I've been spending a good amount of time this morning doing research.

You wouldn't think there would be much research involved in penning a memoir. I mean, you're just writing about your own memories, right? But, as it turns out, there are a lot of little details that you forget as you start to get, *ahem*, a little bit older! 

Such as: how many women's shelters did we go to, how long were we there, and where the hell were they all again?

I stumbled across something really eye-opening as I was piecing things together. 

One of the shelters we stayed at, "a safe haven for women and children who have needed to flee their homes due to domestic violence", can accomodate 30 women and children and is usually filled to capacity. This shelter provides emergency assistance and support services to over 500 women and children each year. That's just one shelter. In one city. In one state. 

Can you imagine? Heartbreaking. Domestic violence is, indeed, still an epidemic in this country.

Tons of memories came flooding back of the time we spent here. I remember it being crowded, but I also remember an overwhelming sense of community. I remember loving the school I briefly attended, and playing with the kids in the shelter, and participating in 4H (a positive youth development and youth mentoring organization) for the first time. I also remember being sad when we had to say goodbye to start our new lives somewhere else.

There are so many powerful programs available to those that desperately need them. I'm feeling moved to figure out a way to develop a partnership with either this shelter or maybe a national organization to end domestic violence. It would be wonderful to be able to give back to those who helped us in our times of need, and continue to help countless others.

If you are interested in learning more or donating, please visit either the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women or the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Please feel free to like, share, or comment if so inspired. I welcome open dialogue on this blog!