As the largest family violence nonprofit in Texas, The Family Place serves women, children, and men with free services including shelter, counseling, education, and much more to help victims lead lives free from abuse.
Every day brings stories that are both inspiring and heartbreaking, and Natalie's is one of them.
Like so many victims, Natalie grew up watching her mother endure several abusive relationships. Her mom suffered from both mental illness and substance abuse, so Natalie and her five younger siblings were shuffled in and out of foster care and stayed with various family members. When she was only 12, Natalie was left by herself to care for her siblings, who were all under the age of 10. She experienced sexual assault for many years, victimized by those close to her, but she never received help.
As a teenager Natalie longed to be loved, so she began to look for love in relationships with men. At 17 years old, she had her first run in with the law, when she was charged as an adult, put on probation, and kicked out of DISD. She moved in with an older boyfriend who started to abuse her. She became depressed and tried to commit suicide.
Fortunately, this wasn’t the end of Natalie’s story — but she still had obstacles to overcome. Natalie was determined to finish high school. She started online classes but was moving from one bad relationship to another. She had her first child in 2004. A few years later, she was introduced to The Family Place after an altercation with her boyfriend. Working to move forward, she continued her studies at community colleges.
In 2012, Natalie married an abuser, thinking he had changed. After six months, the abuse began again and she knew she had to get out of the relationship for the sake of her children. She came back to The Family Place and enrolled in a counseling program. Through the help of the legal team at The Family Place, she filed for divorce and ultimately went on to secure her independence by starting a successful business.
Natalie says counseling at The Family Place helped her heal from the inside out and gave her the tools she needed to become victorious over abuse. Now a strong advocate for victims of family violence, she is a member of Toastmasters and is continuing her education at Paul Quinn College studying business administration, fundraising, and philanthropy.
In the future, Natalie hopes to start a nonprofit to help those suffering from domestic violence, homelessness, and mental illness. She likes to say, “When you learn to dance in the rain, no storm can rain on your parade."
Stories like Natalie’s are an all too-common occurrence in our community, but The Family Place is dedicated to putting an end to family violence through their comprehensive services.
Wondering how you can support The Family Place? Buy a Partners Card. It grants you a 20 percent discount at retailers and 10 percent off at restaurants from over 750 participants in Dallas-Fort Worth from October 25-November 3.
One $70 Partners Card provides a night of safety for a victim fleeing family violence at The Family Place shelters.