Mom and children look for holiday cheer

Bikes, dolls and toy trains for the kids, and gas money for mom would help this family struggling to recover from domestic violence.

Jane was introduced to Tom by a friend in 2003. Both were in their late 20s, and Jane says she felt a strong connection to Tom.

She was pleased that they seemed to share many values, including wanting to be a family. They married after dating for a year and a half, and all was going well — until their first child, Thomas Jr., was born.

Tom Sr. began to show signs of jealousy, and criticized Janet for spending too much time with the baby. Jane said by the time their second child, Emily, was born, Tom would yell and throw things if his dinner was late because one of the children was sick.

Jane would try to calm Tom down. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes it didn't. Over the past year, Tom grew violent towards Jane. He began to hit her, and in one heated moment he strangled Jane into unconsciousness.

But it wasn't until the night that he hit his 6-year-old namesake that Jane knew she had to leave, not only for her safety, but also for the children's safety.

Jane called Community Works' HelpLine and was connected with a Dunn House advocate. Together they made a plan for Jane to safely leave and come to the shelter the next day.

The children were struggling emotionally. Thomas Jr. was acting out and hitting his mother. Emily, 4, was having nightmares and bed-wetting problems. But within weeks at the shelter, the children began to feel comfortable and safe. They played with other children in the shelter.

With the help of staff, Janet was able to create a resume, get a part-time job, acquire a domestic violence grant, and rent a small two-bedroom apartment in Medford. They moved into it in October.

But money is tight this holiday season, and there are a few things that would help the family enjoy the holidays: Bicycles for Emily and Thomas. Thomas would also like a Thomas the Train toy. Emily would like a Dora the Explorer doll. Janet would appreciate a gas card and a journal to write her thoughts and feelings down.

If you would like to help this family, please contact Gerry Sea at Community Works at 541-779-2393 ext, 222 or email

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or e-mail

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