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.

Rembering Fallen Friends

small beach-dawn-depth-of-field-1139541

At this year’s Barbara Ann Campbell Memorial Breakfast, we remembered local people who died in 2017 as a result of domestic violence, and we will end Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the same way … remembering.

We remember because these people mattered. They mattered then. They matter still.

And we remember because it fuels us to keep pressing toward our shared goal – an end of domestic violence in our community, forever.

Feel free to leave a message of comfort for the families of the fallen in the comments below and know we are so grateful to you, allies and advocates, for your continued commitment. With your help, we will keep sheltering and serving survivors until there is no more need.

2017 Domestic Violence-Related Fatalities

Black female, 41, stabbed by black male, 36

In 2008, this woman, then five-months pregnant, was kidnapped and stabbed multiple times by her boyfriend. Eight years later, at 49, she died. The Medical Examiner determined that the manner of death was caused by complications from the 2008 attack.

White female, 52, shot by a white male, 60

This woman was divorcing her husband. The husband shot her in the chest in her own home. Her husband also shot and killed this woman’s daughter, his stepdaughter.

White female, 30, shot by a white male, 60

This woman was not originally intended to be her stepfather’s victim, but she, too, was shot during his attack on her mother. Her body was found in a different room than her mother’s body and was partially covered with a blanket.

Black female, 29, stabbed by a black male, 38

This pregnant woman was stabbed in the stomach and left bleeding on the floor by her boyfriend. She was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Black male, 3, shot by a black male, 22

This child was struck in the head by a bullet during a domestic violence-driven attack on his home. He died two days later. His mother was also shot, but she lived. The child’s 5-year-old brother was present during the incident.

White male, 62, stabbed by a white female, 36

This man met this woman, his girlfriend, three weeks prior to his homicide.

White female, 30, shot by a white male, 32

This woman was shot in the head by her boyfriend and died. The boyfriend also shot this woman’s sister in the head. This woman’s sister survived. Two children, ages 9 and 4, were present.


During Annual Address, Hubbard House CEO Encourages Audience to Consider “All” Lives Saved

Gail at the Podium

At the 24th Annual Barbara Ann Campbell Memorial Breakfast, CEO Dr. Gail A. Patin’s speech emphasized not only our partnership to save and change the lives of local survivors of domestic violence but also other loss of life prevented.

2018 Domestic Violence Address

Thank you, Mary, for serving as our emcee year in and year out! You do such a wonderful job.

And, thank you to all of you, for attending the Hubbard House 24th Annual Barbara Ann Campbell Memorial Breakfast.

It’s my honor to be addressing you today as the CEO of Hubbard House and as a voice for victims and survivors of domestic violence.

You’ll note I said victims and survivors of domestic violence. This differentiation is intentional because we are going to spend part of our time together this morning thinking about and remembering



victims of intimate partner domestic violence who died.

This week on Monday, October 1, Hubbard House, in a press conference with our partners, announced that, in Duval county, 9 people lost their lives due to intimate partner domestic violence last year, 7 were intimate partners (husbands, wives; boyfriends, girlfriends) and 2 were other family members:

  • a victim’s adult daughter who was at the wrong place at the wrong time … shot dead
  • And a 3-year-old child who was shot in the head during an attack in his own home, witnessed by his 5-year-old brother

We can see from these tragedies that domestic violence claims the lives of the victims directly involved in the relationship, but also family members:

  • mothers; fathers
  • grandparents
  • brothers; sisters
  • and children

Far too often children.

It’s part of what makes our work together so important!

As part of the movement against domestic violence and supporters of Hubbard House, we save the lives of victims of domestic violence,

but we also save the lives of all those

who could have been,

would have been

fatalities as well.

So, in the face of these 9 Duval deaths, how can we remain positive?

The big picture: In 2017, Hubbard House served 4,407 people, and they are all alive today.

But, when we stop to consider the broader picture, the true impact of our work together, we must also think of all the familial homicides we prevented by intervening at the right time, in the right way.

Here’s the impact of our work, in real terms:

  • This morning, there are children alive and well, running and laughing on playgrounds because of what we do together.
  • This morning, there are brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, grandparents, who are planning upcoming visits and vacations with one another, because of what we do together.
  • This morning, there are local families who can eagerly look forward to holiday celebrations, to seeing every single face at the family table, every person whole and healthy … because of what we do together.

