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Olivia's Story, a.k.a. How The Donors (Like You!) Saved Christmas

December 2018

Olivia realized that she “didn’t know what normal was.”

She was so used to a relationship full of abuse that she did not know what a healthy relationship looked like anymore. It was at that moment Olivia realized she needed to find a better life for her and her two young children. She left her abusive relationship and came to Crisis Center North to seek counseling services for herself and her children.

“Eventually I just asked my counselor, ‘tell me if this is normal,’ and I told her of my experiences. She told me what happened to me was not a normal part of a relationship, and I realized that I was just so used to it that I didn’t realize what it was doing to me. It is like the story of boiling a frog. If a frog is thrown into boiling water it will jump out, but if the temperature of the water slowly rises to a boiling point with the frog inside, then the frog won’t realize that it is dying,” said Olivia.

Though Olivia was making headway towards emotional healing in her counseling sessions, she never brought up another concern she was having: Economic hardship. After leaving her husband, Olivia was struggling to make ends meet, especially as Christmas was approaching. For weeks she had been trying to get what she could for her children by stopping at discount stories and their clearance sections, but she knew she would be unable to give her children the Christmas that she wanted them to have.

Olivia was invited to a “Moms only” Christmas party at the Center, and after some debate, she decided to go.

“When I arrived, I was in shock. The Center’s staff had bags and bags of toys for my children. They had everything that had been on my son and daughter’s list to Santa that I couldn’t get. Throughout my sessions leading up to Christmas, the staff had been asking strategic questions of me and my children to find out what we needed without us catching on, and then there it was.”

“I was humbled and overwhelmed, and even after all these years later, I am brought to tears when I think about the Center recognizing I had a need that I wasn’t willing to talk about and deciding to make a difference,” said Olivia. Those items, she learned, were made possible by support from CCN’s donors.

Though the gifts for her children meant a lot, the most meaningful part of the gesture went well beyond the material items, said Olivia. What meant so much was that people cared so much to give her and her children something special.

This story happened when Olivia’s children were pre-school age. Today they are teenagers. Olivia has never forgotten the role CCN played in her recovery from abuse, and today she is happily re-married and has the positive, loving relationship she deserves.

“Crisis Center North left a mark on my life, not a scar,” said Olivia.

Everyday at Crisis Center North victims find their way to safety, justice, and restoration because of people like YOU. Your support makes all the difference in the lives of victims. Because of people like you, Olivia’s children not only had the holiday they deserved, but today they have the safe, healthy family life they, and all people, deserve too.

Please donate today: If you give before Jan. 1, 2019, your donation will be matched 10%.