A Heart to Help

Hubbard House Volunteers Built and Sustain This House of Hope

When you consider the impact volunteers have on an organization, it’s common to say an organization wouldn’t be here without the support of volunteers. For Hubbard House, that couldn’t be truer.

Hubbard House was founded by a passionate group of volunteers, who knew there was a need to support survivors of domestic violence in the Jacksonville area. A couple of those volunteers were riding bikes down Hubbard Street in the Springfield area, saw a house up for sale and the rest is history.

But it didn’t end there.

Since our founding in 1976, volunteers have been a backbone of Hubbard House. Some bring together friends or colleagues to volunteer as a group, others step up with their own time. To this day, hundreds of people donate thousands of hours of their time each year. Every single one of those hours matters with the many different facets of life-saving, life-changing work Hubbard House does.

In Shelter, that means stocking pantries, connecting participants to advocates, supporting children’s programming, and staffing the 24/7 Hotline and Textline. Through our outreach services, that means advocating for survivors and their children in countless ways, in Duval and Baker counties. At our Thrift Store, that means processing the wonderful community donations we receive to support the needs of survivors.

But it doesn’t end there.

When we need mulch put down? Hubbard House volunteers answer our call. When we need someone to host a party for kids in shelter? Hubbard House volunteers answer our call. When we need help running major events – from holidays programming to our annual Stand Up & Stride Domestic Violence Awareness Walk – Hubbard House volunteers answer our call.

And they don’t only answer the call, they make it. Do we need help with a special project? Are there some events coming up they can support? Do we have any donation-related needs they can rally people behind? Our volunteers are constantly looking to not just sustain, but grow, their support.

Even during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when Hubbard House continued to support survivors, but volunteers couldn’t come on-site, they didn’t just stay to the side. They engaged with us from their homes and offices – organizing donation drives, creating activity kits for kids, supporting administrative needs and so much more.

 And we know, it won’t end there.

Our volunteers are driven by their deep passion to not only support survivors of domestic violence but raise awareness in our community. They attend community events and connect us to opportunities to present about how to support survivors and the free, confidential support Hubbard House provides. They understand how important it is to create social change, so we can see a future where the vision of Hubbard House is fulfilled: every relationship violence-free.

It would be hard to find a more passionate group of people, than those who support and volunteer with Hubbard House.

So during this National Volunteer Week, our message to our volunteers: whether you have contributed a few hours or been with us for years, thank you doesn’t do justice to the appreciation we have for you. We truly couldn’t do this without you.

Survivors of domestic violence are not alone – and will never be alone – because Hubbard House and our amazing volunteers will always be here.

If you are interested in volunteering for Hubbard House, please email volunteer@hubbardhouse.org to learn more!

Men Against Violence Against Women Forms a Team, Invites Men to Take a Stand for Survivors

Men Against Violence Against Women (MAVAW) has formed a Walk team that welcomes all men who want to participate in a collaborative effort to end domestic violence against women. 

Brandon Sherlinski at last year’s Stand Up & Stride.

“It can be beyond frustrating for a man to stare the scope of domestic violence in the face and feel powerless to do anything about it,” said Brandon Sherlinski, a partner at Smith, Gambrell and Russell and Hubbard House board member.

“MAVAW and the Walk team gives a man a way to effect real change, a way to act on behalf of all women, especially the ones he loves—we know we are not going to change the world overnight, but it’s time to start taking steps in the right direction.”

Prior to the Walk, the MAVAW team will work together to reach a shared fundraising goal. At the Walk, the team will participate together to show support for survivors. Beyond the walk, for men who want to get more involved with MAVAW, the options are many, including MAVAW leadership and service opportunities.

Sherlinski says, “If you are a man who is interested in making the world a safer place for women, your wife, your sister, your daughter, take this first step today. Let’s stride together toward a better world.” 


Are you a good guy looking to join a team of world-changing men who are just like you or want to donate to support the effort? Take a look at the team page, then register and/or donate!

Got a question? Want more information about MAVAW? Drop a line to development@hubbardhouse.org, and we’ll help you connect with MAVAW leadership.

From Shelter to Fresh Start in Seven Weeks

TUNE IN! Telecia Allen will be presented with a Positively Jax Award on News4Jax, WJXT Channel 4, Friday, November 19
at 8:45 a.m.

