A few years ago, West Miami resident Alicia Consuegra volunteered at a charity event that motivated her to start her own nonprofit organization which would have dual benefits.
Consuegra, who works in real estate, is a domestic abuse survivor, having been involved in an abusive relationship more than five years ago. She now has started Alicia’s Village as a way to help victims and in the long run it has served as therapeutic for her.
“Years ago, a group of lifelong friends decided to donate to a charity for Christmas rather than exchange gifts. As part of my healing someone suggested I should do something to help domestic violence survivors,” she said.
Alicia’s Village was founded in 2012 and has organized Christmas gift drives for the women and children at a local emergency shelter as well as other survivors. The organization has also sponsored makeover nights, item collections and school supply drives. Consuegra also speaks at local schools about the subject. The organization’s goal is to make a difference in the lives of domestic violence survivors.
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“I am a domestic violence survivor, actually to borrow a phase I heard last year ‘a domestic violence thriver,’” she said. “Long ago enough that most of the time when I speak about domestic violence or coordinate a drive or event, I feel passionate, but not so personal in that moment. However, not so long ago that even after all these years, after a drive, after an event, after a high school awareness speech, after a success there is a moment where there is still personal cost to me.”
Domestic violence survivor Maria Hernandez, 30, says Alicia’s Village has come to her aid in shaping up her life.
“They helped me getting into Miami Dade College,” said the nursing student. “I had everything set up, but I was afraid to go to the next step and she guided me.”
The group also has reached out to local schools to help coordinate food drives. Occasionally, the students visit the shelters to learn about the survivors.
“I think the personal interaction is really important as well, regardless of the drive or event,” Consuegra said. “When they see you there they know that there are people out there that care about what they have been through that in some way, no matter how small, people are trying to help and are rooting for them.”
Consuegra, who is also a board member of Safespace Foundation, says her goal is to continue to bring awareness so her nonprofit organization can prevent a possible domestic violence case.
“Our efforts started and they continue to be a love letter between my personal village, who stood strong together to put one of their own back together again and keep doing what they can to help other women in much worse circumstances,” she said.
For more information, visit http://aliciasvillage.com.