Episode 7: Forever Your Overwatch Foundation
Episode 7: Forever Your Overwatch Foundation
Episode 7 is a tough discussion about the prevalence of domestic violence and why it isn’t always that easy for victims to “just leave”. FYO founder and executive director, Nick Luciano, talks about the challenges victims of domestic violence face as well as the difficulties he has encountered in getting people to volunteer with the foundation due to the inherent dangers of the job.
Check out the Forever Your Overwatch website at: https://fyofoundation.org/
Alyssa Scolari [00:24]:
Hello everybody. Hope you all are off to a great week so far. Welcome to the Light After Trauma podcast. This is episode seven. I am your host, Alyssa Scolari, and today we have with us the executive director and founder of an organization that aims to help victims of domestic violence and human trafficking. His name is Nick Luciano.
Nick founded the Forever Your Overwatch Foundation when he recognized the need to train staff and clients at domestic violence shelters in areas such as personal security, active shooter situations and threat assessments.
Nick works as a master instructor at Fort Dix, New Jersey training pre-deploying troops in active shooter situations, combatives, tactics, warrior mindset, convoys and urban warfare.
Prior to that, Nick worked installing security systems and alarms for residential and commercial buildings. Nick also worked for Blackwater USA and DynCorp protecting dignitaries overseas in hostile areas, and served five years in the US Marine Corps.
Some of his training and education include Bachelor’s degree in communications, active shooter response training conducted by the Department of Homeland Security and CPR and AED qualified. Hi Nick, how are you?
Nick Luciano [01:58]:
Hi Alyssa. Thanks for having me.
Alyssa Scolari [02:00]:
Thank you so much for being here. I am really looking forward to learning a lot about the awesome work that you do. Could you just elaborate a little bit more about what Forever Your Overwatch is, how the organization came about and what specifically it is that you all do?
Nick Luciano [02:21]:
You have somebody, let’s say you have young, single mom and small children just got a restraining order against a violent abuser. Either the abuser was removed from the house or they fled somewhere else, sometimes to a hotel, to a shelter, a friend’s house or another place to live.
The abuser’s released from jail, typically, especially in this state with the Bail Reform Act. They’re living in fear, so they transition out of the shelter or wherever. They’re scared he’s going to break in. Lots of times there’s threats. History of abuse, pattern of abuse, weapons sometimes are involved, and they’re scared. They don’t have the means to get security equipment. They don’t have the means to move and change everything about themselves, so they have to stay at their house. They’re propping up chairs against the door and tying belts around doorknobs, things like that to stay safe, sleeping at night with a baseball bat on the couch, and most of them saying he wants the kids. Well, if he’s going to come in, I want to confront him first before the children.
What we do is we connect with those families through Domestic Violence agencies, Victim Witness advocates, other nonprofits. They usually refer us. We also have the means for the public themselves to just reach out to us as well and ask for help.
We go to the house, and we put in security measures: door security bars, cameras. You have to help with the restraining order violations. If they come back, give the cops a little bit teeth: locks, deadbolts, motion sensors, intrusion alarm, door alarms, window alarms, panic alarms. When you press it, it alerts your contacts your location and that you’re in danger.
We have a pepper spray that does that too. You shoot the pepper spray, and it notifies your emergency contacts that you’re in danger.
We do some basic self-protection work with them. Safety planning is big. We empower them to do their own safety planning. We give them tips, we walk through the house with them. We even incorporate them with the actual set up of some of the security measures. Sometimes they don’t want to do it and that’s fine. We don’t force anybody to do anything but the goal, it’s more of a mental goal just to get them thinking that they’re in charge of their own security, take that control back, empower them.
So, we turn their house into as safe as we can possibly get it by doing that. If the situation calls for it, we’ll put them up in emergency hotels, especially if the abuser has alluded police capture and it’s a real dangerous, violent situation, we’ll put them in hotels.
We also have a program, it’s fairly new. We can monitor the cameras that we put in for them if they choose. So, we’ll actually have a group of volunteers on standby taking shifts just watching the camera for them. If something happens, the abuser comes back, they’ve got a picture of him, a name, what happened and they’re on a [inaudible 00:05:32] with the client. So the abuser comes, they quickly call the client, he’s here, they call the police for them and they also speak through the camera, “Hey, stop. Police are on their way.” Hopefully, it’s enough to give them pause, get them to stop.
