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CEE Success Stories

CEE has thousands of success stories to share, though we’re particularly proud of these five examples. Thanks to them for allowing us to tell their truth, while we maintain their privacy.

Beth at Patricia House

In the deep cold of winter, Beth’s partner, provider, and her abuser, purposefully did not pay the energy bill. How would Beth keep herself and her three children warm without heat? Beth connected with a CEE counselor to help her move through this dangerous period and safety plan. Safety planning is offered at our CEE headquarters, our offices at Western Connecticut State University, Danbury Superior Court, hospitals, and our area police departments. At CEE, advocacy is provided to individuals to support, guide, and safety plan around unhealthy relationships and dangerous situations. Through this vital step, the CEE counselor not only safety planned with Beth, but she was also provided shelter at our Patricia House, our new 20- bed emergency shelter, until she could obtain safe housing.

Even with this support, Beth still had concerns. Would the Department of Children and Families (DCF) get involved if anyone thought her children’s well-being was endangered? As a CEE client, we provided her with emotional support, provision of basic needs, and the advocacy needed so that her children were not removed from the home. We also made sure the abuser finally paid the energy bill. Beth was connected to our internal housing program to provide her the opportunity to find her own home and build a safer life. In addition, our Patricia House team also worked with Beth on a plan to find a job to achieve self-sufficiency, and create a life where she could pay her own energy bill. Beth went from survivor to thriver. Beth and her three children will not only be warm this wintertime, but they will also be safe from abuse. This is just one of the many stories we hear and see daily. Another 5,144 individuals this past year experienced trauma and sought our support, and over 32,000 direct services were provided.

‘Dylan’ Saved by Counseling

Just about a year ago, CEE was very excited for the momentous day when the keys to their new residential building, Patricia House for women and children fleeing violence would be handed over. Day after day, Patricia House received deliveries of linens, kitchen goods, toys, and more. Then furniture arrived and artwork was hung. Patricia House was becoming a home.

On one of the many days before the Ribbon Cutting event for Patricia House, Center staff and volunteers were unpacking boxes and waiting for one of the very last shipments of household goods. A delivery truck from Best Buy pulled up with a few televisions for our common areas. The Best Buy employees were shown the space and one of those employees was overwhelmed with emotion. Dylan (name changed for privacy) was amazed to hear that this new residential building was for CEE. He stopped one of the volunteers in the hallway and shared his remarkable story. Dylan was a survivor of domestic violence. About 10 years prior, he and his mother had fled from violence and escaped their home in the mid-West to Connecticut.

At the time, they knew no one in the area. They were lucky to find CEE and its free counseling. They moved into CEE's emergency safe housing because they had nowhere else to turn.

Dylan explained, “This place saved my life. Without the help of my counselor, I would have turned out to be a very different person.” Dylan remembered his counselor Maura (who has since retired from The Center) and explained how she would play games with him and make him feel safe. Dylan was elated that CEE now had a new, safe, comfortable refuge to welcome other children and families fleeing danger.

‘Mr. Deluco’ on Prevention Education

While working with Mr. DeLuco’s (name changed for privacy) 4th grade class there was a brief moment between activities where a young lady came up to our educator. We had just finished talking about the word “consent” and how it means permission/agree. Without this permission, we may be uncomfortable, and no one has the right to cross into our personal bubble.

If that should ever happen, it is very important that we tell a trusted grownup. This young lady wanted to tell our educator that someone (a classmate) had touched her and it made her uncomfortable, so, she went and told a friend who helped her tell her mom and her teacher. This student was eager to share with us and receive that validation that she had done the right thing. Our educator confirmed, “I am so proud of you, you did exactly the right thing – you are the boss of your body, and asked for help.” Our educator asked if she was ok now, and was she getting the help she needed – she said “yes” and that she felt comfortable and just wanted us to know what she had done.

When she walked back to her desk, our educator caught Mr. DeLucos’s eye, he gave the head nod of “ I know.” The school social worker spoke with our prevention education team after the class and confirmed that there was an incident and it was being properly handled. She was grateful that we were coming in to talk about the topic of personal boundaries and consent, and was happy to hear that this young lady felt comfortable talking about what happened (although brief) with our team. It reminds all of us that this conversation is never too early to start, and empowering all our young people to be comfortable and confident.

Understanding Healthy Relationships Through Campus Advocacy

A Campus Advocate worked with a male client for a few months who had come in to receive support for childhood and sexual trauma he experienced. Through counseling at CEE, the client made significant improvements in understanding healthy relationships and boundaries with his friends, family, and intimate partners. He shared that his confidence grew immensely and was able to use positive coping skills as needed. The client felt empowered to lessen the frequency of counseling and felt supported in that he had the tools and resources in place if he ever needed them in the future. The services CAPT Programs provide for college students is critical as we know the impacts trauma can have on students’ academics and interpersonal relationships; getting to process through their trauma and receive support can help students focus on their well-being and education.

Prevention Education Prepares Students to Help Each Other

After teaching a program to an 11th grade class in Danbury, a student approached the Prevention Educator to talk. The student shared that she remembered CEE coming into her 8th grade class to talk about dating abuse and sexual assault. When a friend came to her a year later for help with her abusive relationship, the student said she recounted the lessons she learned from our education programs. She said she didn’t stress when her friend came to her for help, even though she knew it was a heavy situation, because she knew CEE was there to provide support. She said she was grateful for the work that we do because she was able to help her friend in need. Our CAPT Programs team provides dozens of programs each week in various schools and receives disclosures from students like this all the time. This is a perfect example of why our programs are so necessary because they help to equip students experiencing or witnessing interpersonal violence with the tools to be able to access support.

Where we Help

CEE is available to help anyone, though we focus on the following towns and zip codes.

Who we are

CEE is one of only four CCADV/Alliance member agencies throughout the state that provides both domestic violence and sexual assault victim services.

Since then, The Center for Empowerment and Education (CEE) has been a safe haven as the sole provider of services to victims of domestic and sexual violence in the Northern Fairfield and ) that provides state approved domestic violence and sexual assault resources and services.

Safety Planning

Making a plan to guide yourself or a loved one to safety is the first is an essential step to leaving a dangerous situation.

Ongoing Support

Once a person in crisis is out of a dangerous situation, our services help clients transition toward a safe and stable reality.

Prevention Education

Our Prevention Educators and Trainers operate from the knowledge that education and awareness can prevent or reduce violence in our communities.