PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY)– Neisha Himes is a survivor of domestic violence and now spends her time working tirelessly as an advocate against abuse.
This week she’s planning an ice cream giveaway.
“I just remember when I was young and running to the ice cream truck with my sisters,” she said.
Himes founded the Girls Recognizing Our Worth (or G.R.O.W) foundation. It is a nonprofit geared toward helping victims of domestic violence escape.
The team of advocates wants to help hundreds of families create a few happy memories this summer by visiting seven emergency shelters with free ice cream and snow cones. This is the third year for the ice cream giveaway; last year was canceled because of the pandemic.
“These are times of uncertainty. It’s overwhelming, it’s a lot going on. We wanted to provide a sense of normalcy and a good memory” explained Himes. “You have these children who are living with other families that they do not know. It’s not like they can go home and go into their own room. Home isn’t safe, so know we’re in a place where they are safe from that danger but it’s still scary because you don’t know when you’re going to get out.”
Each shelter has about 50 to 80 people. The groups will meet at an undisclosed location, for safety reasons.
- Genieve Shelter & H.E.R Shelter: 7/10
- Transitions Family Violence Services: 7/23
- YWCA South Hampton Roads: 8/28
- Samaritan House: TBD
- Avalon Center: TBD
- ForKids: TBD
G.R.O.W will continue to work with survivors of abuse as they rebuild their lives.
“Whether you’re in a shelter right now and just want to see your kids run to get some ice cream or you’re out of the shelter and you’re just trying to learn how to pick your head up,” she said.
Her organization will offer help with safety planning and a support group known as the GROWing fighters.
“It’s literally, for me, about empowering survivors from the beginning until that final step in their healing journey,” she said.
The G.R.O.W foundation is accepting donations of any kind for the ice cream giveaway.
10 On Your Side has compiled a list of local and national resources for residents to fight and prevent domestic violence and child abuse.
In the United States, about 1 in 4 women and nearly 1 in 10 men have experienced intimate partner violence (IPV) including sexual violence, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Domestic Violence Prevention Resources
10 On Your Side is committed to help Break The Cycle of domestic violence in Hampton Roads.
Here is a link to all of the local groups or agencies we have highlighted. The page also shares testimonials of survivors.
Here are some local and national resources for victims in need of help.
Transitions Family Violence Services in Hampton
- Phone: 757-722-2261
- Offers emergency shelter and crisis services
- 24- hour Crisis Hotline (757) 723-7774
YWCA South Hampton Roads in Norfolk
- Phone: 757-625-4248
- Offers counseling, youth and crisis services.
- 24-hour Crisis Hotline: 757-251-0144
LGBTQ Life Center in Norfolk
- Provides: Intimate partner abuse counseling and support group, safety planning, crisis intervention and education sessions. Assistance with emergency housing and legal services. Youth services and support groups.
Military Family Advocacy Program in Norfolk
- Provides: Prevention of family violence, victim safety/protection, offender accountability, rehabilitative education/counseling, and command intervention
- Domestic Abuse Victim Advocate (DAVA)after hours: 757-438-4180
Avalon Center in Williamsburg
- Phone: 757-258-5022
- Offers transitional housing, emergency shelter, youth services, legal advice, and counseling.
- 24-hour Crisis Hotline: 757- 258-5051
Samaritan House Inc. in Virginia Beach
- Phone: 757-631-0710
- Offers counseling, emergency shelter placement, and safety planning.
- 24-hour Crisis Hotline 757-430-2120
HER Shelter in Portsmouth
- Phone: 757-485-1445
- Offers emergency services, court assistance, shelter, employment, housing assistance.
- Hotline: 757-485-3384
Eastern Shore Coalition Against Domestic Violence
- Hotline number: 757-787-1329
- Offers: an emergency shelter, 24-hour crisis hotline, individual counseling, safety planning, children’s services, legal advocacy, accompaniment during hospital visits and court appearances and support groups to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.
- Website: https://www.escadv.org/
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1−800−799−7233
Virginia Domestic Abuse Hotline: 1-800-838-8238
About 11 million women and 5 million men who reported experiencing sexual violence, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime said that they first experienced these forms of violence before the age of 18.
At least 1 in 7 children have experienced child abuse or neglect in the past year and in 2018 nearly 1,770 children died of abuse and neglect in the United States, according to the CDC.
Prevent Child Abuse America – Coronavirus Resources & Tips for Parents, Children & Others.
Child abuse and neglect are serious problems that can have lasting harmful effects on its victims. For more information on preventing child abuse and neglect check out resources from the CDC or call The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-422-4453 for help.