News from DAP


Learn More! Join a “From Secrets to Safety” Tour!


Join our Executive Director, Sarah Clyne, for breakfast, and this free, one-hour behind-the-scenes look at the work of ending domestic abuse.  Held at Domestic Abuse Project’s main office, you will learn about the dynamics of domestic abuse and the experience of an individual impacted by domestic violence. During this informative and moving hour you will walk in the shoes of domestic violence victims, witnesses, and perpetrators and the therapy and advocacy experiences that help them find healing.

Each “From Secrets to Safety” focuses on a specific component of our work to end domestic abuse – working with perpetrators, working with victims, and working with child witnesses. You will learn about the broad overview of our work, and then have a hands on insight into the experience of specific group therapy programs. Choose the topic that is most interesting to you!

“From Secrets to Safety” events are held promptly from 8am to 9am on the following dates:
May 18, 2016: Women’s Program focus
June 15, 2016: Men’s Program focus
July 20, 2016: Children’s Program focus
August 17, 2016: Women’s Program focus
September 21, 2016: Men’s Program focus

To RSVP contact Anna Zaros at or 612-874-7063 x207

Tours take place at 204 W. Franklin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55404


The Hot Spots Project Heads to South Minneapolis

N Mpls hotspots-1

North Minneapolis Hot Spots

April 28, 2016
As Leah walked up to the door with the police officer she didn’t know what to expect. The family’s home they were visiting was designated a Hot Spot due to the numerous 911 calls they made regarding domestic violence. Regardless, every family is different. Hot Spots is a project in Minneapolis that began in April 2015 from a grant-funded pilot program developed by 5 community partners: the Minneapolis Police Department, City Attorney’s Office, Minneapolis Health Department, Youth Violence Prevention Initiative, and the Domestic Abuse Project.

A Hot Spot is a concentrated area of violent crime identified by the Minneapolis Police Department. Hot Spots were identified when numerous 911 calls were made by Minneapolis citizens primarily related to domestic violence and resulted in no police report being filed. Around 17,000 domestic violence related calls are made each year and only 20-25% of those calls result in a report being made. Domestic assault accounted for 33% of police reports previously made at the addresses Leah and an officer were visiting.

So far, a team comprised of one Minneapolis officer and one Therapist from DAP (Leah) have visited over 285 home in the Hot Spots areas in order to increase positive engagement between victims/offenders and uniformed officers, increase awareness of domestic violence related services and providers, as well as increase information about and access to community based resources, provide an access point for domestic violence related follow up and assistance, and assess the barriers within families to services and community based resources.

Leah Martin graduated with a Master’s of Social Work from Augsburg College in July 2014 and has been a DAP therapist ever since working in the Men’s and Children’s Program. Her involvement in the Hot Spots program began when she was asked by the community partners to assist in the pilot program due to her experience with working across programs with various populations. Walking up to someone’s door you’ve never met before Leah stated, “You never know what you are going to get. It is also something that the resident is not expecting so there can be a lot of different feelings and initial reactions to a woman and police officer standing at ones doorstep and I want to be respectful and sensitive of that.”

Leah stated that when visiting families with multiple domestic violence 911calls it’s really eye opening to see how many people are unaware that domestic violence is happening in their own homes. Although it can be surprising to some families, ultimately most of them are grateful that there is such a program looking out for them. They are relieved that there are such resources actually available to them in their communities if they were to need them. Up until last month, the Hot Spots project has only been operational in North Minneapolis, but beginning in March 2016 the Hot Spots project has expanded to South Minneapolis as well. In North Minneapolis, Leah and an officer visit homes twice a week in 4 hour shifts. This is the frequency they also hope to get once the South Minneapolis Hot Spots project becomes more developed. In 2015 alone, the team visited 382 Hot Spots!

Since the Hot Spots project’s start last year over 285 homes have been visited and 75% resulted in face to face contact. Over 83% percent of those contacts allowed Leah and a Minneapolis police officer to discuss domestic violence with the families and provide them education about resources as well as discuss any barriers that the family was facing. Ultimately, 47.8% of those families who spend time talking with Leah and an officer accepted resources, handouts, and/or business cards.

As a result of the Hot Spots project, 16 referrals were made to offenders for domestic violence related programming, 8 victims wrote safety plans, 13 victims requested assistance with an Order for Protection, and 3 new police reports were made related to issues in the home. Although the Hot Spots project has assisted numerous families already, it is the project’s hope that more will be reached. With the expansion of the project to South Minneapolis, Hot Spots still hope to develop strategies of intervention to improve community access/ use of resources, continue data gathering and analysis to identify barriers and create action plans around those barriers, as well as expand its funding to explore other domestic violence Hot Spots throughout Hennepin County.