When a survivor walks through the door of shelter, she is bruised and battered, often disheartened, and nearly always afraid, but in seven weeks’ time, with the help of her Hubbard House advocate, everything will be different, transformed. How does this partnership between survivor and advocate work? And, how is it that in an average 52-day shelter stay* the survivor can get what she needs to escape the darkness of domestic violence?

Per longtime Victim Advocate Telecia Allen, it all begins with trust.

“When a survivor walks into my office for the first time, still bruised and healing, I know she’s wondering what I think about her, if I accept her. Once we spend a little time together, she knows that I am not judging her. I care for her. And, I will do everything I can to help her reach her goals. Then, things change,” said Telecia. “The relationship becomes real, and she knows she can count on me.”

Every survivor at Hubbard House is assigned a victim advocate, and victim advocates meet regularly with their assigned survivors. During these meetings, advocates inquire about each survivor’s health and healing, and ensure survivors and children are comfortable in the shelter. They also help the survivor-adults to set goals that move them toward their new beginnings. Advocates also provide encouragement, ideas, resources and referrals to facilitate survivor success.

The type of help advocates offer survivors depends on each survivor’s unique goals. For example, Mary, a survivor with permanent mobility issues – a result of abuse-related injuries – and a nine-year-old daughter, needed to apply for disability and secure affordable, handicap-accessible housing. Telecia, her advocate, helped her apply and connected her to the Jacksonville Housing Authority. Today, Mary receives a disability income and lives in an affordable, ground-floor apartment on the Southside, safe with her child.

At about the halfway point, most survivors are making substantial progress toward their goals; for example, if they’re looking for a job or housing, they’ve worked with Hubbard House’s economic justice advocate to create a resume or review housing programs. However, sometimes survivors struggle to overcome barriers. Advocates, experienced problem solvers, are always there, at the ready, to provide help.

“One of my survivors had been evicted from her home as a direct result of the financial abuse she suffered at the hands of her partner,” explained Telecia. “We were able to work together, obtain a hearing and get that eviction removed from her record, so she was able to rent another place.”

Lack of employment history, childcare and transportation are some of the other barriers that survivors often face and victim advocates frequently address, providing the means by which a survivor becomes empowered again.

Some barriers to independence and safety are internal – mental and emotional – and are often a consequence of relationship-related trauma. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, clinical depression and acute anxiety are among the challenges a survivor may face. Again, the advocate is there to help.

“Trauma-informed counseling and group support are offered to every survivor upon arrival, but the critical need for these services may not be detected immediately,” explained Telecia. “Fortunately, often by the time this type of need appears, the survivor and I have enough of a relationship — trust — and she feels comfortable confiding in me, and I can help her get the help she wants and needs.”

In each phase and as the situation changes, the victim advocate is there to support the survivor. She helps the survivor set goals. She gives referrals to other individuals and organizations with helpful expertise and programs. She helps the survivor find ways around barriers. Ultimately, the reward for both the advocate and the survivor is great.

 “As part of the domestic violence experience most survivors have been verbally abused. They’ve been told they can’t make it on their own. But there is a moment, usually when they secure housing, that they realize those words were not true,” explained Telecia. “They’ll say, look what I did! Look what I did on my own! From then on, it’s like watching a butterfly. They take flight. They fly.”

*While the average shelter stay is 7 weeks, the length of stay varies.


Inspired to consider advocacy as a career option? We’re hiring! Positions posted here: www.HubbardHouse.org/careers

In a rough relationship and need to talk to an advocate to receive support and discover options?

24/7 Domestic Violence Hotline, (904) 354-3114; 24/7 Domestic Violence Textline, (904) 210-3698

To meet with an advocate in person, call (904) 400-6300 to schedule an appointment at our Outreach Center, or drop-in 10-4 p.m., M-Friday, excluding holidays: Hubbard House Outreach Center, 6629 Beach Blvd. Jacksonville, FL 32216.

Communication, shelter and services are provided confidentially and at no cost to the survivor. You do not need to stay at the shelter to qualify for many helpful services.

Domestic Violence and Pets

For survivors of domestic violence, safety for themselves and their children is always top of mind.  But it doesn’t end there. Another family member is often high on the survivor’s list of concerns – the family pet.

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence says 71 percent of pet owners who enter domestic violence shelters report their abuser threatening, harming, or even killing family pets. And about one-third of women experiencing abuse, who don’t have children, will delay seeking shelter, because they’re concerned for their pet’s safety, according to the NCADV.

