From left, Melody Ybarra, Kristy Poe, Ashley May, Tiffany Barrett and Darian Towner.

Submitted by Darian Towner

House of Hope consists of several moving parts: one community program, one women and children’s shelter, one Director, two community domestic violence advocates, one domestic violence adult/child advocate, a prevention specialist and 13 part-time shelter advocates. We all have different stories, different backgrounds, and slightly different reasons for choosing this line of work. One thing we share and do not take for granted is the fact that our paths have all led us here, together, for a reason.

As advocates, we love what we do each and every day and what we’re able to call “work,” but we get asked often why we chose this job field. As an attempt to transparently answer that question, we decided to share our personal reasons that motivated us to work in domestic violence and advocate on behalf of survivors. These reasons are the fire that inspires us daily.

Director Tiffany Barrett explained that she desires to be a helpful, positive and reliable source for survivors who are creating a better life for themselves free of abuse. Community Advocate Kristy Poe explained that she is an advocate because it is simply what she loves to do. Poe explained that letting survivors know that she is there for them and that they are not alone motivates her daily. Community Advocate Melody Ybarra explained how just two words from survivors, “Thank you,” make every minute of every hour worthwhile. Ybarra went further to discuss the indescribable feeling of seeing someone succeed in a safe place, knowing that our program played even the smallest role in the survivor’s story. Adult/Child Advocate Ashlee May chose this field to empower all victims of domestic violence while showing them that they deserve to live a life free of violence. May relentlessly advocates in every aspect on behalf of victims so that they can begin the beautiful journey from victim to survivor. Prevention Specialist Darian Towner chose this field to align with her growing passion for serving others as well as her resilient desire to see a society free of violence. Towner operates daily with the belief that if a week’s worth of effort results in even one individual being positively impacted, then every ounce of effort was well worth it in the end.

Our reasons for choosing and staying in this job field may differ slightly, but the overarching theme after speaking with each staff member was that this field chose us. We work and serve individuals out of love, and it is our individual passion that keeps us going.

Currently, more than 10 million women and men are abused yearly in the United States by their intimate partners, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As long as this statistic exists — or any statistic representing even just one individual experiencing abuse at the hands of an intimate partner — we will be here doing all that we can do, standing up and fighting for survivors.

Please, if you are experiencing hurt by an intimate partner, understand that there are organizations such as ours at House of Hope that are made up of staff members waiting to extend a hand and offer free and compassionate services. We do what we do for you; your story is our reason why. Call our 24/7 crisis line at 405-878-4673 or visit for more information.