In her own words" on how "Leaving a domestic violence situation is incredibly difficult, with lots of considerations. An organization like Serene Harbor is a group of professionals to navigate all the uncertainty and areas to address. I never thought “someone like me” would land in a domestic violence situation. After all, no one gets married to get abused or get divorced! I’ve learned it impacts so many, and it’s not your fault. While the survivor can’t fix the situation, Serene Harbor makes the process of leaving easier to navigate. Life can be beautiful afterward!" - Meredith

Meredith's story is a testament that a life free of abuse is possible for all survivors of domestic violence. 

The power of a strong community partnership

The Community Foundation For Brevard grant has changed the lives of many survivors participating in our Serene Harbor Empowerment (S.H.E.) Mentoring Program. This grant has provided every survivor seeking our center’s services in hopes of finding a new sustainable life, free from an abusive partner, the opportunity to develop skills and advance in a career they could only dream of. Many program participants have successfully gained various computer skills for career development with continued education by entering college and/or other certificate programs.

One survivor, in particular, was very successful in a career and life venture of development and growth. After several years of abuse, being beaten down internally and externally, facing death on many occasions, and being told 24 hours a day 7 days a week, that she would never amount to anything, this mother of multiple children had the courage to leave one final time. Not only did she have the courage to leave, but she had the courage to say, “This isn’t me; I’m stronger than this, and I CAN make it without him.” This survivor came to the shelter, and after hearing about all our S.H.E. Mentoring Program has to offer, she took the plunge and decided to join our empowerment program. Although she was unsure of the career, she knew that she was ready to have a career that she and her kids could be proud of. This program participant connected with our staff and mentors for guidance and support, then enrolled in computer courses to develop skills before entering the workforce. She was noticeably shocked when presented with a laptop she could keep for her educational journey, career development, and growth. This participant took advantage of several courses to learn the Microsoft Suite of Programs and QuickBooks. Soon after, confidence, joy, and freedom began to radiate from this program participant. She had gained the confidence that had been a distant stranger to her for a very long time. She continued to work through her courses which developed her computer skills and advanced pre-existing skills that had seemed non-existent before her studies. This participant was doing so well in her lessons that she decided to take a step to seek employment. We assisted with her resume building, interview skill, and interview attire. Equipped with her confidence and abilities, she stepped into an interview and came out with a job offer. She was so overjoyed that she beamed excitedly on her road to independence, self-sufficiency, and sustainability.

After being with the company for a brief period, this participant was recognized as a great asset to the team and was considered for advancement opportunities. With her new job and income, the participant was able to move towards seeking a place to call home for her and her children. This participant was able to transition from shelter into a home that she could afford on her own with a career that she was proud of; her children could see their mom’s hard work and dedication and couldn’t be prouder of their mom. This participant continues to work through her courses as she prepares for advancement in her career, thanks to self-determination, Serene Harbor, and the Community Foundation For Brevard.

Young Businesswomen

Contact Serene Harbor

If you or someone you know needs help, please call or text our 24/7 hotline where a trained and certified advocate can assist: 321.726.8282

CALL/TEXT/TTY 321.726.8282 24/7 

Brave and determined to stop the abuse

A mother and her five children suffered in silence within the walls of their home at the hands of the mother’s husband and his family. Although the mother’s husband had not physically hurt the children, they were privy to the aftermath of him hurting their mother. The mother was not allowed to work nor have any money at all, she could only cook what he brought into the home, and the time she spent with her children was limited weekly. In addition to these abusive tactics, the mother was beaten, sexually assaulted, sexually humiliated, and raped by her abusive husband. As the abuse increased, it eventually escalated to this one day that the abuser decided to encourage his family to physically beat the mother in front of her children. As the mother tried to protect herself and her children, she knew she needed to leave immediately, so she made a brave and terrifying decision to call the police for help.

When law enforcement arrived, they could see how distraught, battered, and bruised the mother was and how frightened the children were. They provided her with information to Serene Harbor's crisis hotline, where she was able to connect with our certified and trained advocate. Our advocate was able to immediately safety plan with the mother to escape. This included utilizing the police to assist with leaving and gathering her things. The mother was not permitted to return to the house to get her belongings, so our advocate arranged for the family's transport to our shelter. As the family was being transported, all staff prepared for the family’s arrival. The mother and children were all crying tears of relief and joy over the phone and when they arrived, expressing their appreciation for being able to leave that toxic and dangerous house. We provided a room for the family, personal care items, and support in helping the mother know that she mattered, that she could freely make her children’s food, and that she deserved to eat as well. We worked with the mother and children through the trauma that they had endured. Serene Harbor assisted with coordinating a police escort to the house to retrieve the family’s belongings, including the kid’s medicine that they were not initially permitted to recover. Our advocates assisted the family with registering the children for school and transportation until the school bus services began. Our Injunction for Protection (IFP) Attorney assisted the mother with obtaining an injunction against the husband and his family. We work with the mother and the children on building their self-esteem, helping the mother build a resume, trusting each other, feeling free to eat, shower, dress, and go outside without fear of reprisal.

The family spent time on our shelter playground and rode our on-site bikes. Our center advocates assisted the mother with applying to the Attorney General’s Office for Relocation funds and the Address Confidentiality Program. We also provided legal advocacy for the criminal court proceedings against the abuser and his family. We also supported the mother in reconnecting with her out-of-state healthy family members. We took it a step further, and when the mother was ready, Serene Harbor purchased the plane tickets for the family to relocate far away from the abuser yet close enough to their support system. We provided luggage, personal items, and transportation to the airport.

The mother has provided us with updates explaining that she couldn’t have done this without Serene Harbor, and if we hadn’t been able to bring her family into the shelter, she knows for a fact that he would’ve killed her, and if her kids were left alive, they would’ve been placed into foster care. The family is currently thriving, they were able to move into a place of their own, the children have made healthy friendships and have turned their grades around to doing well in school, and they also have a pet now (our comfort dog, Lilly, was their inspiration to get a pet of their own). The mother is in the final stages of divorcing her abusive husband; her safety with us has been able to keep her safe and keep him from knowing where they are. The mother obtained a full-time job where she and her children currently reside and is looking forward to a management role within the company. This survivor will continue to thrive and maintain a self-sufficient life free of abuse for her and her children and her children were able to learn from our staff how to respect themselves and others.

Family Using a Tablet

Contact Serene Harbor

If you or someone you know needs help, please call or text our 24/7 hotline where a trained and certified advocate can assist: 321.726.8282


CALL/TEXT/TTY 321.726.8282


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