Joyful Heart Foundation’s Survivor Retreat Model

submission by heatherJHF
Joyful Heart Foundation’s Survivor Retreat Model

About Your Application

Organization(s) name(s):

Joyful Heart Foundation

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Describe Your Organization(s)

Non-profit organization

For-profit organization


Other (please specify below):

In one sentence, please describe what your organization does.


The mission of the Joyful Heart Foundation is to heal, educate and empower survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse, and to shed light into the darkness that surrounds these issues.

In one to three sentences, please describe your proposal.


The demand for our signature Survivor Retreat Program for survivors of domestic and sexual violence exceeds its availability and reach. In response, we have undertaken an ambitious research project in partnership with Georgetown University to evaluate our retreats. Our research findings will be used to create a replicable Retreat Model that organizations can implement and offer to survivors, the healing professionals who serve them, and communities beyond our current capacity and scope.

Where will you be working? Please be specific (e.g. Third Street Middle School; Boyle Heights; LA County).

Central LA

East LA

San Gabriel Valley

San Fernando Valley

South LA


South Bay

Antelope Valley

County of Los Angeles (countywide)

City of Los Angeles (citywide)


Other (please specify below):

How do you plan to use these resources to make change? (check all that apply)

Conduct research

Engage residents and stakeholders

Implement a pilot or new project

Expand a pilot or program

Mobilize for systems change

Advocate with policymakers and leaders

Implement and track policy

Other (please specify below):

How will your proposal improve the following “Live” metrics? (check all that apply)

Access to healthy food

Healthcare access

Exposure to air toxins

Number of households below the self-sufficiency index

Percent of imported water

Obesity rates

Housing affordability

Rates of homelessness

Walk/bike/transit score

Acres and miles of polluted waterways

Rates of mental illness

Prevalence of adverse childhood experiences (Dream Metric)

Percentage of LA communities that are resilient (Dream Metric)

Percentage of residents receiving coordinated healthcare services (Dream Metric)

Percentage of tree canopy cover (Dream Metric)

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the healthiest place to live.


The domestic violence and sexual assault service provider community currently faces an unprecedented challenge in effectively helping survivors understand and heal from the trauma that they have endured. The challenge is twofold: there is a void in access to and training for services that holistically address a survivor's mind, body and spirit in order to activate long-term change. And, for the past forty years, the field has been so entrenched in meeting the immediate needs of survivors with limited resources and support that staff are themselves suffering from high levels of vicarious trauma. A 2009 study in Violence Against Women found that 70% of participating domestic violence advocates met the criteria for clinical levels of post-traumatic stress disorder. As a result, despite extensive personal sacrifice from front line workers in the field, the services that survivors receive fail to meet the overwhelming need in both volume and quality. This challenge has been amplified in Los Angeles, where in just the last year alone, the LAPD announced that reports of sexual assault had increased by 21% and domestic violence incidents had increased by 33%.

Joyful Heart Foundation's four-day retreat is designed to restore participants' central nervous systems by addressing the physical, emotional and psychological impact of trauma, reducing the short and long term effects of this trauma, and ultimately laying the groundwork for participants to create healthy, permanent change in their own lives. Retreats are separately offered to survivors and healing professionals. The retreat offers 16 key workshops that integrate traditional and alternative healing methods and provide survivors with tools they can implement themselves, post retreat. Survivors are provided with nourishing meals, bodywork, time for reflection, and space and direction to create their own action plans for change and healing. With support from LA2050, JHF will complete 2 survivor retreats that will be evaluated by Georgetown University (a retreat for healing professionals was held and evaluated last year as part of this project). The aim of this project is to demonstrate the effectiveness of the retreat as a new approach to healing and as an evidence-informed model that organizations can bring to their staff and client populations. This project will make LA a better place to LIVE by promoting positive mental health outcomes, community resiliency and increased support for advocates in this work.

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.


The evaluation of the Retreat Model’s effectiveness will be led by Mary Ann Dutton, Ph.D., a Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University. Dr. Dutton is a well-respected clinical psychologist and researcher with over 20 years of extensive experience in the areas of intimate partner violence and alternative healing practices. The evaluation will include standardized quantitative assessment measures that track levels of PTSD symptoms, stress related outcomes, and the acquisition of healing and wellness competencies: self-efficacy, positive self-concept, increased self-compassion, healthy coping skills, decreased isolation, and increased connection among program participants. Qualitative assessments will target patterns of isolation and physical health factors that directly relate to survivors' abilities to access support from family, friends and community. Assessments will be captured in data collection periods: 2 weeks prior to retreat and 2 weeks and 3 and 6 months post retreat.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed? (check all that apply)

Money (financial capital)

Volunteers/staff (human capital)

Publicity/awareness (social capital)

Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles, etc.)


Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)

Community outreach

Network/relationship support

Quality improvement research

Other (please specify below):

11 Pink talk bubble tail c96b4a07ef1417e25d0bcf5c4cba4766b8bbf0382f07677990a9d5577885d4d7

I wish I could attend a retreat! I know it would be an amazing experience, just simply because nothing like this ever offered here. Come to Missouri soon! I applaud the work of the Joyful Heart Foundation and can stay that it helped me decided my career path to become a sexual assault nurse! Thank you for all you do.

by Shantelly_Marie
5 months ago

why aren't any of the resources going to provide HELP & HEALING to the actual survivors, rather than to the professionals for 'research'? As a survivor of child sexual abuse, that is of foremost importance to me, and the way i'd prefer to devote financial resources.

by divinemizm
5 months ago

Hats off to the JHF Team for their outstanding efforts in helping so many survivors claim back their lives. A platform have been created and with this sheer determination to end the violence among mankind, I foresee a happier place. A happier, peaceful and respectable place for our future pioneers. Many minds, one vision is all it takes, be it near or far across the ocean...

by RajeswariG
5 months ago

Just look at what Joyful Heart can do. For instance, the NO MORE campaign. It reaches millions of people daily. If one, just one person can help themselves or help a victim by these messages...just one.....then we have a winner! The Joyful Heart reaches millions. Reaching is step one. Healing is altogether different. And who better than to have to help heal these victims. JHF ALL THE WAY!

by mjbro
6 months ago

I have gifted my time and resources here in Hawaii to joyful heart for ten years. I have met so many survivors and people who work in this field who have been to a retreat ..they work. I have heard survivors stories of dramatic healing which they did not gain from other clinical help or just working on themselves by them selves. I have met case workers and people who work with survivors who have attended a retreat who emerge witha refreshed spirit and new personal self help tools. Joyful Heart does meaningful work that truly helps as they stay true to this mission statement supporting survivors and shining a bright light on these tough issues. I hope they get your vote too.

by NalaniMcL
6 months ago

Well stated! Prevention does begin when people can heal and show future generations that all abuse needs to stop!

by pdiprimi
6 months ago

As a survivor/advocate, this model would be what I would choose for myself and others. Joyful Heart has the vision, expertise and understanding of this grave issue, and how to heal all involved. Prevention begins when people can heal and pass that on to future generations!!!

by allforoneoneforall
6 months ago

Good luck, Joyful Heart! If any organization deserves this opportunity it is this one. The strides they are making and the commitment to helping survivors of abuse and sexual assault is amazing. With additional tools and resources this organization can make a large, positive impact on victims & survivors across the country.

by Denise4JH
6 months ago

This is an absolutely wonderful and amazing foundation. It's needed in every inch of every state and beyond. I wish it had been around when I was young. My life would be completely different from what it is today. Choosing The Joyful Heart Foundation is the best choice in making a difference to so many people in every walk of life. It's a need that has gone unheard for so many years. Now it's time. This foundation is one of a kind, going beyond what I've known any other wonderful organization to currently offer. This is the one. The one that will make the most difference. I love you all at The Joyful Heart Foundation, for all you do, for all you uncover, for your words, your work, your outreach, your 100% fearlessness, dedication, and tenacity. Thank you.

by oceanbeeg
6 months ago

This is amazing; there are no words to explain the overwhelming need for this EVERYWHERE. America must lead the way in this type of healing that truly is a lifelong journey. The Joyful Heart Foundation is the answer. Please choose this foundation. I love everything about this foundation. The story of its beginnings and all of the fantastically wonderful work, resources, HOPE, and LIFE that the JHF brings to the world is the answer to cries that have shattered the lives of many. In my humble opinion, this is the best, most wholesome charity that is very deserving. I am a survivor and this has changed my life; I never even went to one of their retreats, but the fact that it exists fills my heart with immense joy. Please choose or vote for The Joyful Heart Foundation. Thank you.

by leighmy22
6 months ago

Great Services for the community in the USA woman and Men dealing with Domestic Violence !

by nessiachick31
6 months ago

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Submission Began
Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Submission Ended
Tuesday, October 06, 2015
at 07:00 PM UTC

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Voting Began
Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Voting Ended
Tuesday, November 03, 2015
at 08:00 PM UTC

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Winner Announced
Tuesday, December 08, 2015