There are three things I’d like for you to know and three things I’d like to ask you to do…

Here’s what I’d like for you to know…

ONE. In partnership with all of you, Hubbard House provided life-saving and life-changing shelter and services to 4,407 people last year, and as much as domestic violence played a part, they are all alive today and so are their children, their brothers, their sisters, their parents.

TWO. Research and our institutional experience informs us that those who come into shelter and receive services are much more likely to find safety and to remain safe!

Which leads us to NUMBER THREE… Our growth item. More members in our community must be made aware, not only of domestic violence, but also of the free shelter and wrap-around services available through Hubbard House.

Then, they’ll know where to turn for help when they need help most. And, more survivors will find safety and more families will be spared suffering.

So, as Domestic Violence Awareness Month is just beginning, I ask you, friends and advocates, to consider these three simple but very significant assignments:

ONE. Read or reread those small cards on the table in front of you, titled, “What is Abuse?” It will help you identify abuse if it happens to you or someone you know or love.

Also, slip that card in your wallet so you’ll be ready to supply our 24/7 Domestic Violence Hotline Number to anyone in need.

TWO. If you haven’t, please put on that purple ribbon pin attached to that card. Put it on your lapel, over your heart. It means something very special. It means you are a part of the movement to end domestic violence. If anyone asks about it, tell them about domestic violence and about the life-saving and life-changing shelter and wrap-around services provided by Hubbard House: free to survivors and their children.

Three. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter and share one of our posts with the hashtag “#9TooMany.” This is our Domestic Violence Awareness Month social media hashtag. It recognizes the number of lives lost due to intimate partner domestic violence in Jacksonville last year. By sharing a “9TooMany” post, you will be spreading awareness of the problem – domestic violence – and the solution – Hubbard House. You may even play a role in saving the life of someone in your own circle.

Friends, I want you to know there is great hope in my heart. This past year, my first as the CEO of Hubbard House, I have met many of you and time and time again, you’ve asked this question: What can I do? What can we do?

With hearts like yours and determination like ours, we will continue to reach survivors AND our reach will grow; we will save and change lives right here in Duval and Baker Counties; and we will transform our community.

Thank you for your time and your caring.

Survivors Shine at Barbara Ann Campbell Memorial Breakfast

Megan and Marie

Pictured left to right: Hubbard House CEO Gail Patin and Domestic Violence Survivors Megan and Marie

The room was quiet and many eyes were wet with tears as domestic violence survivor Megan recounted her story of tremendous personal loss at this year’s 24th Annual Barbara Ann Campbell Memorial Breakfast. But, in the end, it was her strength, resilience and passion for the safety of others living in violent relationships that brought attendees and advocates to their feet, recognizing Megan with a well-deserved standing ovation.

“God is my saving grace,” said Megan, “but because of Hubbard House not only have I lived through this, I am thriving.”

In 2015, Megan’s boyfriend came home unexpectedly and found her moving out of their Jacksonville home. In a rage, he got his gun and opened fire on their infant twin daughters, Megan’s father (who was helping her move out) and Megan, before taking his own life. Megan was the sole survivor.

When the story hit the news, Hubbard House staff reached out to Megan’s mother to offer free support and services. Megan, now a college graduate with law school aspirations, accepted and credits Hubbard House with helping her heal and begin again. “I was finally able to move on from my abuse and grow from the terrible things I experienced,” she said.

Marie also shared her survivor story. She met her abuser as a teenager, married him young and suffered violence at his hands for more than 20 years. It ended when Marie’s friend, Anna, brought her to Hubbard House, and Marie realized – for the first time – that she was a victim of domestic violence.

“I tried everything to ‘FIX’ the problem – counseling, marriage, having a child, buying a house but never actually saw the REAL problem until I was at Hubbard House,” explained Marie who has lived violence-free for 17 years.

Marie offered a unique perspective on the generational impact of domestic violence. While she has gone on to heal and have a healthy marriage with another partner, her son, a child survivor of domestic violence, struggles with drugs and alcohol, as does his wife, leaving both incapable of raising their three daughters.

“My current husband and I recently adopted my two oldest granddaughters, ages 8 and 4,” said Marie. “We are teaching them about healthy relationships. We want to see this cycle broken in their generation.” She is also in touch with the adoptive family of the youngest sibling, and they are likewise committed.

After hearing the two survivors speak, Hubbard House CEO Gail Patin thanked Megan and Marie for sharing their stories to build awareness, to reach victims and to create advocates. “I am so amazed by your courage and strength,” said Patin. “We all are.”

