Halle Berry: Helps women build new lives

Women's Impact Report 2012: Power of Women Honoree

Helps women build new lives with the Jenesse Cente, which offers shelter and an array of services for victims of domestic violence

Who:As the first African-American woman to win a best actress Academy Award (“Monster’s Ball,” 2002), Halle Berry has been blazing trails and taking on challenging roles. She will soon be seen with Tom Hanks in the ambitious Warner Bros. epic “Cloud Atlas,” based on the book of the same name by David Mitchell, and directed by Tom Tykwer, and Andy and Lana Wachowski.

What: Founded in 1980 by five African-American women who survived domestic violence, the Jenesse Center serves as a vital community resource for domestic violence victims. In addition to operating transitional shelters in the Los Angeles area, it offers educational and mental health and programs, runs a 24-hour domestic violence hotline and offers free legal assistance for those in need.

Why: “I reflect often on the lives Jenesse has been able to save because somebody heard Halle talk about domestic violence and that there is a way out,” says Jenesse Center executive director Karen Earl. “Her involvement has challenged the very reaches of our program. We get calls from all over the country and the world because somebody heard her say in a magazine or on a TV program that she works with Jenesse Center.”

What’s next: Berry is spearheading the renovation of emergency shelters that serve as a safe haven for victims of domestic abuse and a place to rebuild their lives. “Through living in an apartment that was designed with love and attention to detail that is reflective of modern-day living, I believe these women and children will have an amazing opportunity to begin to live a reality that is possible and most importantly, begin to dream the dream for themselves,” Berry says. The Center is also working on a volunteer-driven community center that offers family services and focuses on domestic violence prevention.

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