My name is Angel and 12 years ago my life came to a screeching halt. While surviving through the 6 years of abuse I had slowly alienated anyone including family who would have been willing to continue to help me get out of a deadly situation. This last beating was the worst I had ever suffered. My abuser’s “punishments” had been getting more severe and more frequent. This one almost killed me but I managed to get my children gathered up in the middle of the night and get off the hill where he kept us totally isolated. Having nowhere else to turn I ended up on the doorstep of the Emergency Support Shelter. The women there that night quickly ushered us in and gave us blankets and something hot to drink. As I was filling out paperwork they invited the children into the play room to rest and play. Something happened that night that changed my life. When I was done with the intake I went to gather my children and something made me stop in my tracks. I could hear my son (12 at the time) laughing at something. That may sound insignificant to some but to be honest I couldn’t remember the last time I had heard my baby boy laugh like that. ESS not only saved our lives but brought laughter back into our lives.