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Chicanos por la Causa domestic violence shelter honors moms with Mother's Day event

Mother’s Day can be a difficult holiday for some. The majority of women who come through the doors at one domestic violence shelter in the Valley are mothers.

Shelter staff and several local businesses celebrated them Thursday with everything from manicures to a taquisa, or Mexican-style buffet.

There’s a sense of peace in the air as women sip coffee and tea, while they laugh and paint sunflowers together. Some of their children grab a brush and join in, or just sit in their mother’s laps.

While the paint dries, Mariachi Pasion, an all-female band, serenades the crowd as lunch is served.

“When you find joy in life, you want to keep living,” said Cindy Garcia, who manages the domestic violence program at Chicanos por la Causa’s De Colores shelter.

“They're never gonna forget this experience and so it is a huge responsibility for us to make that time as pleasant as possible,” she said. “And finding little different ways of healing, right? Because the healing starts from the second they come in here.”

According to Garcia, De Colores is the only shelter of its kind in the state with an all Spanish-speaking team. She said it’s also the only one that accepts everyone who arrives — including family members like grandparents, children older than 13 and pets.

Abi is a previous client. For her safety, we are not using her real name.

“Pues es importante por el hecho de vivir cada día en una situación así, no vives. Tienes que buscar ayuda," she said in Spanish.

English translation: “What’s important to understand is that, for the fact that you’re living every day in a situation like that, you’re not living,” she said, addressing anyone who may be experiencing abuse. “You have to find help.”

Abi urged other parents to seek out professional help first and foremost, but also social and community support systems like mothers’ groups.

“Porque muchas veces no sabemos que no estamos bien hasta que vemos a alguien que no está bien," she said.

English translation: “Because we often don’t know that we aren’t doing well until we see someone who is not.”

Abi said staying at De Colores, where she and her child received life-changing assistance, was like finding somewhere safe to pass a storm.

“Que estar yo de cero, aprender todo a salir de aquí con terapia, con ayudas, poder rentar mi lugar. Fue bonito volver y ver todo. Es como vivir todo otra vez," she said.

English translation: “For me to go from zero, to learn and all to leave here with therapy, with help to be able to rent my place. It was lovely to come and see everything. It’s like living everything over again.”

Coming back, she said, was a joyful experience.

“Sí, porque de que viviste lo difícil lo pasado de que saliste adelante de que agarraste herramientas ¿Y ya estás del otro lado? Ver a las chicas que están empezando y ahora tuyas estar del lado diferente es bonito," she said.

English translation: “Yes, because you lived through a difficult past and moved forward using skills that you’ve gathered. And once you’re on the other side? To see these women that are starting and now are on their own ‘other side’ is wonderful.”

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Kirsten Dorman is a field correspondent at KJZZ. Born and raised in New Jersey, Dorman fell in love with audio storytelling as a freshman at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in 2019.