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Tessa and Ethan

Image description: The photo shows Tessa and Ethan sitting together and smiling

“I feel “sister’ed up” in a way that shines light on my path ahead and helps me baby step forward…” wrote Tessa, a recent grant recipient.

We first met Tessa through her lifelong friend, Bridget. Despite the ocean that lay between them, Bridget and Tessa couldn’t be closer. “It is one of the deepest, truest loves,” shared Bridget. “That makes what [Tessa’s] going through – and the feelings of helplessness about it – so difficult to bear.”

Note: The next three paragraphs mention intimate partner violence and abuse.

When Bridget wrote to us, Tessa was in the middle of a difficult divorce. In her former marriage, Tessa experienced countless instances of intimate partner violence. She escaped last summer.

A few months later, Tessa learned why her three-year-old son, Ethan, had been behaving differently lately—a noticeable change that she’d previously attributed to the stress of the impending divorce.

Ethan shared with her that he, too, had experienced extensive abuse. It had happened while he was in someone else’s care.

When we heard Tessa and Ethan’s story, and what they had both been through, our hearts broke for them. We knew we had to help.

With all of her available funds going to the divorce, Tessa was at risk of losing her home of seven years. The home was a safe haven for both Tessa and Ethan. It was the only home that Ethan had ever known.

After much negotiation, Tessa got to keep the house. Through Together Rising, you covered the cost of four months of Tessa’s mortgage payments and several months worth of grocery gift cards.

In addition to helping Tessa stay in her home, you also made it possible for her to continue to purchase safe food to keep her Crohn’s disease in remission. A flare up would be debilitating and could threaten her ability to remain employed and financially support herself and her son.

The grant was so meaningful to Tessa that it brought her to tears. She wrote:
“Tears will not stop flowing!!! . . . The financial support wraps my son and me in so much love during these difficult times.”

Thank you for showing up for Tessa and Ethan.

(Pseudonyms were used at the grant recipient’s request.)