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Heal the Healers Profile: Yolanda Jimenez
Yolanda Jimenez has been the Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence in New York City since 2002.
“We get the newspapers delivered to the office every day. They get marked with little yellow tabs, highlighting a domestic violence incident. Each yellow tab represents someone we weren’t able to help. Each yellow tab is someone I wish I could have touched, someone I wish would have had contact with one of our agencies. Those little yellow tabs are proof that the conversation in the community needs to be ongoing.
Despite this, I believe unequivocally that the rewards of doing this work far outweigh the challenges. When I visit our centers and see children reading with their mothers, I see more than just that. I see the bond that’s being created; I know the backstory of the withdrawn child and family in crisis. To witness that stabilization, even just in that moment, is so heartening.
Children don’t need to be old enough to verbalize the violence they’re witnessing at home to be affected by it. So seeing small moments of peace or stability or happiness restored to these women and their children is deeply rewarding.
Knowing that our work is in some way helping is in itself a source of strength for me. Finding the time to care for myself is an ongoing challenge, though I try to make it a priority. I live by the water and walk there often, a practice that I find tremendously healing.
The little yellow tabs, they’ll still be there in the newspapers on my desk in the morning. But to know we’re touching people’s lives in a positive way helps keep me going.”