The City of Minneapolis and DAP Partner in a 24 Hour Domestic Abuse Hotline

April 21, 2016

911- 24 hr hotline-page-001“Hi, this is Pakou and I’m calling from the 24 Hour Domestic Abuse Hotline”. Pakou Yang says this line almost every day. Pakou is the Volunteer Coordinator and Advocate for the Domestic Abuse Project’s 24 Hour Hotline. Since January 2015, the hotline has served thousands of domestic violence victims offering them resources towards safety and support after a domestic violence incident has occurred. Pakou herself provides services offered by the 24 Hour Hotline as well as recruits, trains, and supports the volunteers that offer their time to make the 24 Hour Hotline successful.

Everyday the Minneapolis Police Department receives numerous calls regarding domestic violence related incidents. They contact the 24 Hour Hotline staff every time a domestic assault related crime occurs. The Domestic Abuse Project’s 24 Hour Hotline will then immediately attempt to contact the victim of the incident to offer them support and any information they may need to go forward. DAP advocates will follow-up in the days after the assault in order to help the victim create a safety plan, unless a victim does not want to be contacted.

DAP’s 24 Hour Hotline offers victims numerous resources. Emergency shelter is just one of the resources that the 24 Hour Hotline can provide to victims of domestic assault. Another resource includes helping victims navigate the court system and creating Orders For Protection if necessary. The 24 Hour Hotline can refer a victim to a Victims Witness Assistant in case the victim needs/wants to go to court to make a statement regarding their domestic violence incident. These assistants prepare the victim for any questions the court may have as well as let them know what they can expect in the courtroom.

Since 2015, the 24 Hour Hotline has helped guide thousands of domestic violence victims’ lives towards safety. With this in mind, the program continues to expand and is proud to be operating mainly by the hands of volunteers who are truly passionate about the service they provide.


DAP Enhances Recruitment Efforts at Veterans Court

February 29, 2016
Jodi vet court croppedWith the Change Step Program entering its fifth year, Domestic Abuse Project is expanding the program’s recruiting efforts to reach even more veterans who use abusive behavior through targeted outreach at the Hennepin County Veterans Court. Jodi Schipp, the Change Step case manager at Domestic Abuse Project, attends Veterans Court every other week to follow-up on her clients’ cases as well as extend information about DAP to potential new clients. The Hennepin County Veterans Court is a problem solving court that serves veterans charged with a criminal offense, including domestic violence. The Veterans Court program differs from regular county court in that it combines more frequent court appearances with intensive probation supervision. More frequent judicial reviews, as well as the support of the programs at the Veteran’s Affairs, allows for a veteran’s rehabilitation be monitored closer than at other courts in the county.

A veteran’s case will be referred to the Hennepin County Veterans Court upon agreement of both parties involved. A veteran is initially referred to the Veterans Court during their first court arraignment in a county courtroom.  After both parties’ consent is gained, every case is screened by a Court Screener to best conclude if a veteran is eligible for the Veterans Court program. Eligibility requires an individual to be a veteran, be charged in the county with a non-violent felony, gross misdemeanor, or misdemeanor offense, and be diagnosed with a treatable behavior such as mental illness or chemical dependency. A veteran accepted into the court program will be placed on probation by the judge and is assigned to a supervising probation officer. A veteran’s appearance in court will be more frequent at the beginning of their probation, sometimes being required to appear every 2 weeks. As the veteran stabilizes and engages in required programming their appearances will become less frequent. After graduating from Veterans Court, Judge Meyers requests a 6 month follow-up with each veteran as well.

So how does DAP play a role in the Hennepin County Veterans Court?  Veterans accepted into the court program with a domestic assault charge have one to two years during their probation to attend a domestic assault program of their choice. With this in mind, Jodi attends the Veterans Court several times a month to reach those veterans seeking treatment for using domestic violence in their relationships. Having herself served in the Minnesota National Guard for over 11 years with the Military Police, Jodi understands the difficulties veterans may face when military life ends; and she knows the treatment that can help them end their abusive behavior and learn healthy ways to engage in relationships.

The Domestic Abuse Project is one of the only domestic violence organizations in Minnesota that meets the state requirements for treating domestic abuse perpetrators and its victims. In addition, Change Step is the only program in the country centered towards treating veterans who have used abusive behavior. Continually improving DAP’s recruiting efforts, as well as collaborating with other veterans services, provides those veterans we recruit from the Hennepin County Veterans Court with the best treatment and support they can get in the state of Minnesota.