We also have another program where it’s called Carol’s Crusade Kit. If you’re still in an abusive situation and it’s difficult to contact us or anybody through friends, family or maybe the client themselves, if they’re able to get to a security means of communication, we meet with them and give them a disguised go bag that we call Carol’s Crusade Kit. In it, it has a new phone with new contacts in it, our contact, Domestic Violence Agency in your area’s contacts, law enforcement, obviously, other domestic violence resources, human trafficking, if that’s the case, pepper spray, the panic alarm, a little, mini hidden panic alarm.
Some cases, a recording device if you’re trying to compile evidence against the abuser to get that final restraining order and get a possible longer jail sentence to keep them safe because so many of these cases are he said/she said. The abuser tends to file a counter restraining order against the client saying, “She abused me too,” or “He abused me too.” The judge ends up going, “All right, look, kids, stop. Enough. Stay away from one another,” and that’s it. It’s handled like that.
Meanwhile, you’ve got a client who’s living in fear for her life and just gets scolded by a judge for almost like fighting with her brother. To try to compile evidence against them, we sneak them that stuff. It’s in the form of a hanger and other means, other household items that typically only they would have, only they would use.
Inside the phone has an Uber gift card, safety planning in it, what to do, where to go, steps to take, things like that.
Those are our services in a nutshell. We offer sometimes transportation. We’ll do whatever it is that we … Every client, every case is different. We’ll do whatever we have to to keep clients safe.
Alyssa Scolari [07:44]:
That’s incredible. I mean, you guys are like a team of guardian angels that help. It sounds like, and I know when you were talking, you were talking mostly about victims of domestic violence but you also had mentioned human trafficking.
Nick Luciano [08:00]:
Alyssa Scolari [08:01]:
So, you also work with the human trafficking victims.
Nick Luciano [08:06]:
Yeah. We’ve only done several, not many. A lot of people associate us with DV, domestic violence, which is the big bulk of our work. A lot of volunteers balk at helping those victims. No one wants to because of the sensitive nature of it and they already put themselves at risk helping the domestic violence victims. The human trafficking ones, it could get dicey, especially if you’re dealing with international.
My thing is, I just can’t say no to somebody living in fear if I have the means to help them. I’ll be more careful, but I’d be a hypocrite if I said, “No, I’m not going to help,” and there’s been a few like that where it’s dangerous. This is dangerous. I’m not especially brave or anything like that, but I just can’t say no to anybody who’s legitimately living in fear.
We had things that we do to keep ourselves safe. Right now, we’ve got our lead volunteer for South New Jersey, our regional team leader, Nicole. She’s handled a lot of those cases as well. We do things to keep ourselves safe, so I’m pretty confident in our measures that we take.
Alyssa Scolari [09:19]:
Now, who are all the people that make up the team? Are you guys just in New Jersey?
Nick Luciano [09:27]:
We’re just in New Jersey for right now although we have helped clients throughout the country, several. Not many but there have been clients that have just found us from other states. It’s really difficult for me to turn anyone down, although right now, we are so swamped with calls from New Jersey, I just can’t really help people in other states right now, as much as I want to. That always costs a little bit more. I go to Amazon and stuff and we’re doing video conferences. There’s no way to vet what’s going on with them at all.
Right now, we’re just so swamped and so short on volunteers, that I can only help New Jersey and local areas for right now. But we’ve got me. I’m the CEO/Founder, Vice President, Zisa Belfer and her husband, Marc. They’re in Monmouth County. They do a lot of the calls in Monmouth and a lot of fundraising and …
Alyssa Scolari [10:20]:
That’s up in North Jersey, right?
Nick Luciano [10:22]:
Yeah, by the shore.
Alyssa Scolari [10:24]:
By the shore. Okay.
Nick Luciano [10:25]:
Yeah, north shore area. They’ve done Middlesex and Ocean Counties as well. She does a lot of the fundraising with our main fundraiser, Cara Turchich who’s been great. She organized these yoga classes for the summer. She got a bunch of yoga instructors on Bradley Beach to do free classes for the public on the beach.
