I’ve been connected with LifeWire for more than 20 years, first as a volunteer, then as a Board Member, and now as a member of the Giving Society. I was first drawn to LifeWire, then Eastside Domestic Violence Program, because I was especially interested in issues around women’s rights and empowerment, and because I strongly believe we all deserve to be in safe and nourishing relationships.
Survivors of domestic violence are heroes. I first learned this when my wife, Amy, started her work as a crisis line volunteer for LifeWire over 20 years ago. I learned that survivors are often in life-threatening situations and that power, control, and violence are used as weapons. Since learning those first lessons, I’ve also learned that there is hope. As I’ve learned more about what LifeWire does, I’ve realized that it is possible to save lives, and I’ve become hopeful that we can prevent domestic violence through education.
I was raised by terrific parents. My dad always treated my mom and me with respect, admiration, and love. My mom set a powerful example by standing up for herself, stating her case, and compromising. Their marriage was (and still is) a partnership of mutual respect. In our home, everyone had a right and a voice. Every child and adult should live in such an environment.
That conviction made ending domestic violence my passion. It led me to volunteer and serve on the board. And it is why I continue to give my time and resources to LifeWire.
My engagement with LifeWire began over five years ago when my son’s close friend was experiencing domestic violence within his family. My wife and I saw the destructive impact it had on this good-hearted kid and offered to take him into our home.
When we first met in our early twenties, we shared with each other, our values, dreams, and life passions. We shared stories that shaped us, including stories of domestic violence.
We both have known survivors of domestic violence all our lives. As young adults, we didn’t think domestic violence would be so prevalent around us. It certainly didn’t have space in the life we were forming together. But, time and time again, we met survivors and saw how the right resources could dramatically change the course of their lives.
Connie Ellis always gets a little nervous when LifeWire’s phone rings. As a volunteer, she works the Bellevue organization’s helpline for survivors of domestic violence. The calls that come in can range from a woman fleeing an abusive husband and in need of a new place to hide to a mother overwhelmed with shame and looking for someone to talk to. Ellis is that person.