On January 7 we announced that Thistle & Bee has leased our residence, so you may be wondering what we are doing now. We want to assure our supporters that the mission of the Lisieux Community has not changed. We continue to provide support and education for women who have survived trauma, addiction, prostitution, and life on the streets. That is where our heart has been and will remain.
But over the past four years we have learned a great deal about how deeply trauma has affected the women we serve, and we came to realize that an important piece is missing between their time on the streets and their entrance into a residential program. That piece is trust. Some of the women accepted in our program stayed only a few weeks, in large part because they were not yet able to trust.
Imagine you had spent months, years, or even a lifetime in which your only interaction with other people was to be manipulated, exploited, and traumatized. Even if someone offered you a safe home and resources for health, education, and personal growth, the defense mechanisms you had developed in order to survive might not allow you to let down your guard. Women who have been on the streets have a difficult time getting past the question, “What’s the catch?” They do not understand why anyone would help them without wanting something in return.
What, then, is the remedy? Simply put, we must meet women where they are and interact with them with no strings attached. Our first step has been to begin building relationship with about 20 women, meeting with them one night a week to provide nourishing food, as well as warm hats, scarves, socks, and other supplies. By showing them that we truly care about them as people and not as a project, we begin to build their trust.
As you can see, although our mission has not changed, our focus has. So if someone should ask you what we do, you can tell them this:
The Lisieux Community serves those women on the streets who are not yet ready to live in a residential community because their past has taught them not to trust easily. Our goal is to meet their immediate needs, while showing them that other choices are available to them. Though we cannot change anyone else, we can empower women by offering the support and resources they will need when they are ready to choose a different life.
The most important thing we do is love the women we serve right where they are today and then do it again tomorrow and the next day.
We hope that by now you are now wondering how you can help. Here are some practical opportunities for you to be part of the work of Lisieux:
- During these cold winter months, we need warm hats, scarves, gloves, and socks. You can call 901-800-8840 to arrange to have your donations picked up.
- All year round, we need travel-size toiletries and washcloths.
- For $100 you can sponsor a nourishing meal to the group of women we serve.
- If $100 is not in your budget, then consider the following:
- $25 will sponsor gas for our van for a week.
- $25 will sponsor enough fresh fruit for a meal.
- $75 will sponsor the main portion of a meal.
As always, we cannot do this without you, our faithful supporters, who share our desire to see that every woman has the resources she needs to thrive. Thank you in advance for your continued support.