Alyssa Scolari [10:48]:
Oh, that’s awesome.
Nick Luciano [10:50]:
Yeah, and everybody donates. It’s a $10 donation to attend the class. The instructors don’t take a dime. We get all of it, so that’s been really keeping us afloat during the pandemic. Cara’s been great with her very creative means to raise money for us.
Then we’ve got Nicole, who’s been huge … Without her, I’d have to turn down cases without Nicole. We’re already swamped. She’s down here in South Jersey with me. I can’t imagine not having her. What we’re trying to do is recruit more volunteers, and she’s going to train them. Maybe I can take the calls and she can train volunteers. She’s been a huge asset. We’re hoping she stays forever.
We’ve got Jonas Sherman up in Monmouth County. These are all folks with security backgrounds. They do private security details, and they travel throughout the country. While they’re here, they help us out.
We’ve got Paul Carson. He’s active duty Air Force. He’s the one running the surveillance program that we have.
We’ve had a lot of volunteers come and go. Sometimes they have to disappear for a little bit and they come back, but we’ve got our board members who have been very, very supportive in everything that we do. There are so many to thank, I mean, I would probably take up your entire show just thanking the people who help us.
Alyssa Scolari [12:12]:
Just thanking people.
Nick Luciano [12:13]:
I mean, those are the core, the key players there.
Alyssa Scolari [12:16]:
That’s the team. I think it’s important to note that Forever Your Overwatch is a nonprofit, meaning, and just to make sure that I’m understanding this correctly, so that means that nobody pays for the service. The services that you provide to the victims are free.
Nick Luciano [12:38]:
Yes. They don’t pay a dime ever. We also offer self-protection training, safety planning, situational awareness-type classes. They’re really follow-up classes that we offer to the client, people we’ve already helped as well as a way for anybody in the public who needs our help to come to a class and reach out to us that way. We have a couple classes in Cherry Hill at Israeli Krav Maga in Cherry Hill, Don, the owner, Don Melnick. He’s on our board. He lets us use his gym for free for these.
Alyssa Scolari [13:11]:
Nick Luciano [13:13]:
Doesn’t charge us a dime, so we train the women there and then we do some training there with him as well. Then we’ve got a couple places in Monmouth County that let us use their place to do the training. We’ve got a lot of supporters like that. It’s another part of our service, and I can’t wait to reanimate once this ends.
Alyssa Scolari [13:32]:
I know, once COVID is over. So you said a couple times that you guys are so swamped right now. Do you attribute COVID with the increase in DV incidents, because I know I’ve noticed that a lot in my private practice? There’s been a heightened amount of domestic violence, lots of abusive fights going on, but what are your thoughts on that?
Nick Luciano [14:02]:
If it’s not because of COVID. It’s the world’s biggest coincidence. I mean, I’ve been saying this to everybody. I was at work and talking to some of the guys. My wife and I, we get along great, and we noticed that we were getting a little snippy with one another, especially earlier on. That’s normal but you take that and you take somebody who’s already abusive, you take somebody who’s already got anger issues and then this just compounds that. When a normal individual might get snippy with somebody else, this individual just gets totally violent and crazy.
I ask anybody who’s listening, have you been short with somebody during this pandemic? I mean, I’m pretty sure we all have where you wouldn’t have before. Now you take somebody who’s already got some anger issues, a violent, abusive individual and then you add that, it’s a volcano.
Alyssa Scolari [14:55]:
It’s a nightmare. Absolutely. It’s so dangerous. So dangerous. Now, how long has Forever Your Overwatch been … So, you’re the founder. What year did you create this organization?
Nick Luciano [15:11]:
In February 2018.
Alyssa Scolari [15:14]:
February of 2018. So, can you talk a little bit about what your background was before and what inspired you to start this organization?
Nick Luciano [15:24]:
So, my background was I was in the Marine Corps, then I used to work for the State Department protecting dignitaries overseas in Iraq, Afghanistan. Started learning a lot about security measures, doing security assessments. I realized that security was a lot more than just hitting people and knowing how to shoot a gun. That was my awakening, doing all that.
