Helen Neal-Ali

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Bay Area Legal Services helped over 400 victims of domestic violence in the past year.

Helen Neal-Ali smiling in the park

I was in an abusive relationship.

In our final fight, my husband choked me and threw my three-year-old son across the room. That night I was homeless. I had $60 in my wallet and I stayed at a cheap hotel with my kids. The hotel was $30 and I had $30 left to survive. I ended up at The Spring of Tampa Bay with two young sons. I learned all about domestic violence at The Spring. They taught me that neither the emotional nor physical abuse was acceptable.

After coming out of The Spring, I became a head preschool teacher at my church school and I decided to become a spokesperson in order to help raise money for the shelter. It was my way of giving back. My abuser was gone, but I was still experiencing the effects of being in a bad relationship. I was living in low-income housing, on welfare, having panic attacks, taking anxiety drugs and having a real good pity party.

One day while speaking at the University of South Florida on a panel of domestic violence survivors, I was approached by former Deputy Director of Bay Area Legal Services, Jeanie Williamson. She stated, “I heard you say over and over again that you were making bad choices in relationships.” She mentioned that there was a workshop coming up that she thought would really help me. It was called a health realization workshop. I was really taken aback that a legal office saw the value in providing a self-help workshop to a domestic violence survivor!

Thanks to Bay Area Legal, that first day of the workshop changed my life forever. I have never been the same.

Helen Neal-Ali

Former Client

They told me, “A thought is just a thought. It’s only real if you put action to it.” This allowed me to let go of all of the stuff I was holding on to. I was so empowered that I started working with the workshop facilitator helping teen moms learn this new-found understanding. I also started sharing with my neighbors in the low-income complex I lived in. Within six months after that workshop, I started my own company, Life Changing Consulting & Associates, to help others in the community learn the principles that changed my own life.

With Bay Area Legal it wasn’t just that I got a lawyer: I got friends, and I got the support I needed for my children, which went beyond what any other lawyer would do. Bay Area Legal does not only support you as a legal client but supports you with resources to make you and your family self-sufficient and whole.

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If you live or have a case in Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas or Sarasota counties, we may be able to help.

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