“I stand with survivors because I am one,” shared Samantha Collier. She has been a mainstay at the Hope Shining Blue fundraising event, which supports Aurora Healing & Advocacy Services, since 2014. Samantha was an ambassador who helped launch the event, a survivor model, client and volunteer of Aurora Healing Center on Bruce, and now an outspoken advocate for survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault.
Samantha was molested by someone she knew between the ages of six and nine. She was raped in her own home at the age of 27. Most of her life she felt ashamed, alone and isolated. She suffered in unhealthy relationships because she didn’t know how to trust people. Then she started going to counseling and discovered Aurora Healing Center on Bruce. It changed her life.
“I took counseling and started volunteering all the time. I felt such a connection with the place and the people there,” Samantha shared. “I just felt welcome, and it helped me to open up.”
And open up, she did. Samantha is now a dedicated advocate for survivors of sexual and domestic violence. She created her own organization, Team Teal 365, and made it her full time job. She is especially passionate about educating young people on the meaning of consent, sexual boundaries and gender-based violence. She speaks often to students in Milwaukee Public Schools and other partnering organizations.
That tireless advocacy is why Samantha was chosen as the Thrive honoree for this year’s Hope Shining Blue event. For her, it means she’s come full circle.
“Being a thriver means it’s not just about me, it’s about empowering others. I hope I can help bring people out of the shadows and give them what was given to me—freedom,” Samantha explained.
How you can Stand with Survivors like Samantha
You can support survivors of sexual and domestic violence by making a gift here. Your support makes possible the free and confidential work provided by Aurora Healing & Advocacy Services.
Get our weekly digest of health & wellness tips