A New Lovey for Layla

mother daughter shot

When little Layla arrived at shelter with her mom, she was in an above average state of personal crisis. Mom remembered her favorite clothes, like her princess pajamas, but forgot her lovey: a light brown bear that Layla believed kept her safe from scary things.

Fortunately, Layla’s advocate was able to provide her with another beautiful bear, and it brought Layla great comfort. As she and mom stayed at shelter and received services, like counseling to heal from the domestic violence they’d experienced, Layla’s bear buddy was always her close-by companion.

After  six weeks, Layla and her mom were ready to leave shelter. Mom had secured housing, and the two were headed out for a safe and satisfying future; however, Layla had something to do first. She gave her bear back to her advocate. She said she wanted the next little girl or boy to have it because she felt safe, and she didn’t need it anymore.

Thank you to our supporters for helping to provide Layla and her mom, Leslie, with a brand-new, no-bears-required beginning.


For Survivors: Meet Shirley Adonis, InVEST Victim Advocate

It was the fast pace of shelter life that first attracted Shirley Adonis to Hubbard House.

“I was a junior in college completing training to become an On-Call Advocate for the Women’s Center at the University of North Florida,” said Shirley. “Part of that training was a tour of Hubbard House. I remember walking past the hotline room … Multiple lines were ringing. Doors and gates were going off. Participants were at the door. The person working there at the time was completely calm, addressing one thing after another. I thought to myself, I want to do that.” And, she did.

Initially, Shirley worked in the Shelter. After two years, she moved to a position in Court Advocacy. Today, she serves on the Intimate Violence Enhanced Services Team (InVEST)* as the InVEST Victim Advocate. She starts her day at the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO) where she and other team members review domestic violence police reports looking for high lethality indicators, i.e. strangulation, loss of consciousness, weapons, etc. Then, she returns to her Hubbard House office and proactively reaches out to the victims judged to be in the greatest danger.

“What I love most about my current position is it’s structured around a Hubbard House advocate reaching out to provide services as opposed to the survivor reaching out. It still baffles me how many people don’t know what Hubbard House is and what we do,” said Shirley. Some victims opt to receive shelter and services immediately; however, even when a victim isn’t ready, Shirley takes satisfaction in knowing that she’s planted a life-saving seed and the victim knows where to turn when s/he is ready to take the next step.

Of course, sometimes working with victims who’ve experienced extreme violence takes a toll, so Shirley works a self-care plan that relies on people; namely, she surrounds herself with positive people in her personal life and leans on her Hubbard House family – supervisors and fellow advocates – for support at work. Shirley explains that no one understand the pressures or pleasures of doing the work like fellow advocates, and no one understands better the driving force behind the work they do: to always be the best for survivors.

InVEST program

*The Intimate Violence Enhanced Services Team (InVEST) program is a partnership with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and the City of Jacksonville. Daily, a Hubbard House advocate, a detective and a city employee review domestic violence police reports, evaluate cases for lethal indicators and proactively contact the victims to offer services. The program has been credited with reducing intimate partner homicides in Duval County and has been replicated statewide.

Survivor Story: Kelly wasn’t alone anymore

Baby faceKelly came to shelter feeling as if she was just a shell of her former self. Before meeting her husband Tony, she had laughed easily, spoke freely and enjoyed close relationships with friends and family. After meeting and marrying Tony, and as his abuse escalated into physical violence, there was no joy, just fear; no open communication, just coerced agreement; and her sense of isolation was all-consuming, leaving Kelly feeling utterly alone. Then, one day, everything changed … The stick turned blue.

The pregnancy was unexpected but Kelly very much wanted her baby. Pressed by the reality that her pregnancy would soon show, and Tony would be dangerously irate because he didn’t want children, she searched the Internet for help. She found Hubbard House, called the Domestic Violence Hotline, and with the help of her victim advocate, created a plan to come into shelter, safely.  When the day of escape came, she acted as if it were any other day, but it wasn’t: It was the first day of her brand-new beginning.

In shelter, Kelly received the services she needed. Counseling and survivor support groups helped alleviate the isolation and assisted her in identifying the domestic violence she’d suffered. She also received legal help and obtained an Injunction for Protection, and a career coach helped her to figure out how to talk to her employer, who proved to be a valuable ally. Ultimately, Kelly had to use a variety of techniques to find freedom, like changing her work hours and finding a new place to live, but it was all worth it when her daughter was born, a healthy, naturally happy 7.5-pound blue-eyed baby girl.

Today, the two live free of violence and full of hope in the Jacksonville area.