Last year, I held my first annual “Love, Justine” party right after my fall semester finals. The purpose of the party was to introduce new and old friends, and family, to what I was doing between being a Beachbody coach, a voice for domestic violence and other abuse situations, and a law student. In the invitation, I asked attendees to donate clothes and books that I could donate to Good Shepherd Shelter—a shelter for mothers and children who have been abused. It was a great a turn out, and I think the folks at Good Shepherd Shelter were very pleased. Now it's a tradition of mine to donate to the shelter, even when it means trekking through the incredible horror of L.A. traffic, for hours--today it took 40 minutes to get across 10 miles!
Anyways, as much as I donated last year, when I came back from Tennessee to finish my last year of law school, I knew I was overdue for a real good cleaning of my closet. So, for a week my room looked like a tornado had ripped through it, but in the end I had a trunk full of clothes, toys, accessories, and shoes.
I get really excited doing little things like this, because my heart goes out to these mothers and children. I think that when we’re able to help others, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t. Besides, God put me on this earth for a reason, and if not to be a good neighbor, then I don't know what else.
Domestic violence and abuse does not discriminate against gender, class, race, education, or occupation. I just want those mothers and children to feel and know that someone cares. I also want them to feel good about themselves and hopefully inspired in one way or another to make the most of their lives, and be filled with hope.
The mothers who come to places like Good Shepherd Shelter, are already doing an incredible thing for their kids by taking their children out of an abusive environment, and thus filling their lives with hope and opportunity.
We can’t always control the things that life throws at us, but we can do everything in our will to make the most out of any situation, and be HAPPY.
Be aware for yourself and your loved ones, the signs that may indicate an abusive relationship; and don’t be afraid to make a little noise—break the silence, end the violence.
Red flags of abuse:
BIG LOVE & HUGS