In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we welcome Dr. Ludy Green, President and Founder of Second Chance Employment Services to our 7 Questions feature. Second Chance Employment Services promotes financial security for at-risk women and their dependents through comprehensive employment placement services.Dr. Ludy Green is an expert on U.S. domestic violence and human trafficking issues, as well as an internationally acclaimed speaker.
- What motivated you to begin working with your organization?
While volunteering at a shelter for victims of domestic violence, I met women who had gone there to find a safe place. But many of them left the shelter to go back to the violent relationships, where their lives, and the lives of their children were in danger. The shelter was a good place for them but it was temporary. I saw the need for a permanent solution to their predicament. I saw in particular the need for them to be financially independent of their abusers. Only by having their own resources could they have any hope of living independently and permanently escaping domestic violence. So, I founded the non-profit organization, Second Chance Employment Services, which is the first employment agency for victims of domestic violence and human trafficking.
- What exciting change or innovation is on your mind?
My new book, entitled Ending Domestic Violence Captivity: A Guide to Economic Freedom,?published this year (2014) by Volcano Press, is about my organization’s award-winning business model, and the personal stories of the women we’ve helped attain financial independence and lifelong freedom from domestic violence. We are using Ending Domestic Violence Captivity to raise funds for the organization and also to share the uniquely successful Second Chance model and allow others to follow our approach. Our goal is to sell 100,000 copies.
- Who inspires you (in the philanthropy world or otherwise)? Do you have a hero?
My mother was my hero. As a young girl, I saw my mother always helping others, which inspired a lifelong interest in philanthropy.In Ending Domestic Captivity I’ve written about my mother’s life story and her untimely death and how her final words inspired me, and continue to inspire me, to give my life to the cause of combating domestic violence.
- What was your most interesting recent project/partnership?
One of our most exciting partnerships is with ManPower Group, Inc. It is the nation’s largest employment agency. They help us provide services for Second Chance clients, including temporary placement services. They also provide office space and other resources. Our first joint effort with Man Power is located in Atlanta, Georgia, and we are expanding to other states. Another exciting project Second Chance was involved in was the inclusion of a new provision in the latest renewal of the Violence Against Women Act (ACT). The provision and our role in making it part of the law is explained in Ending Domestic Violence Captivity in a chapter called The Second Chance Provision.
- What is the single greatest challenge that your organization faces (besides finances) and how are you dealing with this challenge?
The challenge that we are facing is being able to help every survivor of domestic violence who is referred to Second Chance. The economic downturn over the past four years has resulted in an increase in domestic violence. At the same time, it has reduced the resources available to help them. Shelters have been unable to keep up with the increased demand. The increased demand and dwindling of resources occurring simultaneously poses serious challenges for Second Chance.
- What advice do you have for other people in your position?
Read my book! It is also important to be connected with other individuals and groups. Do not try to take on these problems by yourself. It is important to work in partnership with others. We are all people with distinct missions and talents. When we allow our diverse backgrounds and approaches to work together, together we become much stronger than any individual alone. My motto is Strength in Unity.
- What’s next/coming up for you?
With the publication of my new book, I am following through with regular speaking engagements to bring the message of hope to more and more people, to bring Second Chance’s mission to a national level. My hope is to reach out to many other service providers and organizations, as well as to local and state government agencies. To bring hope and facilitate permanent escape for many thousands of victims of domestic violence captivity and their families, it is critical that other organizations around the country adopt the Second Chance model. I am also in the process of developing a Leadership program for young women in universities and colleges, in connection with the Second Chance model and my own life experiences that led to its foundation.