COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) — A local woman, who considers herself a ‘thriver,’ has gone through her own experiences with domestic violence and came out the other end eager to help others in similar situations.
Lisa Jenkins says she was 24 when she finally decided to find a way out of her abusive relationship.
“I remember a time calling the police because I had enough, but both of us had marks on our records,” Jenkins said. “Of course, I’m defending myself, but they said they would take both of us to jail.”
It was at that moment Jenkins said, while jail seemed like an easy way out from the endless nights of abuse, she couldn’t leave her three children behind.
“When that happened at that point – I realized they were not going to help so I never called again after that,” said Jenkins.
With limited money and no job lined up, Jenkins said she moved halfway across the U.S. and ended up somewhere safe. However, she was left to fend her herself, and her three kids. Jenkins said she felt alone, scared, and unsure of how to move forward.
“I kinda just worked through everything to figure out what it was I needed in my life, I found an organization that had a sort of job training program called miracles works that helped me get on my feet,” she said. “I did take advantage of some of the social services, food services, Medicaid to get on my feet. I had a safe house I was able to get into it.”
Over time, Jenkins said she learned how to heal and move on to a new life without her abuser. Part of that healing, she explains, involved coming up with an idea of how to incorporate everything that helped her overcome her adversities and help other people heal from similar situations.
From there, Jenkins started Kingdom Builders Family Life Center in Colorado Springs.
“We are not a cookie-cutter organization that says this is what we are going to do and we are not going to do anything else,” she explained. “We want to support that person on their journey no matter what that looks like.”
The non-profit, housed in the Satellite Hotel on Lakewood Circle, operates as a one-stop shop for victims to get all the resources they need to safely start over.
Kingdom Builders Family Life Center offers clothing, food, lodging, paid career training, and even a center for supervised child visitations if someone no longer has custody of their child.
“All the things and all of the opportunities god allowed me to go through – I added those components to this organization, the exact same ones because I knew that’s what I needed to get my life to where it was and now… I’m a thriver,” she said.
Since opening its doors, the organization has helped more than 400 people from all over Colorado become. Jenkins says the people they help are thrivers, not survivors.
Still, she says there’s more work to be done, particularly barriers people of color face overcoming domestic violence.
A recent report from the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition reveals:
Three out of four crime survivors believe the criminal legal system treats victims differently based on their race or ethnicity. For African American victims, 90% said victims of color are treated differently by the criminal legal system.
Black survivors were the most interested, but the least able, to access services.
Only one in 10 victims surveyed received victims’ services; this was substantially lower if the victim was a man, and the lowest if the victim was a black man.
Latinos were 38% more likely and African Americans were 34% more likely, relative to white people, to report having been a victim of a violent crime.
“Quite honestly, a lot of the people that come through our doors, they just feel comfortable because we look like them and at the end of the day – we try to make sure that anyone who walks through our doors knows they can get help,” she said.
For more information on Kingdom Builders Family Life Center, click here.