Then I worked for ADT, putting in alarm systems, cameras, doing security assessments on homes. Then little by little, having these security type jobs, I started realizing self-protection, I call it self-protection, not self-defense. Self-defense congers up these images of women in the gym hitting bags, which is great. We do that too. We do that too, but it’s such a small part of the overall self-protection plan. So much more goes into it than just physical.
So, that’s when I really, during that time, I got educated on how to implement security measures to keep yourself safe and then in the last 10 years, I’ve been working at Fort Dix training the military before they go overseas. A lot of the course that we teach aren’t just shoot, run. People, when they think of the military, that’s what they think. Some of the courses is urban evasion, how to deescalate a situation, active shooter response, security assessments of an area of a location; all of that just tied in to this. Think of it as a bunch of [inaudible 00:16:55] of security.
You’ve got way out here, which is information, where’s the abuser now, to my friends and family, keep it on the lookout; police, my physical house, car, whatever that is and then you are the final ring. Our philosophy is address all of those rings of security all the way to you.
What inspired me was, it’s not a great story to tell. It’s nothing inspiring really. It was, for lack of a better word, an accident. I wanted to volunteer to teach. It was like, “I know all this stuff. Let me …” It’s a little bit different than your average security person. A lot of folks, “Tell them to get a gun and that’s it. Get this, do this and that’s it. You’re fine.” A lot of folks teaching in absolutes. There was just always this missing piece of security, huge missing piece.
I wanted to volunteer to teach at a domestic violence shelter. I have no idea why. It was out of nowhere. I think I was just sitting on the couch with my wife one night, and the way my mind works, it was like, “You know what, I want to do this.” She’s like-
Alyssa Scolari [18:01]:
It just came to you.
Nick Luciano [18:03]:
… “Yeah. Okay, do it.” So, I just emailed a couple agencies. Camden County Women’s Center got back to me first. In fact, they’re the only ones that got back at the time. They invited me down, a couple conversations, they wanted to really get to know me.
So then I taught a couple classes there, and speaking with some of the women there, they were telling me, “Look, I’m scared. I’m going to leave here, I’m going to go home. This is great learning how to punch a bag, but what am I going to do? The guy’s 300 pounds, six foot four. Got a gun. He’s going to stab me. What good is …” I started, “Yeah, there’s other things that you can do, security, you can move.” They go, “I don’t have the money for that.” None of them did.
So I did a GoFundMe, for, one to do security for the shelter itself because it had none and just to get inexpensive security items like door stop alarms, door security bars, little intrusion alarms that you just throw up against a door and they just make a loud siren when they go off, real basic stuff. I raised money for that and started passing that out at these classes.
One night, I get a phone call from one of the senior staff members at Camden County Women’s Center. They had a client. Now, I was ignorant. I thought that all their clients were in the shelter. I didn’t know how any of it worked. They go, “Yeah, she’s home and the guy said he’s going to go over there, he’s going to kill her.”
In my head, again, with all the research I’ve done, I had no idea that this was a possibility. I was like, “What do you mean he’s going to go over there and kill her. Well, call the cops.” Just like I tell people now and they ask [inaudible 00:19:44] response to me, that was my response.
Alyssa Scolari [19:46]:
Right. It seemed so simple.
Nick Luciano [19:49]:
“The cops don’t do that.” I’ve learned that over the last couple of years, they just don’t do that. I mean, they might drive by, but even if there’s a threat, they typically don’t sit on a house for hours or days, whatever.
I was like, “What do you want me to do? Why can’t you go there and bring her to the shelter?” Like, “Oh, we don’t do that. We can’t go to the house.” I was like, “All right, well I’ll go to the house.” I got a bunch of stuff, called a couple buddies up that I worked with and we showed up at the house. At the time, we didn’t know. I’m showing up with baseball bats and knives. Not smart. We were pretty ignorant. We’re thinking this guy is going to show up, we’re going to go … We’ve obviously matured and graduated since then. We put in a bunch of security measures and stayed with her for most of the night.
A month later, I get another call. Same thing. Then another call. So, started doing more GoFundMe. Then I realized I had to make us official. Then I had to do actual real fundraising. It just started growing from there. Next thing you know, I’m getting a call from this agency or this prosecutor’s office heard about us. I put up a crude website and just little by little started morphing.
