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A New Journey Begins for 42 Women

“I never thought that my life could be my own again.” This powerful statement from a survivor of domestic violence was shared at a recent ceremony honoring the graduates of Amanecer’s program for victims of domestic violence.  Before an audience filled with family members, friends and supporters, three of the 42 women graduates bravely shared their harrowing stories of violence and abuse. With courage and grace, they also told of how their lives dramatically changed when they came to Amanecer and entered The First Step Forward Program.

Throughout the ceremony, the women were recognized for their courage and hard work in moving from victims to survivors. Through the program, each woman has created a safe living environment for herself and her children; and is engaged in job-training, a vocational education program or has found employment. They have completed parenting and life-skills training; and their children have received therapy to help them avoid becoming victims and abusers.

Beaming with pride and confidence, each graduate accepted a certificate of completion from Program Director Julisa Lendo and Board Member Isaac Cuevas.  Graduates also received a copy of a letter of congratulations from Mayor Villaraigosa, and certificates of recognition from Assembly Speaker Jose Perez and Councilmember Ed Reyes.  Graduation gift bags were provided by Stila, Inc., and graduates were treated to a mini-spa day, courtesy of AttaGirl, Inc. Board President Craig Simmons also recognized the staff members who worked with the graduates throughout the one-year program.

The graduation guest speaker was Robin Sax, attorney and advocate for domestic violence and child abuse victims and a former Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney.  Ms. Sax is a featured legal analyst for CNN, Headline News, Fox News, and MSNBC, and provides commentary on high profile legal and celebrity cases for national news programs, including Good Morning America and Today. A reception followed the ceremony with entertainment provided by Special Angel.

Scroll down for graduation photos.

2012 Class Photo










Robin Sax, Guest Speaker














DV Staff














Tim Ryder, Executive Director











Musical Entertainment by Special Angel











Craig Simmons, President of the Board of Directors


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