Finding a Better Future: From Runaway to VOALA

Sahar tells her powerful story of going from being a runaway to finding Volunteers of America Los Angeles.

“I was running away from the abuse,” Sahar says. “In my household, I was one of the two females living there. I was never a human being; I was property. I felt a lot of anger, and it came from the cries that they never cared to hear, and the fear of not being able to get out.”

After running away, Sahar stayed in mental institutions, shelters and different cities before finding her way to VOALA.

“They’re the family that I never had,” she says. “They brought me to a safe haven that I call my home now. I was given a bed, and given a space that I call my own.

“Volunteers of America [has] brought people in my life that I’ve always needed,” she says. “I know that they won’t ever judge me for who I am. Having that support brings a sense of hope, because life is always hard, but is easier when you have people there for you.

“My life now is filled with so much joy. I dream of becoming an advocate, the voice of victims that go through this every day. … I want victims to know that there is hope, and with the help of Volunteers of America, there’s a home for everyone.”

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VOALA offers a wide variety of programs for women including female veterans, single mothers, victims of domestic violence, women challenged by substance use and young women coming out of the foster care system.  Our programs help women confront the negative societal messages about their potential and provide tools to help them become empowered and thrive.

Visit the Women’s Services Program Page to find out about many of the services VOALA offers.

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