( ENSPIRE Feature ) Trish Steele Continues On Her Tireless Conquest to End Domestic Abuse With Programs such as Safe Passage and Time 2 Heal
ENSPIRE Contributor: Keegan Kerns
Trish Steele has often faced adversity, undergoing loss, bullying, domestic abuse, and more throughout her life. Yet, she never allowed those events to define her. Instead, she used these experiences to fuel her passion for doing true good that comes from the heart. With this passion, Trish Steele founded and worked as CEO of Safe Passage, which initially served as a shelter for physically abused and emotionally distraught women. When Safe Passage first started, Trish offered her own home to these women so that they could have a safe place to stay.
Trish Steele soon expanded Safe Passage’s influence, attaching it to other programs and giving it a larger pool of resources to help those involved in the program, including access to doctors, dentists, counselors, self-defense instructors, career mentors, and more. In addition, Trish Steele has spoken and written about Safe Passage and her journey with books such as “The Compelling Life-Changing Stories of 12 Women” and her new book “Discover the Mind of Steele,” which is releasing this month.
ENSPIRE was able to talk to Ms. Steele about her journey through life, dedication to Safe Passage Heals in addition to her upcoming book.
You’ve talked a bit about the immense adversity you faced during your childhood, including the loss of a father, a speech impediment, bullying, and more. How did you persevere through these difficulties and find your strength?
It all started at five years old. The support of family members, who took the time to see that I was hurting. But the greatest words of advice that I got that were pounded in my heart were the three words that came from my grandmother saying, “You are special.”
And in my book, I write about how powerful words are, the right words, the positive words. And that made me realize that despite the difficulties that I was facing, there was something special about me, and something extraordinary would come out of all that I was going through. So those three words that my grandmother gave, ‘”You are special,” really resonated with me as a young lady.
So, whenever I went through a holiday. I just meditated on those three words.
You also suffered domestic abuse, leading you to later start your Safe Passage program alongside several books on the issue. What would your first advice be to victims and friends and family who may not know how to help?
The most important advice is you have to tell that person that they are worth living. They are worth living, and they have to decide to leave and never come back.
It’s about them. It’s not about, “What am I going to do? What’s going to happen with the marriage? How are they going to live? How are they going to survive?” No. First, they have to realize their worth. If they don’t realize their worth, it will be tough for them to step out and do something and change their lives.
It’s not how much you love them. There’s a difference between love and worth. Loving them is not enough. You have to convince them they’re worthy and valuable. Why are they beneficial? Why should they step out?
Your level of dedication is immense, with your Safe Passage program transforming from a safe place in your own home to one of the nation’s most successful non-profits, helping thousands of people. How have you maintained this dedication over 27 years alongside your other work?
The first thing is I kept my passion burning—the passion for making things better.
The other thing that kept me dedicated was the gratitude I got from the victims. Their appreciation and success in breaking the cycle of domestic violence gave me more inspiration. It gave me more drive even through times when I was just too tired.
Hearing the testimonies of these women and how their lives have been transformed puts a smile on my face.
And that smile turns into this compassion. It makes me not want to give up. It’s like you’ve been awarded the lifetime achievement award.
You’ve released one book before entitled “The Compelling Life-Changing Stories of 12 Women”, and you’ll soon be releasing “Discover the Mind of Steele,” dealing more with your journey. Have you found it difficult in any way to speak to the adversity you’ve faced throughout your life, or have you grown more accustomed to it?
My life’s story has been a journey. It’s not only adversity and suffering; it’s been a journey of victories. Every time I go to read or write something about hardship, I get so inspired. I get so built up because I see this picture of this little girl, Patty, and the tremendous strength she had to get through all these fires.
From a young girl to a teenager, an adult, and now she’s 70 years old. Writing my book “Discover the Mind of Steele,” which talks about that journey, has been very inspiring. It was fun to relive those experiences and realize that you were victorious.
Your most recent program, Time2Heal, continues to support victims of COVID-19. So what’s the best way for the rest of us to get involved in this program to help others?
Time2Heal is a fantastic website that has a list of counselors you can develop a relationship with and that you can trust. From the 27 years of experience, I’ve had in helping women who have gone through drastic trials with abuse, the best way to get involved is to let people know there’s help.
There’s help and hope for a new life. And all they have to do is go to the website and get the free consultation. So time2Heal is about taking that time to heal because they’re not the only one that needs healing. Everyone needs healing.
Everyone’s been hit with the pandemic. Everyone has been hit with isolation. Everyone’s been hit with some sort of loss of a loved one or loss of finance, jobs, or whatever the situation. Everyone’s been affected. And so don’t feel out of place. This is your time for a second chance to move on with a new life.
The world may be falling apart, but you don’t have to fall apart with it. You have an opportunity to make a change in your life because you choose what you want for your life. Don’t let the government choose it for you. You decide for yourself.
You’ve received several awards for your volunteer service, including the President’s Volunteer Service Award from President Obama. How do you hope to inspire others to work towards something greater like you’ve done?
The first thing is you have to have a heart, a passion for helping people, and that’s by volunteering. Second, you’ve got to take the time to volunteer and have the compassion to make a difference in people’s lives.
If you want to volunteer just for your own selfish identity, that’s not going to work. You got to have passion. It’s got to be something that resonates in your heart, in your soul. Because if you don’t, you’re just going about doing something to pat yourself on the back.
These types of awards come to compassionate people. I’ve received so many kinds of awards. When you see my office, there are awards from every city council member because every single one of them felt my passion. It’s a passionate way of volunteering.
Second, find a charity that services people and ask them if they can volunteer. Take the time to study what the charity is about before you go ask to volunteer. What are they doing to help change lives? And you bring your gifts and talents there to make a difference.
You’re donating your gifts and talents so that you can help make a difference in these people’s lives. Once you do that, that’s when the charity recognizes that you should be honored because it’s coming from the heart.
Trish Steele’s dedication to such an important cause throughout her life, despite the adversity she has faced, is something we should all look towards as we try to find our passion for true charity coming from the heart. With over 27 years of commitment to improving the lives of women and children, Trish Steele is, without a doubt, worthy of the immense respect she gets. Hopefully, we can all glance a bit more at how that successful and charitable mind works in her new book “Discover the Mind of Steele.”