We were doing the mission. Actually, at the time, I was doing the mission as we were still trying to get formal and official. I tell everybody, it’s not like I had some business plan. I didn’t have a roadmap. I still don’t have 100% of a roadmap. Our mission’s always evolving. The best analogy I can think of is changing an engine out at 70 miles an hour when we have to make a change. Request for help … it’s not going to stop. In fact, it just speeds up. So, that’s how we got started. It’s pretty much on accident. I just saw the need for it and I said, “Well, I guess I’ve got to do a little bit more. All right. I guess I’ve got to do a little bit more.”
Even the programs that we do, “Well, this is great, but he’s going to track me down. He put a device on my car.” “Okay. Let me get educated on how to use this tracker device that I got and do a sweep on your car,” and just little by little had to expand programs and learn as I go. I’ve asked others, volunteer board members to be a little bit patient because there’s no precedent, there’s no other organization like this in America. I’ve looked high and low.
Alyssa Scolari [22:19]:
You guys are the only ones that do what you do, and there’s such a learning curve because I always think of people who get in the field to combat domestic violence, it’s like playing a game of Wack-A-Mole. Just as soon as you squash one problem, there’s another abuser out there with a whole new set of tactics that you have to figure out how to keep that person safe. So you are constantly needing to learn, especially as technology updates itself and people become more and more easier to track, it’s got to be more than a full-time job. I mean …
Nick Luciano [22:55]:
I’ve got to do it part-time. I’ve got two little ones, a wife, a regular job. I think that’s why we preach patience with everyone. I wish it was a full-time job. We do struggle to get volunteers. I’m still doing a lot of house calls. It’s hard to do that and still do the CEO type stuff. So much paperwork, logistics, ordering equipment.
I get folks, “Why don’t you have this person do this or have this person do that.” I have done that but a lot of times people say, “All right, I’ll volunteer. I’ll do this,” and then they end up disappearing and I’m back at square one. I’ve got to get everything. So, until we get more established, until I get real solid, solid players and more of them, delegating is going to be a little bit difficult.
[inaudible 00:23:51] and Nicole have been great. Thank God for them. Tara has been amazing. I don’t know what I would do without them, but we still need more volunteers, more people to take on some of these tasks and to be reliable.
Alyssa Scolari [24:06]:
When you say you need volunteers, what are some things that you would expect from a volunteer for those listening out there that are interested in doing so?
Nick Luciano [24:16]:
It might sound corny but courage, passion. I’ll take courage and passion any day over experience. When I first started this, I was like, “Oh, I want to get military veterans.” I thought it would be great for vets. I was a vet. I work with vets, retired police officers, I thought people like that would be great. I’ve found that they don’t want to. They don’t want to volunteer. I’ve heard, “I’m not going into somebody’s house. You’re crazy.”
I had somebody who, the closest charity that we saw to this was somebody, they transport survivors to their court appearances, something like that. He told me I was “crazy” for going inside homes and being alone with some of the clients, which typically I’m not, but what are you hinting at? What do you mean? Why don’t we just admit what you’re talking about here? Why wouldn’t you go into a home? You hear liability and I hear, “No, you never know. Just not safe.” Liability gets thrown around quite a bit. I think it’s just a word they like to use.
Alyssa Scolari [25:22]:
More of an excuse.
Nick Luciano [25:24]:
Alyssa Scolari [25:24]:
It’s an easy word to throw out there. “Oh, it’s a liability. You can’t do that.”
Nick Luciano [25:29]:
I hear, “Oh, do you have insurance cover this?” “Yeah, I have insurance, but it’s,” which was almost impossible to get because, again, [crosstalk 00:25:39]. It was just, “I’m not comfortable doing this. I’m not comfortable doing that. I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to do that.” Like, “So, what you mean when you say you want to help people, you mean you want to hashtag things and post on Facebook, is what you mean.”
If no one’s going to the house, if no one is getting with them and doing follow-ups with them, I mean, how are you going to help them? How are you going to help them be safe? So, I’m a big believer of going to the homes and meeting them personally case by case. I’m not trying to disparage any other … That’s not what I’m trying to do, but what we’re doing, we have to do that. I mean, it’s been suggested to me, “Oh, why don’t you just Amazon them a bunch of security stuff and do virtual safety planning.” It’s not the same.
