The nonprofit S.O.F.I.A., or Start Out Fresh Intervention Advocates, creates a space for people to talk about domestic violence free of stigma and shame, while offering support services and necessities.
That includes helping survivors in Essex and surrounding counties understand their legal rights and options for getting help. S.O.F.I.A. also ensures access to necessities like laundry detergent and diapers, and offers workshops and support groups.
Kristin Wald, vice president of S.O.F.I.A.’s board, says one of the goals of these workshops is to create a space to hold open discussions. “That’s the first step, to be more open,” Wald says. “One of the most nefarious aspects of relationship violence is that it really tears down someone’s ego, their self-confidence, their judgment.”
On September 30, S.O.F.I.A. is hosting its 13th annual Walk Against Domestic Violence in Montclair’s Canterbury Park. The walk is a major fundraiser. “It’s meant to raise awareness in a fun atmosphere; the whole idea of survivor joy, that people can dance and people can sing,” Wald says.
Visit supportsofia.org for more information.
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