Donor Spotlight- Barbara Levie

February 22, 2016


Barbara was initially introduced to Domestic Abuse Project by friends who invited her to the DAP’s annual Transforming Families Luncheon. For many years she wasn’t able to attend, but after her first luncheon three years ago she was drawn into DAP’s work.

Barbara works as a part-time office manager at an ad specialties company. She loves her flexible schedule that allows ample time for her hobbies: hiking, fishing, and biking. And she spends her time enjoying these activities in Minneapolis, and with her partner in Ely.

Barbara is passionate about issues including education and the health and wellness of women and families. For her, the work of Domestic Abuse Project incorporates these two passions. DAP educates men, women, and children about the cycle of abuse and how to break this cycle in their lives. And the work of DAP recognizes that people who have been abused need services that address their physical and emotional health, in addition to education. Barbara believes these comprehensive services , for the whole family, can help to end the cycle of abuse.

For the last two years Barbara has enjoyed being a table captain at the luncheon. In addition to supporting an important cause, Barbara finds it meaningful to share these experiences with her friends.

We are grateful Barbara is a part of our DAP community. Thank you Barbara, for all of your support!

“Abuse doesn’t have to be actually hitting or beating. Emotional and psychological abuse can be just as challenging, and yet often we don’t recognize it or the damaging effect of it. But DAP teaches us that what can be done to your head or your heart is just as unhealthy as what can happen to your body.” -Barbara


DAP Partners with the U of M to Improve Domestic Abuse Interventions

MHealth logo

February 15, 2016

Domestic abuse creates significant health consequences. Women may have obvious physical symptoms such as bruises, broken bones, or cuts, but it can also cause sleeplessness, anxiety, PTSD, and various somatic symptoms.

Health care settings offer a unique opportunity to intervene with domestic abuse. Research actually shows that if doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers screen for abuse, and provide resources to help when needed, they can reduce the abuse a client may suffer from in the future.

To take advantage of this opportunity, with a grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services, Domestic Abuse Project and the University of Minnesota have partnered to test a system of effective intervention in health care settings to improve our work to end abuse.

The project includes several steps, including training all healthcare providers within the University of Minnesota’s Clinics and Surgery Center to screen for domestic abuse and refer clients to relevant services.

Additionally, a case manager will be hired by Domestic Abuse Project to both coordinate the project, and to build referral relationships within the Clinics and among community agencies serving domestic violence victims. The case manager will be able to help doctors and nurses become familiar with the resources available to domestic violence victims, and feel comfortable referring clients to these services.

Ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the project will allow the University of Minnesota researchers to analyze the effectiveness of this work and potentially encourage replication of these kinds of projects in other health care settings.

“Assessment and intervention for domestic violence in a health care setting is essential to effective care for victim/survivors, as often they access medical care during crisis and long before they may seek other legal or mental health services. Through this grant, we can provide them with care earlier, which we hope will improve outcomes for victim/survivors in our community.”
-Angela Lewis-Dmello, Director of Client Services


Stories of Healing and Hope: Self-Control and Scribble Drawings

Scribble drawing art

Scribble drawings offer another method for our male clients to learn to regulate their reactions and maintain self-control.

February 8, 2016

It may just look like a bunch of scribbles to everyone else, but that‘s kind of the point.

The twelve men in Miranda’s Process Group sat in a circle drawing scribbles. While Miranda, a therapist at DAP, read a meditation on gratitude, with phrases like, “Who do I appreciate?” and “What have others done in my life that I am thankful for?” the men took markers and drew with a free flowing hand.

After they finished their scribble drawing the men, who are all in the program because they have used abuse, looked into the image, turned it around, colored it, and reflected on what they saw in the drawing.

In Process Group the men have to attend for twelve weeks and complete three assignments: the  “Self-Control Plan,” “Taking Responsibility,” and a “Maintenance Plan.” But within this framework, therapists are free to use various techniques and modalities to guide the men through understanding their abusive patterns and practicing healthy behaviors to replace those patterns.

With the scribble drawings,  Miranda’s ultimate goal was to provide a tool for the men to regulate their emotions better during times of stress.

Psychologically, when a person thinks about things they are grateful for during times of stress, they are able to reduce their symptoms of stress and control their reactions much more quickly. Their heart rate could go down or they could stop sweating. The hormones flooding the body, which produces a flight or fight mode could slow.

These sorts of reactions are what the men must learn to be aware of when creating their self-control plan. They know the words or actions that trigger their stress levels to rise, and they must learn to regulate those reactions in order to avoid abusive behavior in the future.

“This is hard work,” Miranda says, “and I want it to be hard. I need to see the guys working on their issues and changing their behavior.” But, as Miranda explains, this hard work needs to be coupled with unique approaches that engage the men and give them tools to change their behaviors.



