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.


Chaplains Offer Comfort to Survivors in Shelter

lower res Warmly lit woman praying

The Hubbard House chaplaincy program, established in 2016, is part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to supply complete services to survivors. “Research and conversations right here at shelter led me to understand that providing spiritual help is essential to our survivors, especially women,” explained Hubbard House CEO Dr. Gail A. Patin, who spearheaded the program alongside dedicated volunteer Linda Hill. Currently, three volunteer chaplains, all ordained ministers, serve in-shelter survivors.

When asked what surprised her most about working with Hubbard House participants, Chaplain Kimberly Weir said, “Most of the survivors I’ve met with come to me with a well-established faith. They aren’t asking where was God when their abuse happened. Instead, they want God’s help for today’s challenges or spiritual guidance for what’s next.” Chaplain Kimberly, also on staff with another local non-profit serving the low-income elderly, has been with the program since its inception and is encouraged by the program’s impact.

Chaplain Kimberly explained that many survivors finds it validating when a person they see as spiritually significant sits to hear her story. “I don’t try to offer answers,” says Kimberly. “Instead, I am a witness to what they want to share. I try to speak words of affirmation and hope over their futures. And, if they are interested (and most are), we pray together, asking for God, as the survivor understands him or her, to protect, guide and strengthen them as they heal.

Hubbard House Holiday Guide!

istock Young boy opening Christmas gift small versionWant to help make the holidays happier for domestic violence survivors and their children? Take a look at the Hubbard House Holiday Guide 2017 PDF  It’s full of wonderful ways that you and yours can bring significant joy to survivors and survivor-led families who are escaping the darkness of domestic violence and finding bright new beginnings!

Still have questions after reading the guide? Email



2017 Domestic Violence Awareness Address

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At last week’s Barbara Ann Campbell Memorial Breakfast, Hubbard House CEO Dr. Gail A. Patin delivered a powerful speech that asked and answered the questions on the minds of many in the community; namely, why should I, as an individual or organization in Jacksonville, support Hubbard House? What difference does Hubbard House make locally? And, how can I personally help to eradicate domestic violence? Her remarks, featured below, resonated and moved many to action.

Domestic Violence Address

23rd Annual Barbara Ann Campbell Memorial Breakfast, October 12, 2017

Hubbard House CEO Dr. Gail A. Patin

People often ask why I have chosen to make my life’s work the eradication of domestic violence. The reason is simple: Survivors. I am driven to see these courageous women, children and men live safe and satisfying lives that they choose for themselves. As I look out at each of you, I see this truth: You are with me. We are in this together.

It’s also true that together, as a community, we can eradicate domestic violence, especially domestic violence homicides.

To take our next steps in this work together, let’s begin by wrapping our hearts and minds around two truths that will inform our work going forward:

Truth one is this, and it’s difficult . . .  Last year, we saw the number of domestic violence homicides climb to a 20-year high in Duval County.

Twelve (12) victims were shot, stabbed, strangled, drowned, set on fire, beaten to death and/or thrown out like trash by their intimate partners.

The word unacceptable doesn’t even begin to cover it.

Furthermore, it’s especially tragic because we didn’t have the opportunity to intervene in these situations. Not one of these victims were seeking services from Hubbard House when they were murdered.

So, truth one is this… In 2016, a record number of human beings in our community lost their lives to domestic violence, and none of them were receiving services from Hubbard House.

Here is truth two, and this is our best truth, the good news:

It doesn’t have to be this way!  Hubbard House is here to help,

and we are saving lives together.

Last year, Hubbard House provided life-saving, life-changing services to 5,019 women, children and men here in our local community.

Right here in Jacksonville,

Survivors were safely sheltered and sustained.

They were supported, counseled, informed and educated.

They were helped to obtain injunctions for protection, and they were assisted in finding jobs and homes.

And you know what else? They are all alive today.

Every woman. Every child. Every man. Every person who sought Hubbard House services in 2016 – All of them – are alive right now.