Survivors of domestic violence already consider so many different factors when deciding if/when it’s safe to leave the relationship; we know this is a challenging time. If circumstances allow it, survivors can include pets in their safety planning process, so the whole family finds their new beginning together. Hubbard House recommends considering the following:

  • Establish a paper trail showing your ownership of the pet, including through a pet license, vet records, etc. in your name.
  • Know a place you can bring your pet on short notice if you need to leave the home. This could include a vet, friend, or resource through your local domestic violence shelter.
  • Maintain a “go bag” for your pet, including food, medicine, vaccine records, a leash and similar items. The bag should be stored in a location that is easy to access, but not somewhere the abuser will see it.
  • Keep the phone number for a 24-hour emergency vet on hand, in case your pet needs immediate medical care.

Hubbard House understands how important pets are to survivors. Through quality community partners, the agency provides safe housing for the pets of survivors during any shelter stay. Pets receive great nutrition and basic veterinary support, and the survivor can visit if they are safe to do so and circumstances allow. The goal is to keep bonds strong until a safe reunion is possible.

Survivor, we’re here for you, to help you safety plan for every member of your family, furry family included. Call us 24/7 to learn more about how we help. You are not alone.

Contact Hubbard House’s 24/7 Hotline at (904) 354-3114 or 24/7 Textline at (904) 210-3698.

Back-to-school season isn’t only for children!

Many adults decide to seek or continue their education later in life. They may want to get a better job or know more about something they’re passionate about. They may just enjoy learning new things!

For survivors of domestic violence, though, the path toward education can be a challenge.

Education and Abuse

An abuser may sabotage their partner’s efforts to gain an education. They see education as a path to independence for the survivor, and they are threatened by that.

To keep control, the abuser may refuse to pay for classes, deny access to transportation to get to school, destroy homework and class materials, monitor use of technology, and much more. If the couple has children, an abuser may withhold support for childcare, so the survivor must juggle caring for the children while trying to attend school and focus on schoolwork.

In addition to these direct tactics, an abuser may also shame a survivor for their lack of education, call them names that insult their intelligence, tell them people won’t believe anything they say because they are not educated, or embarrass them over their efforts to attend school later in life.

Abusive tactics that affect education can have a very lasting impact. Limiting education can lead to challenges in gaining and maintaining a job or achieving a promotion, which can further trap the survivor in the abusive relationship.

Hubbard House support

Not only does Hubbard House provide life-saving, life-changing services for survivors and children, but we work with survivors to overcome the barriers they face because of the abuse they’ve endured. That includes barriers to their education and employment.

Hubbard House advocates support survivors on their path to employment directly through help with resume writing, job interview skills, career counseling, and more. If that journey to economic independence involves education, Hubbard House supports that in ways tailored to the survivor, like helping secure supplies and materials needed for education and providing childcare in shelter. Advocates will also help survivors with budgeting and other steps to support affording an education.

Survivors, you are strong and smart. Hubbard House supports you and your efforts to learn and grow.

Survivors can learn more about these resources by meeting in-person with an advocate at the Hubbard House Outreach Center (6629 Beach Blvd), calling our 24/7 Hotline at (904)354-3114, or reaching out through our 24/7 Textline at (904)210-3698. All resources are free and confidential.

John and Son Find Freedom

This month, a month we celebrate fathers, we also face a tough truth: Though they represent a smaller portion of the survivor population, men can be victimized in domestic violence situations, and the abuse is very real to those experiencing it.

Fortunately, Hubbard House is here to help all survivors with life-saving and life-saving shelter and services. Consider, for example, John and his story.

John was desperate to keep his family together, so even when the abuse became physical, he stayed. He endured the kicks, the slaps and the spitting, and he felt hopeful each time Kim apologized and promised to change. Then, one day, he was delayed in traffic coming home from work. Kim met him in the yard in a rage and chased him with a knife. A neighbor called the police, and an officer helped John and his son leave their home for Hubbard House.

John was ashamed to tell anyone the truth. At first, his wife Kim was inconsiderate, but over time, her words became increasingly cruel and cutting. John tried to be better, to meet Kim’s expectations, but he never could. It only got worse. She was extremely jealous, kept him from friends and family, and controlled all his money. When their son was born, John hoped things would be different, but by their son’s first birthday, all of John’s days were dark.