Through the Men’s Program, men who use abuse learn how to create healthy patterns to replace their abusive behavior.

Activities like scribble drawings, though they may seem simple,  serve many purposes. It helps the men participate – different styles of activities can engage clients in different ways. Through sharing their insights, these activities help them bond, which is necessary for them to hold each other accountable. And lastly, it provides another method the men can use in their daily lives to disrupt their pattern of abusive behavior.

When the men in Miranda’s group shared what their drawings meant, the insight was surprisingly profound.

In one client’s meandering lines he saw the troubled path that led him to his arrest.  Another man had trouble coloring in the drawing, and knew this was part of his need for control and perfectionism. And lastly, another had colored bright splotches amidst a world of gray—he saw images of hope and change amidst  reminders of his difficult past.

Art therapists believe that spontaneous art like scribble drawings can help release the unconscious and lead to self-understanding. And, with creative activities such as this, the men in our program are able to achieve this result—a self-understanding that is one more step towards ending their abusive behavior.



Stories of Healing and Hope: Ashley’s Crisis

After driving 20 hours straight from Virginia, and arriving in Minnesota with no shelter, no money, and no resources, Ashley and her 3 young children found themselves at the doorstep of DAP’s Advocacy offices. Ashley was fleeing her abuser. She fled to Minnesota because she had family here – but they couldn’t take her in – she was afraid that her abuser would follow her and harm her and her family if he found her. Ashley felt hopeless as she arrived to the offices in her beat-up van in search of help, after closing. Just as they were locking up, an advocate noticed Ashley, physically and emotionally drained, approach the door.

Ashley was a victim of years of continued physical abuse at the hands of her husband, and she had been scared to leave because she wasn’t sure what resources she would have to care for her three children without her husband’s income. Recently, however, she had reached her breaking point and decided to seek the help she desperately needed. On this late Friday afternoon, Ashley and the Advocate sat down to begin the intake process immediately. Having no resources at her disposal, it was important to provide Ashley with referrals for shelter and food for her and her children.

After Ashley was safely set up in a local shelter, the advocates met with her a week later to focus on completing the documentation seeking an Order for Protection. An Order for Protection is a legal document issued by a state court which requires one person to stay away from another person in situations where there is domestic violence. The Advocates continued to accompany Ashley to all the court hearings about her Order for Protection, explaining the process as it happened.

Ashley’s story is just one example of the work our Advocates do day in and day out with victims of domestic abuse. In any given day, Advocates call victims listed in police reports from the night before, attend domestic violence court to support victims, meet with walk-in and appointment clients to assess their immediate needs, and write orders for protection, among many other tasks. Their role is to be responsive to victims in crisis.

As a DAP Advocate, Nora Smyth explained, “Advocates must be assertive, flexible, compassionate, open minded, supportive, and resourceful as they provide direct services to people in need.” For example, when Ashley had her first meeting with an Advocate, it was vital for the advocate to complete a thorough intake, because any information shared with the Advocates about abuse or the clients’ needs related to safety, can be brought into a court hearing related to the abuse.

Like many of our Advocates, Nora was drawn toward advocacy because she is herself a survivor of domestic violence. She felt her firsthand experience with abuse would allow her to relate to the victims’ situations and express compassion and understanding even when the victim finds the abuse unspeakable. She does this work to help restore hope for clients when the feel hopeless. Often domestic violence victims have no support system and have lost everything at the hands of their abuser. But our Advocates are often the first step in a new beginning for these victims.

For Ashley, the path to separating from her husband completely was a long one. The Advocates supported Ashley through multiple court hearings and dismissals. Ashley was never able to secure an order for protection, but she was able to restart a new life in Minnesota, states away from the abuse. Through the ups and downs of this process, Ashley was grateful to have the advocacy team by her side. It made all the difference that there were people who believed her story and helped her find strategies for staying safe. Indeed, amidst all the many tasks, this is what Advocates do best – restore hope to the lives of domestic abuse victims.


Spread Hope, Support Healing – Adopt a DAP Family this Holiday!

The holidays are an opportunity for us to celebrate love and family, and to reflect on the abundance of the last year. But for many parents in DAP’s Children’s Program, the holidays are also a time of anxiety, and a reminder of the year’s struggles.

That’s why DAP has launched a holiday Adopt-a-Family Program.

You can sign up to sponsor a family starting Monday, November 9th!

When you sign up, a DAP staff member who knows the family will provide you with a list of gift ideas – both ‘needs’ and ‘wants.’ This list might include grocery cards, gas cards, clothes, and household items, as well as toys for the kids. You’ll also get a brief bio of the family so that you can get to know them a little better.