Taken together, what do these two truths mean? They mean that there are people dying in our community because of domestic violence, and they don’t have to because we have a solution that works! We simply must reach them, survivors living in these situations, through greater awareness of domestic violence and of our services, so more survivors will turn to us. Awareness, after all, is why we are here today.

As we move forward in this work we are doing together, here are two ways that you can maintain or deepen your commitment to the cause, the eradication of domestic violence.

One. Share about domestic violence and Hubbard House with those in your circle of influence – leave our “What is abuse?” cards in your break room, schedule a Hubbard House speaker to talk with your group about domestic violence, or share one of our informative Twitter or Facebook posts with your friends or followers.

You know, on average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States, and one in three women experiences physical violence, sexual violence or stalking from an intimate partner in their lifetimes, so you will reach someone in need. Someone that we, Hubbard House, can’t reach on our own.

Two. Please continue to support the work of Hubbard House with your time and your treasure. In so doing, you are providing a place for survivors and their children to turn for help, when they need help most. And, the truth is, miracles happen in our halls! You are also making our community a better place to live, because when life gets better for some of us, it gets better for all of us.     

Because of you, lives are saved and hearts are healed. Thank you so much for your support.

Saving Lives, Healing Hearts . . . Together

Small Hubbard House-0018By Hubbard House CEO Gail Patin

As I look back over my first 10 days as the new CEO of Hubbard House, I am so very grateful for the phenomenal Hubbard House team of staff, volunteers and board members. Their dedication to our vision of “every relationship violence free” is unparalleled. I am also incredibly, deeply grateful for the community’s support of the Hubbard House organization.

This community wraps its arms around the work we do through volunteering, advocating for survivors and by supporting Hubbard House financially. Volunteers answer our hotline, clean and paint our facility, throw parties for our residential children, organize food drives and the list goes on and on. Supporters invite us to speak in the community, allowing us to create greater awareness of domestic violence. And our donors, well, they give in many ways, such as by sponsoring our events and giving financial gifts.

I am also grateful for our retired CEO, Ellen Siler. Ellen is a remarkable woman who left a legacy of sound business practices and empowerment-based services for survivors. However, I believe it is her no-holds-barred compassion that is legendary. Whether she was advocating for survivors, listening to a staff member experiencing a personal crisis or helping a woman tell her story of courage, Ellen’s heart was and is wide open. When I think of Ellen, I think of a cross-stitched saying my mother has displayed in her home, “She gives so much and knows not that she gives at all.” I am grateful for having her in my life as a leader, a mentor and a friend.

Last but certainly not least, I am grateful for survivors of domestic violence. Over the past 20 years, I have had the privilege of meeting and getting to know the many women, children and men that come through our doors. Every day they teach me the meaning of courage and strength. They are the reason for everything I do, everything we do together, and it’s an honor to be a part of their stories.

So, as we move into the future, my heart is full of gratitude for the wonderful support this organization and community has for survivors and their families and for the survivors themselves. I look forward to continuing to work with the community to create a safer city for all of us.

Survivor Story: Why I Walk

Lauren Musielak PhotoIn this powerful blog, one survivor shares why she walked with us at this year’s Stand Up & Stride. We are grateful that she and so many other survivors joined us to create domestic violence awareness and to celebrate their bright new beginnings.

WHY I WALK by Lauren Musielak

I walk for myself. I keep my head up, knowing what I have overcome. My past doesn’t define me. I am a lot stronger. I am a survivor.

I walk for my perpetrator. I stand up and stride, letting him know that I am no longer scared. It is my body and I decide what happens to it. He is to blame, not me. No means no, but most importantly yes means yes.

I walk for my ex. For I am strong, independent and free, free of his words, which no longer haunt me. I walk hoping he got help, that he is a better man.

I walk holding hands with my daughter. I hold tight, hoping she will never have to go through what I have. I know that I can’t protect her from everything, but I can raise her knowing what a healthy relationship is.

