SOUTH DALLAS - What started as an online campaign has led to a movement. Anita Hawkins, founder of Find One Reason to Smile, a Facebook page that strives to inspire the community, has given Debra Bowles several thousand reasons to smile.
"I am here today to present this check from Find One Reason to Smile of $14,400," Hawkins announced Thursday.
The cash will help take care of victims at the outreach center Bowles started in 2004. Women Called Moses is the only domestic abuse shelter in South Dallas.
"I am already calculating in my head," Bowles said with a big smile.
She's calculating all the bus passes, food, supplies, and shelter that the money will buy. But there's one thing they desperately need.
"We need a van. Right now, I've been using my personal vehicle," Bowles said.
But there is a bigger connection between these two other than the check they're holding together. Hawkins knows about domestic abuse first hand.
"Two older brothers. Two of the three. One fondled me pretty much on the regular, and my oldest brother had sex with me pretty much daily," Hawkins said. "And it wasn't until we had our launch party when Debra Bowles was up talking about her story that gave me that spark."
That spark inspired her to raise money from folks in North Texas to help women in South Dallas.
Women Called Moses calls itself an underground railroad for victims of domestic violence. With help from survivors like Anita Hawkins, they're trying to end the cycle of violence.
"I don't care where you are. This is going on," Hawkins said. "People are suffering. People need help. People need assistance."