Questions? Interested? Contact Sara Spafford Freeman:

2015 Facebook Advert




Finances & Abuse: From Shame to Hope

economic-abuse-2-268x300Going through a divorce, Maya never expected to uncover the financial mess her abusive husband had left her family in. Being married for over 20 years, Maya had predicted their savings account to have grown substantially since her husband had set it up. After going through the couple’s finances with her lawyer, Maya was faced with the reality of what her husband had done. She knew her husband had an impulsive behavior when it came to money, but she had never imagined him delving into their savings account for his own recreational purposes. Maya was in distress as to how she would now support her three children alone, as well as pay off her astounding legal fees.

A month earlier, Maya had graduated from the Women’s Program at the Domestic Abuse Project (DAP). Recently, Lucy, the Women’s Program Supervisor had contacted Maya and informed her of an educational group the organization was soon holding called “Finances & Abuse.” The optional group was only for women who had graduated the program at DAP and she figured at this point it would only help instead of harm her.

Financial abuse can take many different forms, but Maya’s story is a familiar one. Her husband had aggressively controlled the family finances and Maya agreed rather than upset her husband. She thought agreeing with her partner would protect her and her children from further abuse in their household. Unfortunately, the abuse did not stop. Maya began to feel like once again she had made the wrong decision in her relationship. Every time her husband abused her psychologically Maya would doubt herself. How was she a good role model for her children when she could not earn her husband’s respect? She asked herself this question countless times before she began to realize that maybe it wasn’t her, but her partner that was damaging her and their relationship.

economic abuse 2The “Finances & Abuse” group was led by Lucy, the Women’s Program Supervisor, and Sean, the Intern Program Supervsior, at DAP and was scheduled to meet once a week for a total of eight weeks. Previous to his counseling career, Sean was a financial counselor and devised a curriculum for the group that would best help them understand the psychological stress and power finances can have in a relationship. Sean shared, “those that have experienced direct economic abuse and/or are recovering from the effects of an abusive relationship know that those dynamics create financial problems unique to them that would not be advised in a typical financial counseling arena.”  When understanding domestic violence, many people assume the abuse is solely emotional or physical, but domestic abuse can span a wide range of psychological arrays, and finances are just one major part of that collection.

Before beginning the Women’s Program at DAP, women are asked what type of abuse they are experiencing or have experienced by the partner. 90% of women respond that they are being financially abused by their partner. Financial abuse entails various stress that the abuser can put on their partner such as forbidding them to work or spending the partner’s income as their own. Ultimately, all these financial experiences leave the victim feeling ashamed. Shame is the key feeling the “Finances & Abuse” group works to change.

Week after week of attending the “Finances & Abuse” group, Maya began to feel like she could finally start to take control of her own finances and devise a plan to help her climb out of debt. Each of the sessions she attended varied depending on topic. The group started with Understanding the Psychology of Finances and grew to end with creating a Cash Flow Analysis. Along with an Understanding Credit, Goal Setting, and a Debt Reduction Strategy class Maya began to process how she could apply these lessons to her own life. Alongside other members of the group, Maya designed her own cash flow analysis to help her keep track of the money going in and out of her finances. The cash flow analysis helped her set financial goals as well as changed her expectations on how she could spend her money. With a concrete financial plan in mind, Maya left with hope and possibility that she could create a steady financial future for her family.


Miranda’s Experiment: Role-playing in Men’s Group

IMG_0180“This is never going to work.” “My partner won’t understand.” This is the pushback Men’s Therapist, Miranda, would receive over and over again as she worked with the guys in her process group to create their self-control plan – their plan to avoid using abuse.

In the men’s program at Domestic Abuse Project, guys don’t always want to be there.  Many are court ordered – they aren’t in group by choice. They can be resistant to the fact that they did anything wrong, or they can downplay incidents of violence they have perpetrated.

The men’s program is long, at a minimum of 24 weeks, so that therapists have plenty of time to work with the men – helping them move away from this resistance so that they can take ownership of their violent behaviors and learn ways to control their actions.

With so much resistance to the plausibility of the self-control plan, Miranda came up with a new idea. Role-playing.

Miranda wasn’t sure how the new idea would go over. Role-playing can be difficult for a lot of folks, let alone the guys who really struggle with being open to a new process. Miranda worked to create scenarios that truly reflected the experiences of the men, giving each “partner” a description of the history of the relationship, allowing them to adopt this role. The men had to practice sharing their self-control plan with their “partner” and their “partner” had to accurately reflect how the discussion might evolve – the partner worrying due to a history of violence, of substance abuse, or even just a pattern of unwillingness to communicate about any issues in the relationship.

