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March 2017

IN THIS ISSUE - March 2017

  • Handbags for Hope Launches
  • National Conference on Crimes Against Women
  • Teen Ambassadors of Hope
  • Board Spotlight
  • Advocate Spotlight

10th Annual Handbags for Hope Drive

The 10th Annual Handbags for Hope drive is currently in full swing! Handbags for Hope is an essential means for Texas Advocacy Project (The Project) to place life-saving legal information in the hands of victims as they transition out of domestic violence shelters and begin the process of rebuilding their lives.  

Here is how the process works:  After The Project receives the handbags, volunteers clean the handbags and fit each one with a discreet tag that lists the Project’s toll-free legal line.  That phone number will always be accessible and is not easily discoverable by an abuser.  Safety planning and economic empowerment pamphlets are also included.  Once the bags are distributed to family shelters across Texas, the children there are then able to select one of the handbags to give to their mother on Mother’s Day. 

Handbags for Hope has become well-known throughout the state and shelters have come to rely on these bags as critical resources.  Erin Cooper, Community Relations Coordinator at SAFE, the new merger between Austin Children’s Shelter and SafePlace, recently commented, “We at SAFE so appreciate the support from Texas Advocacy Project and the bags they donate through the Handbags for Hope drive. We serve many different individuals with numerous unique needs, and we count on organizations like The Project to help us make sure we always have whatever they request on hand. Thank you!”

As a new addition this year, The Project has partnered with Juliet Ristorante on Barton Springs Road for a Hope Brunch to mark the final week of handbag collections. This event is the perfect opportunity to enjoy an Italian American style brunch in a beautiful setting and complete your handbag donations.  See the Upcoming Events section for link to purchase tickets.  A portion of every ticket sold will be graciously donated to Texas Advocacy Project.

The Handbags for Hope Drive will run thru March 31st. Drop off locations are listed on our website, If you would like to donate new or gently used purses or would like to be a drop off location, please contact, Jose Paez, Project Manager, at

Texas Advocacy Project Slated to Present at the National Conference Crimes Against Women

For the second year, the team at Texas Advocacy Project is presenting at the Conference on Crimes Against Women (CCAW) held in Dallas on May 22-25, 2017.  Now in its 12th year, the conference is co-hosted by The Dallas Police Department and the Genesis Women’s Shelter. 

Teen Ambassadors of Hope Campaign Now Accepting Applications

Visit to apply.


Jose Rangel, Of Counsel at Cantilo & Bennett, L.L.P. here in Austin, has served on The Project’s Board of Directors since 2013 and is currently presiding as Board Chair.
Rangel has come to understand that survivor empowerment, including emotional and moral support, is crucial.  He said, “The Project, in addition to providing legal services, helps victims find their voice, acknowledge their self-worth, and advocate for themselves.  Our support ultimately affords victims of abuse, as well as their children, opportunities for a safer, healthier, and more wholesome life."


Sarah Manning developed an interest in the domestic violence movement while studying for her master’s degree. She recognized the complexity, fear, and danger that survivors are faced with as they navigate through the convoluted legal system in order to leave their abuser. With that in mind, she wanted to help make it easier for survivors to start the process and help them feel supported as well as safe.