For the past three years, every October I have had the honor of playing model for the day and walking in the Bexar County Family Justice Center‘s Annual Fashion Show and Luncheon. While the day full of hair, makeup, and runways is fun, there are also always moments when I am so grateful our community has a resource like this for women and children in dire circumstances.

Crystal Chandler has recently taken over the Executive Director role for the BCFJC, and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to hear her mission for the organization. She told the story of after school programs teaching children how to resolve conflict and avoid violence, even sharing that one little girl told her she now repeats the lessons she learned about kindness in the mirror every morning.

It’s one (extremely honorable) thing to help women who are in abusive homes, getting them to a safer place and stable surroundings. But I also love that BCFJC is focused on preventing domestic violence from the foundation of our society – our children. If they learn at an early age, no matter what their socioeconomic background, that violence is never the answer, perhaps the world will be safer in the future for women, children, and even men.

Chandler says, “On average, the center assists close to 4,000 victims each year. Of those, a staggering 9 out of every 10 victims identify an immediate need for assistance in obtaining a protective order against their abuser, and close to 100% of victims experience financial abuse in their relationships. So many victims suffer silently, sometimes for years – imprisoned in a life controlled entirely by their abuser. Domestic violence does not discriminate; it is in every community regardless of race, gender, age, socioeconomic level or sexual orientation, and the cycle of violence can impact families for generations. I applaud the efforts of each and every advocate, attorney, counselor, liaison, and administrator who fight tirelessly for victims of domestic violence every day.”

For more information on the BCFJC, please visit their website. And thank you to Gaylynne Robinson for capturing these photos behind the scenes!