Miranda was surprised by the results – the guys were into it! Sitting in a semi-circle they leaned in close, drawn in to every interaction. They kept yelling, “scene!” to start and end the role-plays. Once one of the guys starting blaming his “partner” or using unproductive language, the other guys immediately would call him out on it! Other group members jumped in, adopting the “partner” role to add other plausible reactions, helping the guys practice in a scenario as real to life as possible.

More than that, the “partners” played their role well – engaging in a difficult topic in a true to life way. They used all the emotions that bubble up when discussing safety after violence. Many of the men portrayed their “partner” as compassionate and understanding. Every single pair was able to reach a positive resolution by the end of the role-play.

Usually when the clock nears 8pm, the guys are itching to get out of process group. But this night they wanted to keep role-playing, so much so that Miranda had to cut them off at 8:15. The guys urged that all men who write a self-control plan should have to role-play sharing the plan with their partner. And they wanted to help write the role-play scenarios themselves.

The hard work these men had done in the therapy group was paying off – they could take the perspective of their partner in an empathic way, they could call each other out on any partner-blaming or defensiveness, and they could successfully reach a resolution without resorting to abuse.  These are the moments that show that the slow work of therapy leads to a future without abuse for these men, their partners, and their families. This is the everyday work of creating a world free of domestic violence.

Support Healing: Help Us Provide “Snack Packs” for our Child Clients

Many of the children we work with are facing food insecurity and don’t have the resources to meet their basic needs – they are hungry. It is difficult for them to focus on healing from domestic abuse and trauma when they are concerned about where their next meal is coming from. And, we retain more clients – families come back for services – when we can help them meet some basic needs.

One way we’ve been helping meet clients’ basic needs is through Snack Packs. Snack Packs are brown bags full of items that form a fairly nutritional whole, are shelf-stable, and can be prepared without a stove.When children comes for therapy services they are able to take home a Snack Pack.

We rely greatly on volunteers to fulfill this need of our clients, to provide Snack Packs. Can you help us fill our shelves with Snack Packs?

Generally, here is what has been included in each bag before (brands don’t really matter, but might help with your planning):

  • chocolate pudding snack
  • small juice box (kirkland brand, apple, fruit punch, and apple berry options)
  • 1 fruit leather
  • Single serve oatmeal (just add water)
  • Granola bar
  • Fruit cup
  • Single serve Easy Mac (just add water)
  • Snack bag of Annie’s bunny crackers (assorted cinnamon, cheddar, chocolate chip, chocolate)
  • Snack bag of Snyder’s pretzels

Folks have either donated the bags pre-packaged, or donated all the things, and staff have packaged them. Feel free to email Anna Zaros at or call at 612-874-7063 x207 if you have any questions or to coordinate drop-off of your donation.


 SarahMeet the Interns: Sarah

Sarah is working towards her MSW in Clinical Social Work at St. Catherine University/University of St. Thomas. She hopes to gain a more intimate understanding of how domestic violence affects families as well as deepen her awareness of how to provide healthy alternatives throughout her time at DAP. Ending domestic violence is important to Sarah because she believes that helping one family or one generation heal can help make larger cultural shifts that our society deeply needs.





Meet the Interns: ZouaZoua

Zoua is working towards her Masters of Social Work degree in Clinical Mental Health. She decided to intern at DAP because she wanted to be a part of the holistic approach to ending domestic abuse. She believes that ending domestic abuse allows for the individual and family system to live a good quality of life which is a basic human right.






"It's important to tackle the issue as a community."

“It’s important to tackle the issue as a community.

Meet the Interns: Shellie

Shellie is working towards her MA in Counseling Psychology at Saint Mary’s University. She hopes to gain new and different insight and perspectives surrounding the issues of domestic violence throughout her time at DAP. Ending domestic abuse is important to Shellie because she knows that it is a social issue and affects us all.



Meet the Interns: Silvia (not pictured)

Silvia is studying to earn her Master of the Arts in Clinical Psychology at Argosy University – Twin Cities. She was drawn to DAP because of the belief in the empowerment of women and children through the use of a nondirective, person-centered approach. Throughout her time here, Silvia hopes to gain a better understanding of trauma-informed care, and hopes that our society will improve as a whole for future generations through the work that DAP does.

Meet the Interns: LaKandis (not pictured)

LaKandis is working towards a Bachelor’s degree in Human Services at Metropolitan State University. She decided to intern at DAP because she hopes to gain skills that she can utilize for violence prevention. She wants to learn to be part of the solution to end domestic violence. This is an important goal for her because she believes that women deserve the right to be happy and safe in relationships.

I believe in the structure and importance of family. A healthy family has a powerful impact on the well-being of individuals.

I believe in the structure and importance of family. A healthy family has a powerful impact on the well-being of individuals.

