LAS VEGAS (KSNV) — At first glance, it looks like Tyresha and Charmaine are assembling boxes for shipping.
But look closer, and you'll see they're also laying down a foundation for a better life.
"[I will] gain financial stability, gain confidence and gain the independence I need for me and my son to move forward," said Charmaine.
The two are participants in a new program of SafeNest, a nonprofit that helps those impacted by domestic violence. The program, just brewing, will allow community members to change lives through the ritual of their morning coffee.
"We really wanted to create a long-term program that did what survivors needed," said SafeNest CEO Liz Ortenburger.
She says the new company launched by the nonprofit SafeNest Coffee allows people to buy bags or a subscription of coffee to help support survivors. The idea seeped from the feedback of former clients.
"I think domestic violence is really misunderstood," she said. "We fail to understand the much larger context of generational violence, the intersection between domestic violence and poverty, and the role all of this plays in homelessness."
A recent survey by a national advocacy group found that 99 percent of those involved in domestic abuse relationships, experienced financial abuse. It's also cited by victims as one of the main reasons they felt they couldn't leave, and as one of the biggest barriers to overcome.
Ortenburger adds that women who live below the poverty line are 5x more likely to be victims of domestic violence too. She says the financial reality of former clients is a major struggle once they leave the shelter.
"[We hear] 'you’ve given me a safe place for 18 months, but now I’m back with my abuser, still in an abusive relationship–or I’m navigating homelessness', " said Ortenburger. "That’s not helpful."
She says financial skills of independence can transform the lives of survivors. She says women with new-found financial independence and freedom can feel empowered to tell their partners that it will be over if they lay a hand on them again because they can provide a new life for themselves.
"That’s a very different conversation than someone who you are dependent on to pay rent, to pay the bills and existing that relationship, your next stop would be homelessness," she said.
Grinding in the program, participants will learn a blend of skills, including marketing, customer service, finances, and HR. Meanwhile, they will also learn how to manage work and personal obligations, ask for raises, how to form a good relationship with an employer, and to manage their finances.
"It truly is designed to help survivors come out of the shelter, so they can make their own financial choices," Ortenburger said.
Most importantly, women will have the confidence to know they can succeed, and not just for themselves, but for their families too.
“I want to be an entrepreneur of my own business one day," Tyresha said. “I don’t want my kids to live the same life that I’ve lived”
Changing lives one cup at a time.
Visit SafenestCoffee.org for more information about the program and to make coffee orders.