How a Work of Art turned into a Community Project


I’ll never forget the time in my life that I designed The Love Necklace. I was just trying to heal myself from an abusive situation. I had no idea where that simple design would lead me, but here we are, 10 strong mentors coupled with 10 girls who needed a dose of empowerment.

The Empower Her Sessions all began with a conversation that my friends and I had one day when we were being photographed in The Love Necklace, for a program that supports women who are healing from domestic violence.

While the Love Necklace Campaign supports women who have already had to endure abuse, the mission of Empower Her is to prevent domestic violence through education and empowerment. We are doing this through:

  • an in depth curriculum focused on teen dating violence

  • a series of empowering exercises, and

  • a long term mentorship program

Through this pilot program, we identified early warning signs of violence, including extreme jealousy, constant put-downs, explosive temper... to name a few. We watched a video and discussed real life situations. We learned about emotional abuse and digital abuse and the various roles that people play in abusive relationships.

We engaged in creative activities, created art to music and learned about journaling. We visited one of the most beautiful places on the island where we shifted inward and the girls were introduced to yoga. They were given a 'tool kit' of exercises to help guide them through life's frustrating moments. They learned interpretive dance, self defense, and got to go snorkeling!

Through a "speed dating" style meet and greet, the girls got to speak to each volunteer mentor and when it ended, the girls got to choose which woman they want to connect with and learn from.

At the end of the session, each girl received a Love Bracelet, similar to the Love Necklace, as a reminder to Live Outside of Violence through Empowerment.

If you would like to learn more about these sessions, and get involved, click here to learn more... and if you don't already know, a portion of proceeds from ALL of my work at support the Empower Her Sessions.

If you would like to learn more about hosting an Empower Her Session in your community, message me here.

To learn more about the program at Hope Haven, please message Kristina Romero here.

I only wish that there was a program like this when I was growing up. -Kristina Romero, Director, Hope Haven San Pedro

With love and gratitude,