In the United States, family and domestic violence is a common problem. According to a report, nearly 10 million people get affected every year due to domestic violence; one in four women and one in nine men are victims of domestic violence. Lovern J.
Gordon is the Founder of Love Life Now Foundation, Inc. (LLN), a non-profit organization that promotes year-round awareness around domestic violence (DV).
Lovern says “this issue is near and dear to my heart”. She herself a two-time survivor of abuse: a child witness to it growing up on the island of Trinidad where her father brutally abused her mother and as a young adult survivor of a 2-year relationship in the United States, that started at the age of 21. She considers herself fortunate as she was able to escape. At least 1 in every 4 women experience abuse in their lifetime, and many of them will not be able to leave if they are not enough educated about the help available.
Lovern is the winner of two back-to-back beauty pageant titles in 2010. She used the platform to increase awareness around the issue that year and in 2011, LLN was created. Through the work of LLN, she has been able to meet extraordinary victims and survivors from all walks of life who continue to drive her and motivate her to work as an organization to continue to use their voices for those who cannot speak up.
What we do?
LLN works with the vision to point people in the right direction for help as it relates to abuse, and highlights DV agencies and their services, so people understand that help is everywhere. It offers year-round awareness around the issue by hosting community initiatives that engage folks on the topic, and hosts and speaks at DV workshops that provide education. The company also helps with small, DV-related expenses when victims have escaped violent relationships via its Get Safe Fund.
Challenges during Initial Phase
Funding and financials support are the spine of an organization. As a non-profit, LLN has to rely on donations and sponsorships to carry out the awareness work. As per Lovern, in the beginning, the funding sources were tough to come by. For nearly two and half years at that time, she used much of her personal savings to fund expenses for the organization. She adds “this is something I do not recommend. Over time, I was able to get connected with companies that believed in our vision and work and subsequently became sponsors who still support us today.”
An Innovative Approach
At LLN, the team doesn’t go for a cookie-cutter approach to DV awareness as they understand it is not one way that people learn about anything. The company hosts different such initiatives throughout the year that are pretty innovative to make people aware. One such innovative initiative is LLN’s Empowerment Fashion Show where all the models are DV survivors. One other initiative is called Heel-A-Thon Walk where participants wear heels and walk a mile in support of awareness. The aim of organizing such shows is to appeal to members of the community in different ways, but in the end, educate and encourage victims and survivors to break their silence and have them become part of the solution.
Wearing Multiple Hats
As a small business’ non-profit owner, Lovern has to handle many of the day-to-day responsibilities of the organization. Mostly, she is answering the company’s toll-free resource line that allows victims and survivors who have the ability to text or call: 888.LLN.9876, to get pointed in the right direction for help. She is also helping in crafting awareness posts for Love Life Now Foundation, Inc.’s various social media channels and handling engagement from them. Other than these responsibilities, she is hosting and presenting DV workshops (virtually and in-person), organizing awareness initiatives that occur once every quarter, seeking and applying for funding to keep the company going, the continual building of relationships with current and prospective sponsors.
She reflects herself determined towards what she does. She asserts “once my sights are set on a task, I ask God to help me move Heaven and earth to accomplish it.”
Satisfaction of Helping others is the True Success
Lovern has her own way of defining success. For her, success is a feeling and not something tangible. She states “it is when a survivor says that our efforts helped put them in a safer space or my speaking out helped them find their voice. Those things leave me feeling pretty accomplished every, single day.”
Visioning to Spread Awareness As much As Possible
Lovern seeks to see, Love Life Now Foundation be able to take its initiatives and have them patterned for domestic violence agencies across the United States to raise awareness around the issue. The pandemic opened up an even more significant set of opportunities for Lovern to continue to share her story via DV workshops, virtually, as far as Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, and the Caribbean. In the future, she hopes to continue to evolve into an international speaker on domestic violence issues, not just via workshops, but also using her recent DV memoir book release called “The Legacy He Left Me”. These are the initiatives she wants to make to reach people where there are on the awareness front.
Self-care is Essential
As per Lovern self-care is self-preservation. She learned that the hard way about 7 years ago when she was close to becoming burnt out. She realized that there she needed to establish boundaries if I wanted to continue the progress. It is essential to maintain work-life balance and Lovern did that by setting hours where she started work and ended her day to spend time with the family. She adds “I dedicated a month where it was guaranteed I would take a week’s vacation; I eat on time, exercise intermittently and carve out time on weekends to spend my family and church.”
Don’t Wait Until You “Feel Like It”
On advising aspiring businesswomen, Lovern says, there is nothing like the perfect time and circumstances to start pursuing own dream. As the saying goes that there is no time like the present and that is so true. She advises “surround yourself with like-minded people via groups on social media and in-person and ask them a lot of questions. Many, if not all are happy to help. Do not get bitter when those you expect to support you don’t show up. While they might love you, they may not be hugely interested in your venture. Keep building and they will come. Lastly, believe in yourself.”