Alyssa Scolari [26:29]:
No, it’s not the same. If anything, it fosters more disconnect to do virtual safety planning. I think people feel more alone than ever.
Nick Luciano [26:39]:
That’s a good point. I mean, yeah, a lot of them said the same thing, psychologically just what we provide being in the homes with them.
Alyssa Scolari [26:47]:
Yes. It shows people that you are literally with them. I mean, there’s such a distance that comes from if you were to sit on a screen, there’s just such a distance and it sends that message that’s like, “Okay, I’m over here in my safety and you’re over there in your problems.” It just creates this disconnect. I totally agree with you on that one.
Nick Luciano [27:12]:
I was very disappointed at that. I mean, I’ve had retired cops and veterans reach out, express interest, and then when I told them what we do, I found myself defending what we do to them. Then it’s just, I’m like, “You know what, I’m not doing this. This is what we do. Are you in or are you out. Yes, I want volunteers, but I’m not going to change our mission to … If you’re not comfortable going into Camden to help out a single mom and her two kids, then I don’t want you. That simple. I just don’t.”
Sometimes I wonder if because they’re so security conscious, that maybe it’s made them a little bit too risk adverse. I have to worry. I have to wonder that, that, “Well, that’s not safe,” or “The police, are they waiting outside, are they …” “No. Sometimes we’ve asked them to but a lot of times they’re too busy and they can’t.”
I don’t have a quick reaction team that’s going to show up if I get into trouble. I don’t have armed guards hanging outside. I just don’t. This is what it is. I do everything I can to keep myself and the volunteers safe. We do training. We have self-protection items. Some of us wear vests. I’m trying to get more vests, body armor for us. But, at the end of the day, it’s a risk. We’re trying to help people who are living in fear. There’s an active threat of violence against them. That’s just, by nature, it comes with inherent risk to it.
Alyssa Scolari [28:44]:
What you’re doing is the equivalent to what firefighters do which is you’re walking into the fire. When you’re going to walk into a fire, there’s only so much protective gear you can put on, but that is the risk that you take in being a volunteer. If you are going to volunteer when it comes to domestic violence, you also can’t be somebody who says, “Oh, liability, oh this, oh that,” because when it comes to DV, nobody gives a shit about liability. Abusers don’t give a shit about liability. So, I can imagine it’s very hard to find people who are willing to commit to that because, in a way, it puts them at risk a little bit.
Nick Luciano [29:36]:
Oh yeah. I’m glad you said shit twice, and now I feel like I can say it now.
Alyssa Scolari [29:41]:
Oh yeah, we curse on this podcast. Life is ugly.
Nick Luciano [29:46]:
No, it’s true. Sometimes people are busy. I get it, family life. Folks are busy. People have school, family. I totally get it. Just a lot of people though who do a lot of talking, post on social media how they’re protectors and they’re a sheepdog. That’s an expression that just started several years back. They train. They’re always training. They go to the shooting range and they’re doing jujitsu. They’re doing mixed martial arts. They’re doing Krav. They’re working out and getting ready for the apocalypse. Like, “All right, look, I’ve got something right now that is real world if you want to stop training and maybe using that.”
Alyssa Scolari [30:30]:
Right. We’re in the apocalypse. I mean, domestic violence is as bad as it gets. I think people also are resistant to … and not just domestic violence, I know that’s the majority of who you work with but also with human trafficking. People love to turn a blind eye to it. They love to pretend like it’s not happening and it’s not a real thing.
Nick Luciano [30:54]:
Yeah. Even I didn’t know how prevalent it was until I started doing this. Obviously, I knew it was a thing. I’ve had family members impacted by it. It really wasn’t until I started doing this that I saw how widespread it was. In New Jersey alone, there’s an average of one intimate partner homicide a week, one per week where it’s a current or former intimate partner murders their significant other or ex-significant other. One per week in just this state. That’s murder. We’re not even talking about violent assaults and … That’s 27,000 a year, assaults in this state.
Haven’t even touched on human trafficking. Haven’t even talked about stalking. We help people who are stalked by strangers. That doesn’t technically fall under domestic violence. They get threats and they’re stalked by a total stranger for whatever reason wants to harm them. We help those individuals. We don’t even know what the stats are for that because they just classify that as murder. Pretty prevalent, more than people think.