I walk for her. She was just a child, her innocence stolen. She is now an adult and did what seemed to be impossible, she got help. She now knows that she is not to blame and it wasn’t right. She will have to face him in court, but she won’t be alone.

I walk for the ones who aren’t able to. Every day three women are murdered by a current or former male partner in the U.S. Out of the 1,095 killed each year from domestic violence, only 4 percent of them had used a domestic violence hotline or shelter within the year prior to being killed by an intimate partner.

I walk for the 1 in 3 women and the 1 in 4 men who have been physically abused by their intimate partner. We walk together, to stop the epidemic. We walk to inspire people to help and inspire victims to get help.

Most importantly, we walk for you. You are not alone. You are not to be blamed. You do not deserve to be abused. You too, can rise. You have rights. Your body has rights. You can get help.

We walk to stop domestic violence. We stand up and stride with Hubbard House, because we are survivors.

Hubbard House 24-Hour Hotline (800) 500-1119 or (904) 354-3114

Hubbard House is a full-service certified domestic violence center providing prevention and intervention to domestic violence survivors and their families in Duval and Baker counties in Northeast Florida.


ian-with-giftcardsCoast Guard GMC Ian Keane serves the community by day and, through his volunteer efforts with Hubbard House, also on many of his days off, nights and weekends! What has his experience been like? We asked and he answered. Below, find the responses of the honorable Ian – military man, toy store decorator, gift card raiser, walk worker and all around great friend.

(Thanks, Ian, for everything!)

Tell us about the first time you volunteered for Hubbard House.

The first time I volunteered for Hubbard House, I was invited by a coworker to help sort toys and set up the holiday store. A group of five or six of us showed up, and we were told to turn the room into a winter wonderland. Since I enjoy volunteering and was working with so many fellow military members, we accomplished a lot and the time flew by.

Before I knew it, it was time to leave, but not until some of the staff came in. Seeing the awe and appreciation on their faces and the tears in their eyes made it unlike most volunteer efforts that I am a part of. In addition, we were given a tour of the facility and got an overview of all Hubbard House provides.

Since that first time, you’ve continued to volunteer in a variety of ways: you’ve raised funds, helped with special events, and led teams that help at the holidays. Share with us a favorite memory.

Each opportunity has been equally rewarding. However, my favorite memory actually happened this year. While sorting toys, a mom was shopping for her kids in the toy store. She walked in and was instantly overwhelmed. Seeing her being blessed by the generosity of strangers warmed my heart. Even the coworkers I brought said their faith in humanity was restored a bit. To see the positive impact that Hubbard House and the volunteers have on these victims is priceless. To be a part of that and to show unconditional love to complete strangers who may never have experienced it is so rewarding.

You’ve been volunteering for Hubbard House for years! What keeps you coming back to us?

My love of helping others keeps me coming back. When I joined the Coast Guard I told the recruiter that I want to help people. I wanted to give some stranger a second chance at life, whether through stopping drugs or performing a rescue at sea. Through Hubbard House, you get to see the life changing work that is being done every time you are there. The mission of Hubbard House is also dear to my heart as my wife was verbally abused by her father for more than 20 years. No woman or person should ever have to face physical or emotional abuse, period. I am proud to help such an honorable organization.

We are so grateful to Ian and all of our volunteers. We simply couldn’t do this work without the support of caring people, like him, them, and you. If you’re interested in exploring Hubbard House volunteer opportunities, contact Outreach Engagement Coordinator Alexis (Lexi) Carpenter at We hope to see you around the halls of Hubbard House.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship please call the Hubbard House 24-hour domestic violence hot-line at (904) 354-3114 or (800) 500-1119. Hubbard House can help.

ABOUT HUBBARD HOUSE: Hubbard House is a full-service certified domestic violence center providing prevention and intervention to domestic violence survivors and their families in Duval and Baker counties in Northeast Florida.