Meet the Interns: Laurie

Laurie is studying both Art Therapy and Marriage & Family Therapy at Adler Graduate School. She hopes to use art therapy to work with women and children rescued from human trafficking/sexual slavery, and she sees a correlation between domestic violence that is part of so many stories of these survivors. Throughout her time with DAP, Laurie hopes to learn more about domestic violence in the community – especially how to use effective and sensitive approaches to use with domestic violence survivors.



Meet the Interns: Britt (not pictured)

Britt is currently working towards a Master of Social Work degree from St. Kates/St. Thomas. She is most looking forward to seeing the progression of clients’ growth as they move through DAP’s programs. Ending domestic abuse is important to Britt because it’s a widespread issue that is rarely discussed even though it affects so many people either directly or indirectly. She believes that breaking the cycle of violence is important for promoting healthy relationships in future generations.



Meet the Interns: Jenna

Jenna is working towards her B.A. in Gender Studies with a minor in Violence Prevention and Intervention at Metro State University. Ending domestic abuse is important to her because she believes that all people should have the ability to live a happy, successful life.








“Abuse tends to be cyclical. By ending it with one person, we have the possibility to prevent it from occurring among others.”

Meet the Interns: Alex

Alex is studying Counseling Psychology at St. Mary’s University. She is interested in social justice and working with people who struggle with anger, anxiety, emotional regulation, and other difficult emotions. During her time as an intern, Alex hopes to gain empathy, courage, counseling skills, and insight into why abuse happens and how it can be prevented.








“I believe that the key to ending domestic violence requires both men and women to engage.”

Meet the Interns: Chee

Chee comes to us here at DAP from Augsburg College, where she is currently working towards her Master of Social Work degree. She decided to intern at DAP because she works as a domestic violence advocate for women and children, and wanted to gain more knowledge of the work to help perpetrators. Throughout her work with clients, Chee hopes to become a more well-rounded, open-minded advocate so that she can better serve the community.




Coming from a home where domestic violence took place and being a witness, I would never want anyone to go through that.

Meet the Interns: Armani

Armani is currently studying Psychology with an emphasis in Family Studies at Concordia University. She is coming full circle as an intern at DAP after having completed the Children’s Program when she was growing up. Armani hopes to be able to learn more about others’ experiences compared to her own, and hopes to better understand domestic violence from the male perspective.


“Being an Advocate is for me an honor because my liberation is bound with those who I work with. It is not only my responsibility to help others, but it is my capability.”

Meet the Advocates: Nora

Nora has been an Advocate at DAP for 6 months and is using her personal experiences to guide her in her work with clients. She became inspired to join our Advocacy team after having her own experience in which she felt that she had no voice in the criminal justice system, and wanted to help empower other women to have a voice. Nora believes in the mission of DAP and finds that if even only one person is helped by her work, she knows it was worth it. She identifies her work as an opportunity to heal other people by practicing the arts of seeing, feeling, hearing, understanding, and seeing the value of clients and accepting their perspective and needs.





“Knowing that I went through this and made it out keeps me going. I know that with hard work, my clients can make it through also. Nothing is easy and it takes hard work, whether you are the abuser or the perpetrator. Hurt people hurt people.”


Meet the Advocates: Barbara

Barbara has been an Advocate at DAP for 16 years and she’s seen it all. She became an Advocate because she is a survivor of domestic abuse herself, and knows that people in these situations often don’t want the relationship to end, they just want the abuse to end – and DAP can help to make that happen. What keeps Barbara going is knowing that she can help survivors live a life free from abuse, and that they know that there is someone who cares about them and will provide a shoulder to lean on. She finds comfort in knowing that she can help people find the power to turn abusive situations around, and that it is not the fault of the victim.

August 2015


Ben and the Protection Potion


Leah still remembers Ben every day with the Protection Potion on her desk.

When Ben’s mother told him he would not be coming to DAP anymore, he was confused. He loved coming and playing with all the different toys in the play rooms, and he liked talking with his therapist, Leah. Who would Leah play with when he left? How would he know she would not forget about him?
More than anything, Ben was worried Leah would miss him too much. So he created a protection potion to make sure she would be okay when he left—that way she would always have something to remember him by.

On Ben’s last day of play therapy, he took a mason jar off one of the shelves and dumped out the contents. Then, he collected the items that he needed for his protection potion and added them to the jar one by one. As he poured some yellow paint into the jar, he told Leah, “this is happiness, so that you can always feel happy.” He added red paint to represent fifteen hearts, “in case you ever need a new heart, you’ll have fifteen extra ones” he said. He added bubbles so that Leah could have the ability to breathe underwater, glitter to represent extra lives, and finally, sand for safety. He gave his potion to Leah and told her that he wanted her to always keep it on her desk so he knew she would be protected when he could no longer come to DAP.

