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In the Mix: Jaden’s Ladder celebrates 10 years with “Bright Lights, Big City Black & White Gala”

Colette Greenstein | 3/28/2014, 6 a.m.
Jaden’s Ladder will host its sixth annual "Bright Lights, Big City Black & White Gala" on April 5 at the ...
Oneta Bobbett

On the website there’s a testimonial from one of your survivors who said, “thank you for having a vision of me even though I could not see it at the time.” How have you been able to see the vision for these women and make them believe that?

You know it’s day-to-day. When these women come to me they can’t think minute-to-minute or second-to-second. They’ve lost everything. I remember that feeling. I look at them and say “what’s your biggest goal?” They say “I want to get my RN license.” I’m like ok, “Did you graduate from high school? Ok, let’s go get your GED.” And work on that. In order to go to full-time school, we need to get you day care. So, we do these baby steps and in two years they turn around. I just set these little baby steps for them. They did all the hard work and it’s amazing. I’m so proud of them.

Speaking of the program it obviously takes funding. This is the 6th annual gala. How do you keep it going?

When you see the kids come up and they need help or you see a woman who says “I can’t go week-to-week without you,” you realize, “I can’t give up.” There have been times [when] I’m like my son is twelve, and I’ve got an adopted kid in the house, and I’m going through a divorce. I need to let go of something. And, then I think, “well, I can do a little of Jaden’s Ladder,” and then I meet my families, and I can’t let that go. I have to fight harder to make the money, to make the funding. It’s a hard thing. People like Mekhi Phifer call to say “where are you guys?” and “when can I come in?” They donate that time. Like Marshall Faulk. He finds our events. And, that gives me strength. If these guys feel that it’s worthy, and I obviously know its worthy, we have to continue this journey to make sure these families are safe.

What are your goals for the next five years for Jaden’s Ladder?

The next five years it would be to really grow the children’s program. I truly believe in my heart right now that working with the children in therapy, one on one with them, and working with them and their parents to understand the abuse, that’s ending the cycle of abuse.

The “Bright Lights, Big City Black & White Gala” is open to the general public. The event kicks off at 7 p.m. April 5 and tickets are $200 per person. All proceeds will be donated to Jaden’s Ladder. For ticket and sponsorship information, please email cj@jadensladder.org or call Jaden’s Ladder at 877-430-1118 or 603-430-1118. To learn more, please visit www.jadensladder.org.