Daystar helps abused women improve health, education, income & housing stability by providing up to 2 years of housing support and services.
Daystar, Inc. was founded in 1986 by Sister Irene Kay whose order, the Sisters of Mercy, was once at the center of health, education and social justice ministries in the region. At the forefront of the domestic violence movement, Milwaukee already had two emergency shelters for victims by that time, both of which teemed with the voices of the children who also found safety inside their walls. What did not exist was a haven for women without children, a sanctuary into which a mature battered woman could retreat to focus on her own needs and goals. Sr. Irene’s vision was for just such a space, a transitional facility where women could heal, put their lives in perspective and emerge self-confident. Her vision became Daystar.
Our mission is: "To provide a long term, safe haven where abused women are empowered to embrace life."
Twenty-nine years later, Daystar stands true to this mission, a residential program dedicated to victims of domestic violence, providing up to a two-year period of transitional support that enables women to set and achieve goals that lead toward peace and independence. Twenty-nine years is time enough to build a legacy. Ours is found in the lives of nearly 550 women who saw this simple mission as a transformative opportunity.
Daystar has a singular mission focus: To empower battered women to live stable lives free of violence and abuse. Toward that ultimate end, Daystar offers programs and services that target one or more of seven outcome objectives:
- Healing from the impact of physical and/or emotional trauma
- Overcoming obstacles to independence
- Building assets that promote resiliency and the ability to weather life’s storms
- Improving physical, mental and/or behavioral health
- Acquiring life skills, education and/or training that strengthens prospects for employment and sustained independence.
- Improving financial stability through earned income, access to benefits and effective resource management.
- Achieving stability in safe, permanent housing.
Rosa came to Daystar from a serious and dangerous situation. Knowing very little English, she was afraid to leave her abusive husband.
Today, Rosa is in school, working in an assembly plant, and just filed her own tax return for the first time. Rosa says that Daystar helped her to be happy again,
Daystar’s residents are diverse. The only two things they all have in common is victimization and poverty. But because the pursuit of education, employment, health and housing are built into the program framework, virtually every resident enrolled for service makes measurable progress toward some goal designed to address barriers to independence and improve prospects for employment and stable housing.
Friendships are formed, and residents learn to delight as much in the success of another as in their own. Group celebrations mark significant achievements, like a month free of cigarettes, or a job interview scheduled, or an “A” grade hard-earned. Ann lends clothes to Barb, who has a job interview; Carol helps Diane figure out how to use the software provided for her class. When Ellen finds out that her daughter from out of state has been hospitalized with cancer, the entire house goes into a scramble to help her get to the airport on time.
We don’t try to quantify or measure the emotional healing that takes place at Daystar. We haven’t yet identified a tool that would enable us to do that. We are content to observe it, and to document it in the only way we know how by sharing those observations with others who share our vision.
This is Daystar. And this is what can be accomplished with your support.
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