At Hubbard House, John and his son found the services they needed to find safety and a fresh start, counseling, group support, safety planning, legal help and more. Today, John is free from violence, and his son knows the violence was not his fault.

If you are a man experiencing abuse at the hands of your wife or girlfriend, husband or partner, we’re here for you. You are not alone.

Connect with an advocate at 24/7 Domestic Violence Hotline (904) 354-3114; Textline, (904) 210-3698 to learm more about how we help.

Unable to help, but the life-saving work continues

Processed with VSCO with m3 presetGabbie, Hubbard House Public Health Intern

As the severity of the COVID-19 virus began to sink in across the country and in our community, Hubbard House made the difficult decision to suspend all volunteer and intern activities, in order to reduce the exposure risk for the survivors and families we serve. While it’s the right decision and a necessary one to ensure everyone’s health and safety, it’s one that left me with a heavy heart. Working with survivors of domestic violence and their children has become a key part of my education, my practical work experience, and above all else, my passion.

I have been an intern at Hubbard House for several months, but I have gained experience and understanding that will last a lifetime. I was initially introduced to Hubbard House by a police officer with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. I remember being given Hubbard House information cards, after a call had been made to JSO by a neighbor who witnessed my ex-boyfriend being physically and emotionally abusive. It was a relief to know that I was not alone and that there was a way out. That simple action is what gave me my first inspiration to become a part of Hubbard House — I wanted to be a part of that relief for other survivors.

Hubbard House has given me the opportunity to meet incredibly strong survivors and their loving, kind children, who I may have never crossed paths with otherwise.

Now that I am unable to be there physically to supervise group sessions, administer child-risk assessments, and simply spend time playing with the children outdoors, I often find myself thinking about how things have changed for them so drastically and so quickly. Many aspects of the children’s routines (and everyone’s routines) have become disrupted due to the pandemic and the precautionary measures taken to ensure health and safety. Taking these steps are undoubtedly necessary, but the disruption of the routines of survivors can make adjusting to shelter life even more difficult. To help with that, the survivors and children at Hubbard House are still receiving life-saving and life-changing shelter and wrap-around services like counseling, group support, and education by the dedicated staff who continue to work diligently throughout this difficult time.

The children I have spent many hours with were accustomed to me being there during snack time, group sessions, and playground time. Children who have witnessed domestic violence at home may have trouble learning to trust and form relationships. Now that I have built that with these children and am suddenly not there, I have been concerned they may feel confused. Fortunately, Hubbard House staff understands the issues survivors and their children, especially, may be facing at this time. Multiple measures are being taken to ensure that the children have access to anything they need from personal amenities to group and individual counseling.

After the initial sadness and disappointment of reflecting on all of this overwhelmed me, I have now become more hopeful. The circumstances are not ideal for any of us at Hubbard House that much is certain. But I certainly am thankful that our residents have a safe, clean, and healthy environment to find refuge in during the trauma going on across the globe and in their own lives.

Although I cannot physically be there working directly with the children, I will continue to educate and bring awareness to our community about domestic violence and the effects it has on survivors and their children. It is both my passion and my responsibility to be an advocate for survivors and their children, and to be a voice for those who often feel voiceless. Writing this blog has allowed me to continue my efforts in helping survivors understand they are not alone. If I can help just one person, I have done my job.

Domestic violence is much more prevalent than we think, it is all around us: in music, video games, television, and for many, in our own homes. Domestic violence affects all of us in one way or another, and it is our collective responsibility to speak up and do something.

Hubbard House’s 24/7 hotline is still active to help survivors or individuals in the community who want to provide support. Our telephone hotline number is (904) 354-3114.  Our text-only hotline is 904-210-3698. Hubbard House’s emergency shelter is also still providing life-changing, life-saving services for survivors and their children through the dedicated staff, even if we interns and volunteers remain on the sideline for now.

To the survivors and their children who I have formed relationships with during my time at Hubbard House: I think about you all every day and admire your strength — it is truly incomparable. I know things have been far from easy for you because of the abuse you’ve experienced, and unfortunately, for many of you I know things have recently become more complicated by this virus. I encourage everyone to remain positive, follow the safety precautions that have been put into place, and be kind to one another.

