It’s hard to imagine a scenario where your home is a dangerous place to live, but in 2013 alone, the Metro Nashville Police Department received 26,236 reports of domestic violence. (That’s one report every twenty minutes.) The women who are victims of domestic violence wake up every morning in fear — terrifying, gut-wrenching fear — that that they will be mentally and physically hurt and that their children will be, too. Domestic abuse is complicated: the abused are dependent upon their abusers for their basic needs, like food, shelter and clothing, and many victims believe they have no options but to stay in the abusive home.
For the women who have the courage to leave their abusers, in most cases they walk out with nothing more than their kids and a purse, leave behind beloved possessions in search of safety. Enter the Weaver Domestic Center at YWCA. The Weaver Domestic Center provides emergency shelter and transitional housing to women who have chosen to leave and start over. Last year in Nashville, more than 350 women and children spent over 16,000 bed-nights at the center.
So you’ll understand why Re-New at the YWCA, a program that offers families a chance to begin a new life, is so important to our community.
Re-New at the YWCA was launched in 2010 to help women who are moving from safety to self-sufficiency create a real home for themselves and their families. Re-New furnishes the apartments of some of the women and children who have completed the Weaver Domestic Violence Center’s program and are accepted into the Transitional Housing Program.
Two women, Cheryl Hays and Julie Davis, are working tirelessly to help as many women and children moving out of the Weaver Center as possible.
Julie and Cheryl are the driving force behind the countless volunteers who help provide women a place to live that they never imagined possible when they left home and entered a domestic violence shelter. Through lots of hard work and donations from individuals and businesses like Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams and The Britt Hunt Company, they retrofit homes with gently used furniture, bedding, kitchenware and more.
It’s a perfect mission for this dynamic duo: Julie is a top notch interior designer and Cheryl is a well connected, well-organized community leader and registered nurse.
When asked how the mission of Re-New came about, here are Julie’s thoughts: “Re-New’s founding came from the idea of reusing furniture to renew hope. It was founded to help women and children locally right here in the Nashville area. The YWCA had the women and children, but they did not have the furniture they needed. Being a designer, I had access to furniture, so it was a perfect match. As we have grown, donations now come from all over, and we seem to always get what we need! Our main goal at Re-New is to give hope to these women and children who have gone through so much. Many of the women cry and say they feel the love and the care we pour into their new home. One comment was, ‘I can not believe strangers would do so much for me.'”
When asked why the organization is so strong, Cheryl remarks, “It is very important to us that you recognize the work of our volunteers and the contributions of our donors. We refer to our volunteers as ‘angels’ because of their dedication and devotion to Re-New. We are humbled and honored to work with an amazing group of women and men. We leave a note for each family explaining that over 20 volunteers and generous individuals have come together to provide a safe and inviting home. We want the women to feel our gift of unconditional love. We hope to break the cycle of violence one home at a time.”
When families walk in the door and see their new home for the first time, they see fresh flowers and groceries, a furnished apartment with pictures hung on the wall, dishes, pots and pans, bathrooms and bedrooms completely finished out for them, and toys and books for the kids.
Thanks to the countless hours of so many volunteers and the kind gifts from donors, Re-New at the YWCA has welcomed 81 women with 115 children to their new homes and a new chance at a better life. If you want to help, click here to find information on how to donate.