Gone through news articles, and just in one year, I was able to find in this state just seven or eight, just in a year, typically a female. There was one male stalked by somebody was not a current or former partner and murdered. It’s them too. It’s in this state. The state’s not that big, so all these numbers, chances are it’s in your backyard.
Alyssa Scolari [32:20]:
Nick Luciano [32:22]:
This isn’t made up. This isn’t a Tom Clancy novel. This isn’t a movie.
Alyssa Scolari [32:27]:
This is real life, and the likelihood is, the fact of the matter is that those numbers are actually probably much higher because that’s just what’s reported. That’s just what we know about.
Nick Luciano [32:38]:
Absolutely. Of course, you’re not even talking about undocumented, illegals, people like that who you might not even know.
Alyssa Scolari [32:47]:
Because they’ll never go to the police. They’ll never seek help. Right. Right.
Nick Luciano [32:52]:
And a lot of other groups. It’s bad. It’s widespread. It’s everywhere. I mean, we’ve got to do our best to, especially me, I’m constantly refocusing my brain reminding myself that I can’t save the world, can’t save everybody alone, because the moment I get burned out and don’t want to do this anymore and it starts to negatively impact me family, then nobody benefits.
Alyssa Scolari [33:14]:
Exactly. Exactly. At the end of the day, you still have to put yourself and your family first because that’s what’s going to help you to help everybody else.
Because I know Forever Your Overwatch does accept donations, so if people wanted to donate, which for all of you who are listening out there, I highly recommend that you do. I had the pleasure of meeting a few people from Forever Your Overwatch. It was an event for victim services. This was back in 2019. I was able to see some of the services that they offer and some of the ways that they help their victims. The work that these people do is incredible and brave beyond words. Whether it’s $1, $3, $10, if you guys are able to go donate, Nick, how would they do that?
Nick Luciano [34:16]:
We have a Facebook page that you can donate to. It’s Forever Your Overwatch Foundation and then A Nonprofit That Protects and Empowers is the full name. But if you just type in Forever Your Overwatch, it’ll pop up.
We’re on Instagram, FYO Foundation. That’s typically how we refer to ourselves, FYO Foundation. We’re on Venmo. A lot of people like Venmo, at FYO Foundation. Venmo’s a big one. A lot of folks donate through there because it’s easy.
Alyssa Scolari [34:46]:
Yeah, it’s easy.
Nick Luciano [34:47]:
People do fundraisers on Facebook at FYO dash Foundation. Facebook’s a big one. A lot of folks do fundraisers for us. Every third Friday, we’re doing a virtual spin wheel raffle where we give away some prizes. $25 and your name goes on the wheel. We spin it. It’s an electronic wheel on the screen. We do that every third Friday.
We’ve got the yoga on the beach. We were doing self-protection classes to the public. We’re hoping to get those started up again here in the next couple months.
Then we’ve got our website, FYO Foundation dot org. That is going to change soon but if you go there now, it’ll direct you when we do change it. But it’s FYO Foundation dot org. There’s a donate button on that. Those are all the ways that you can donate to us.
Alyssa Scolari [35:44]:
If somebody wanted to seek help and seek services through you guys, they would just go to that website as well?
Nick Luciano [35:53]:
Yeah. They can also text us or call. Most people prefer to text. It’s 833-396-4357.
Alyssa Scolari [36:05]:
Awesome. Well, I appreciate you. I appreciate everything that you do. You guys are doing, truthfully, some of the toughest work out there. Domestic violence is an insidious beast as is human trafficking, so … Kudos to you for doing the work that so many people like to turn a blind eye to. It’s amazing.
Nick Luciano [36:31]:
Alyssa Scolari [36:33]:
I really appreciate you coming on the show. I know you’re very busy, so thank you so much.
Nick Luciano [36:39]:
Thank you. Have a good one. Appreciate you.
Alyssa Scolari [36:42]:
I hope you enjoyed today’s episode. For more information on today’s discussion and to sign up for the Light After Trauma Newsletter, head over to my website at alyssascolari.com.
Also, be sure to check out my Instagram for additional tips and resources at Alyssa underscore, Scolari underscore LPC. Thanks again for listening and take good care.