‘I was completely broken emotionally and spiritually’
When Myra Marshall arrived at her “safe place” in May of 2017, she was nervous, confused and scared.
After enduring years of domestic abuse since childhood, Marshall had come to believe her broken life was her fault, at least until she found help with Alpha Daughters of Zion.
“I was completely broken emotionally and spiritually,” she said. “I called for help and spoke to Mrs. Bridgette [Alexander] and asked for help and explained my needs. With no hesitation, she interrupted me and said to me first, ‘It’s not your fault and I am so sorry with you’ve had to experience.”
Marshall called Ivy Williams as instructed and became a voice that changed her life.
“I remember a woman on the other end of the phone being so very kind,” she said.
A few hours later, Marshall was in her safe place.
She was assured by Williams with Alpha Daughters she was going to be okay and succeed.
Marshall considered Williams more than a shelter manager. She was concerned about her needs and extremely supportive.
“I thank God for this woman of God for even having thought of and made sure she built a platform to help women such as myself to learn to live again,” she said. “Bridgette, my advocate, confidant and counselor … I am so very grateful for this woman, as well, for allowing me to get in touch with the hurt and pain in my past and present to start healing.”
Marshall considers Alpha Daughters a home, as well as a safe haven where she has been able to rebuild her life.She has a job and is productive.
“I’m not where I want to be, but definitely where I need to be because of these women and the help they have extended to me,” Marshall said. “Alpha Daughters is vital for many women. It is saving lives.”
Founded in 2008, the Alpha Daughters of Zion Domestic Violence Program provides an emergency shelter for women and children of domestic violence.
Executive Director Shirley P. Sims said they are providing safety, encouragement and strength.
Sims heads a staff including Williams, assistant director and shelter manager, along with Program Coordinator and grant writer Bridgette Alexander.
The organization relocated its office to the C.A.R.E. Foundation, 171 Keller St., Hahnville, and receives funding from the United Way of St. Charles, who aided Marshall at the shelter, said she sees firsthand the trauma survivors are enduring and strives to provide the support, safety, safe haven and tools needed to become self-sufficient.
“I’m in constant contact with the survivors at the shelter,” she said. “My greatest joy is seeing them blossom from brokenness into wholeness.”
Alexander’s job is to create and find funding for programs that meet survivors’ needs, such as domestic violence education, counseling and support groups.
She added, “Our organization exists and is providing information, as well as a network of services that empowers a survivor and their family to make their own healthy life choices – this is oftentimes not the case seen in abusive relationships.”