Healing Roots Expands Reach

Bradley Angle now serves kids of domestic violence

For more than 45 years, Bradley Angle has provided life-altering services for survivors of domestic violence and now its reach includes their children.

Thanks to a competitive grant of $301,539 from the Family and Youth Services Bureau, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Portland nonprofit recently began a culturally specific pilot program called Kinship.

Assigned to Bradley Angle’s Health Roots program in north Portland, outreach geared to assist Portland’s Black community and other minority groups, Kinship will provide support to children ages 6-18 while their parents are also receiving services for trauma from domestic violence and abuse.

The Kinship program aspires to address the impacts of domestic violence and the intergeneration trauma disproportionately experienced by Black, African and African American families in Portland. The focus to “positively interrupt generational trauma,” will also support another impacted population, LGBTQ domestic violence survivors.

It’s estimated that more than half of women who experience domestic violence also have children who are impacted by the serious physical and emotional harms.

“Children and young people need to grow up in a secure and nurturing environment,” the Bradley Angle website explains. “Where domestic or family violence exists, the home is not safe or secure, and children are scared about what might happen to them and the people they love.”

Bradley Angle Executive Director Bri Condon expects Kinship to receive a matching amount of financial support next year as the White House disburses funds for specialized services for domestic violence and their children. Other efforts give hope the program will continue for at least three years and beyond, she said.

Program activities for now will include individual and group therapy, mentoring support, mental health services and more “opportunities for families to learn and heal together,” according to a description of the program.

The families will be served at Bradley Angle’s Resource Center in north Portland, Condon said. But as more space was needed to “become youth-focused as well as trauma-focused,” the center was transformed with the help of remodeling and home improvement company Neil Kelly, a long time Portland firm headquartered in the same neighborhood.

Included in the transformation will be a library and computer lab, a sensory room and dedicated spaces for both older and younger youth.

LaVonda Johnson, a member of Portland’s Black community who served as the former economic empowerment coordinator for Bradley Angle, will lead Kinship with the help of two youth mentors. Johnson will be working closely with Healing Roots director Kristy Hines, Condon said.

“The entire downstairs of the Resource Center, about 2,700 square feet, will be dedicated to Kinship programs and activities, with administrative offices on the second floor,” she said.

Condon said the experienced staffs of Healing Roots and Kinship serve their own communities in their goal of interrupting generational trauma from domestic violence.

“We have two marginalized communities we’re focused on, Healing Roots (which serves the Black community), and LGBTQ,” she said. “Whether it’s emergency shelter or Kinship, we are making sure of a cultural match whenever possible. That’s critical and one of the reasons we applied for the money.”

The grant was extremely competitive, and Condon said she and her staff worked long hours on the application.
It’s important that people of color who need help interact with people like themselves Condon said, and listen to those communities when determining parameters.

The goal, Condon said, is to serve 40 kids the first year, and they’re already at 70 percent of that goal.

“Every kid that comes through that door will have access to one professional mentor their whole stay, so they are not jostled around, and during that same time, their parent is receiving services in Healing Roots. We’re levering experiential activities to help the kids and family feel more inspired, more confident,” she said.

As social distancing guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic are lowered because of increased vaccinations, Condon said they’ll be able to offer many more activities to promote the parent-child bond, such as group meals.

Testimonials from former clients on the Bradley Angle website, bradleyangle.org show the effect of its Healing Roots programs, like Evelyn, who only found the courage to leave a violent relationship after the birth of her son, but didn’t know what to do.

“After months of living in my car, paralyzed by fear and grief, I finally worked up the courage to look for help. That’s when I found Bradley Angle’s Healing Roots program — my strength, support and lifeline. They helped me rebuild my life and rediscover the person I once was.”

Condon, who’s been on the job for two years, said the agency is named for Sharon Bradley and Pam Angle, domestic violence victims who did not survive.

“They were on the street, with ongoing homelessness and drug use, and did not make it off the street,” she said.
Domestic violence is “skyrocketing,” Condon said, and much work is needed and much help is wanted.

Additional financial contributions and new pledges of volunteer help are welcome, Condon said. More information is available at bradleyangle.org.

For anyone needing help for domestic violence, the Bradley Angle crisis line is 503-235-5333.

--Beverly Corbell