For Leah, Ben’s potion illustrated Ben’s healing process. Through play therapy, child clients learn how to work through their trauma by using toys to represent their reality. Ben’s protection potion signified the trust that he had developed with Leah. And this trust is key—healthy attachment to a supportive adult is an important step in a child’s healing from domestic abuse. Therapists work to create that relationship with their clients and then help them transfer that relationship to an adult in the child’s life other than themselves. Ben didn’t add anything to his potion to symbolize it, but his potion was a true sign of the growth and healing he achieved through DAP.

At the end of their session, Leah told Ben that he would always be in her heart, and that his potion would always stay on that special spot on her desk. Today, the mason jar and its contents do continue to sit on Leah’s desk, protecting her from harm.

July 2015


Executive Director Sarah Clyne Celebrates 6 Months at DAP

DAP’s Executive Director Sarah Clyne shares: “We are well positioned to continue to broaden and strengthen our innovative programs through strategic partnerships and our proactive response to community need, as we have since our founding in 1979. “

In case you missed the news, DAP has added a new Executive Director to our ranks! At the beginning of 2015 Sarah Clyne became the third executive director in DAP’s history. Sarah comes to us from Joyce Preschool where she served as Executive Director for four years. She is also a member of Mayor Betsy Hodges’ Cradle-to-K cabinet, which works to eliminate disparities for children in the City of Minneapolis from before birth until three years of age. Sarah has a strong background in education and working with children in the K-12 public schools, and she brings this passion with her to DAP.

Sarah brings to DAP the leadership to continue and grow our programs, as well as some fresh ideas going forward. Throughout her time as Executive Director, Sarah hopes to elevate the unique work that we do here at DAP by creating relationships and collaborating with other similar organizations. By partnering with other organizations, we will be able to fill gaps in the resources available to our clients and continue to strengthen and improve all of our services. Some of Sarah’s specific short-term goals include growing our case management services, building upon the culturally specific groups we can offer, and adding services for children ages 0-3 to our youth services program. By continuing to draw attention to domestic violence, DAP can do what it has done for the past 36 years: drive transformation of individuals and communities and create environments free of domestic abuse.

“I was attracted to DAP’s unique holistic approach – that we have therapy for everyone in the family. When you think about the cycles of violence, it’s really important to address the needs of everyone who is affected, and DAP does that. I wanted to be part of an organization that looks at abuse from a unique perspective and helps the whole family heal.”

July 2015



Your Support Made the Difference!


July 2015




Save the Date



Help DAP Transform Families!

Join us in honoring the victims of domestic abuse and supporting those working to end it. Attend DAP’s Annual Fundraising Luncheon on Tuesday, October 13th.


 Be a Table Captain!

DAP is still looking for Table Captains for our luncheon fundraiser. Table Captains invite their circle of friends, colleagues, and family to fill their table of ten. Without captains, DAP could not make its fundraising goal each year. If you are able to support DAP in this very meaningful way, please contact Anna Zaros at right away.

Meet Our New Women’s Program Intern!

BeverlyBeverly originally started at DAP as an Advocate while she was interning with us during her undergraduate studies. She is now working with our Women’s Program while she works towards a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from St. Mary’s University. Throughout her time here, Beverly hopes to gain experience and develop skills that will help her grow as a therapist.

“I believe in the work that DAP is doing because I saw the need for healing through the women’s eyes that I advocated for. I also understand the need for the men whom I saw in court to have a place to receive help for dealing with their behaviors and learn ways to address these behaviors.”

Welcome to DAP, Yoel!

Welcome, Yoel!Yoel is currently pursuing his Masters Degree in Social Work at the University of Minnesota. He is excited to learn about domestic violence from a clinical context and hopes to gain perspective on how culture plays a role in domestic violence. Throughout his time as a Men’s and Children’s Program intern with Domestic Abuse Project, Yoel wants to understand domestic violence from a U.S. perspective and hopes to implement awareness in the immigrant communities of the Twin Cities.

“As a Masters of Social Work student focusing on Clinical and Community Practice, I want to understand the deeper impacts that domestic violence has on society.”

Welcome to DAP, Yoel!

June 2015

Get the Latest E-news from DAP!

Our e-newsletters are an easy way to keep up with all the innovative work that’s happening at DAP.  The e-newsletters are sent out every other month in a brief email. They provide in-depth reports about our programs, and are a great way to find out about upcoming events. Of course, you can rest assured that DAP will not share or sell your contact information.

E-news from DAP July 2015
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E-news from DAP August 2014
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