By Chanel Ward
The Latina SafeHouse hosted their annual fundraiser, “La Fuerza Latina: 10th Annual Golf Tournament” at the Greg Matriona Golf Course at Hyland Hills on June 28th, where nearly a hundred people showed up bright and early for their 7:30am T-time and to enjoy breakfast burritos and refreshments before heading off with their teams to complete 18-holes.
“At Latina SafeHouse our mission is to provide bilingual and culturally sensitive services to survivors of domestic violence. So, our focus is on our Latina women and their children, but we serve any survivor of domestic violence, [including men].”
Angela Ceseña, Latina SafeHouse
Angela Ceseña, Executive Director of Latina SafeHouse started off as the lead case manager and quickly moved her way into the Executive Director position earlier this year.
“We were founded in 2003, by Latina community leaders who noticed that there was a gap. There was a void in serving Latina/o survivors of domestic violence,” said Ceseña, of the fourteen-year-old organization.
Ceseña delved deeper into the women who made the Latina SafeHouse the organization that it is today.
“They got together as a volunteer group and they did an amazingly incredible job of raising funds and becoming a Federal 501(c)(3); a nonprofit,” explained Ceseña.
“At Latina SafeHouse our mission is to provide bilingual and culturally sensitive services to survivors of domestic violence. So, our focus is on our Latina women and their children, but we serve any survivor of domestic violence,” including men, she added.
“The majority of our survivors identify as undocumented or asylum seekers, we also serve transgender Latinas and we’re really just trying to provide those culturally sensitive services to all survivors,” said Ceseña, who went into detail about what’s to come for the SafeHouse.
“We have coming programs; one of them is La Fuerza Mujer and the other is Comadres Unidas. La Fuerza Mujer is an individualized case management and community navigation plan; whether it’s legal services that the family needs, or counseling, behavioral health services, transportation, shelter, rental assistance, we help them navigate those different resources,” explained Ceseña. “It’s really intense community navigation.”
“I think a lot of it is cultural. Being Latina’s, we usually have our Tía’s or our Madrina’s who can guide us through society and who can let us know where to go, what to do and so that’s essentially what we want to become, is that community navigator where we can establish the rapport with our survivors and if they need anything they can look to us like their Madrina or their Tía and then we can work together,” Ceseña said.
She also detailed the efforts of Comadres Unidas: “That’s our support group and that’s because we want to make sure that we break isolation. Isolation is incredibly challenging to just process, especially for women who have immigrated here, who are undocumented or who are asylum seekers who have their family in their home country and are alone here. That happens, all too often and so the goal for that group is to create that support system so that they can become Comadres Unidas by the end.”
There is also a graduation program called La Fuerza Mujer, Ceseña explained: “For that program, if they’re interested in English classes, if they’re interested in employment, things like that, we can connect them with the proper agency and with the proper organization.”
“This year we saw more women than we saw in all of 2018, more women and children,” Ceseña sadly relayed, adding the recent policy changes have played a big part in that increase. “It’s really daunting to hear that, it’s a bittersweet moment, because I’m happy that women are able to reach out because that’s the hardest part and also our mission is for them to reach out but it’s still unfortunate. I think the reality of the situation is that the numbers are going to go up and that’s a good thing because that means the women who are in need of these services are reaching out,” she explained, while pointing out that 1 in 3 Latinas are victims of domestic violence, that being higher than any other demographic.
“The need is there, our women are out there and we want to make sure we are reaching all of the survivors that are seeking services, and since it is a societal issue our goal is that we can work together with our collaborative partners to make sure that we are all working to end domestic violence, which is definitely a long term goal,” said Ceseña.
“Our short-term goal is for our numbers to go up, because that means we’re filling a need that’s out there,” she explained. Some of their partners include, the Dream Village Foundation, SPAN (Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence), Violence Free Colorado and Catholic Charities to name just a few. They are currently working to branch out and add to their already impressive partnerships, as well as strengthen relationships with their current partners.”
Ceseña expressed her gratitude, especially during this year where they are experiencing their highest numbers.
“We’ve been around for 15 years and the majority of our funding from the past have come from these two events; being the golf tournament at the first half of the year and being the gala at the second half of the year,” said Ceseña. “The majority is what sustains us for the first half of the year.”
The Latina SafeHouse Gala is set for, October 4th at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, where they will be celebrating their Quinceñera (15th year). To register for future events, donate or know someone who could benefit from their services, please visit their website at
https://latinasafehouse.org, call 303-433-4470, 24/7 hotline 303-444-2424; or if you or someone you know is suffering domestic, physical or mental abuse there is quick and confidential assistance out there to help, please call the Rose Andom Center at 720-337-4400, and they will contact you with immediate help.
Sponsorships are also available on a tier leveled system, ranging from a “Madrina” to “Tía” and the Latina SafeHouse is always looking for volunteers of all backgrounds and titles to help the not for profit organization continue serving those most in need, call 303-433-4470.
Chanel Ward is an Independent Reporter for The Weekly Issue/El Semanario.
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