Personally, I want to thank all of the residents, staff, and my fellow volunteers and interns at Hubbard House for continuing to operate as a team throughout this difficult time. We can and we will overcome this together.

Meet A Hero! Once helped to find freedom, Suellen gives back to support survivors

Suellen Casebolt with border

Suellen once received good advice regarding a restraining order from a sister shelter. Today, she helps Hubbard House because she likes to, because she can, and because she vowed to repay the favor she feels she once received. In short, Suellen, a survivor, uses the Stand Up & Stride, Hubbard House’s annual Domestic Violence Awareness Walk, to help other survivors find a way forward.

“I participate in this walk and try to raise awareness because domestic violence has touched my life enough for me to really empathize with what others have had to go through to escape,” said Suellen.

A top fundraiser, Suellen credits her workplace, the PGA Tour, with making it easier to ask for donations. She also maintains a positive attitude and remains determined to make a difference.

“I work at a place that promotes giving and that makes it easier to ask people to give. It is a struggle for me to ask people for money, but it is such a great cause. I just ask and if they give it is great, if not, well, then maybe someone else will.”

Since she started walking with Hubbard House in 2010, Suellen has, alone, raised more than $5,500, enough money to support 91 nights of shelter for survivors. Yes. Suellen is a hero, an absolute, total hero!

Thank you, Super Suellen, for helping Hubbard House to save lives and change lives right here in our community.

To join Suellen in raising awareness and raising funds to support shelter and services for survivors of domestic violence, visit www.HubbardHouseWalk.com and register today for Hubbard House’s 11th Annual Domestic Violence Awareness Walk, the Stand Up & Stride, happening 04/18 at the Duval County Courthouse.

Registration is free. Donations are gratefully accepted. Fundraising is deeply appreciated.

Meet A Hero! Donnie followed her heart, founded a team that’s thriving!

When Donnie first participated in the Stand Up & Stride, she was a guest, invited to participate with her spouse’s work team. Today, Donnie walks as a leader with C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc.

Donnie with grands cropped and framedI became involved in the Hubbard House Walk in 2017 when my wife, Val, asked me to walk with her job, Bank of America,” said Donnie. “I had so much fun doing the walk, I brought it up to my HR manager at C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc., the following year. “

From the beginning, CSWG was on board with the idea of a team, supporting Donnie in her efforts to make a difference. And, the results have been strong! In 2018, the CSWG team registered 15 participants and raised $10, plus $1,000 donation for shelter food from the company. In 2019, the team grew to 49 registered participants and raised $1,438, including an $1,100 donation from the company.

“As a Captain, I am most proud of getting my teammates to sign up and come out and support a good cause,” said Donnie. Her method of recruiting? She regularly shares a simple, terrific truth: “We get to help so many people that need our help!”

When raising funds, Donnie recommends participants work from an emotional center, “… think with your heart,” she says, “and not with your mind.” This method has certainly worked for Donnie, who stayed focused on her “why” and founded a thriving, growing team.

Thanks, Donnie! You’re a hero!

Learn more and register at http://www.HubbardHouseWalk.com

HAIL A HUBBARD HOUSE HERO! Survivor and Hubbard House Ambassador Marie Steps Up, Strides

Marie survived in a violent marriage for 22 years. In 2020, her life is entirely different. She credits the help she received 19 years ago from Hubbard House with helping her to escape and begin again.

“When I came to Hubbard House, I had given up on life. I had no hope – no hope that anything would ever be any different, no hope that anyone would ever love me, no hope thMarie (2).jpgat my son and I could or would ever be safe, but none of that was true.”

At Hubbard House, Marie received the help she needed — like counseling, group support, legal advocacy — and she used her second chance to build a life she loves. Today, she’s healed, happy, thriving, confident, a mother again of two adopted girls, a frequent speaker about domestic violence, and a professional success. Additionally, she’s been remarried to a great guy for eight years.

“I want survivors to know, there is hope. They are not alone. Hubbard House can help. Life can be different. If they don’t believe it, they can take a look at me!”

On April 18, Marie will participate in the Stand Up & Stride. As our 2020 Stand Up & Stride Survivor Ambassador, she’ll also share a short message from the stage, reminding participants that there is hope and help available, and every dollar donated helps Hubbard House make a life-saving, life-changing difference. It takes a community to end domestic violence, consider this and be part of the solution.

To register for the Stand Up & Stride, go here.