Organization helps victims of domestic, sexual, human trafficking abuse transform homes

Courtesy photo: Denese Lopez of W.E.L.L. "We are capable of achieving anything in life we believe. Sometimes we just need someone to give us a little push."
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Part 1 of a 3-part series

June is a month known for celebrations – weddings, Father’s Day, Flag Day, and lots of picnics and beach trips thanks to weather that’s usually quite amicable.  This June, a family in Rialto will be celebrating a new beginning of sorts, thanks to an organization called W.E.L.L. (Women Empowered through Labors of Love).

W.E.LL. is the brainchild of Denese Lopez, founded in January of 2018 in Whittier, California.  It’s an organization that is committed to empowering women and children survivors of domestic, sexual and human trafficking abuse.  The focus of her group is spotlighted on the survivors’ living space.  The idea for this emphasis came to Lopez in her time as a volunteer at a domestic violence emergency shelter for women and children.  Having fled from their abuser, they would come to the shelter with only the clothes on their backs and sometimes very few other things.  

Around the same time, Lopez had experienced divorce, and found herself a single mother with priorities of putting food on the table, clothes on everyone’s back and a roof over the family’s head.  Just like the people she was rendering aid to in the shelter, anything outside of needs for survival were not high on the “get list”.  As she looked around her house, she longed for a home pleasantly decorated that would be warm and inviting to others as well as her family, but that was a luxury far beyond her reach.

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As the survivors she came to know and befriend would leave the shelter for their new lives, she would think about how they deserved to go home to a place that would be fitting of their new beginning.  Lopez felt they should be able to start over with a beautiful place to call home, to be a haven of peace and safety for the family and to offer a welcoming place for their friends and family to visit. 

So many times, Lopez explained, abused women are cut off from others, and their homes are a source of embarrassment or shame to them.  One positive way to enforce their new life changes is to see that their living spaces are beautiful and open and inviting, so they can live each day in a tranquil respite while feeling pride when they want to welcome others into their home. 

The first goal of the group was to have groups of women volunteers go into a home and transform it.  Painting, repair, new carpets, rugs, new furnishings and wall hangings are all just a part of W.E.L.L.’s transformation plan.  Beds, mattresses, kitchen tables, all help complete the total home makeover for the newly transitioned families.  

The family of Leanne Nuckolls in Rialto was chosen for that sort of a transformation in June 2019.  Nuckolls was nominated for the surprise house makeover by a group in Loma Linda, and her home’s transformation will take place at the end of June.   The organization accepts and is always in need of volunteers in all areas.  Monetary donations, companies who can sponsor a home renovation are always greatly appreciated, and furniture stores who are willing to donate couches, mattresses, beds, kitchen tables, lamps, etc. are sought after.  Gift cards from Home Goods, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Marshalls, etc. are always highly desired.  If you are interested in helping W.E.L.L. meet their goals in helping other survivors of domestic, sexual, and human trafficking abuse, you can contact them by email at or by telephone at 562-204-6183. 

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