Santa Clarita resident Jane Lopez said moving into the Santa Clarita Valley six years ago changed her life.
“Moving here has changed a lot for myself and my family,” Lopez said. “I now can say I am a survivor, not a victim. It’s been a journey you don’t realize until you look back. I’ve grown I’ve changed, I became better than I was before.”
Now she’s being honored as one of six honorees for the 2019 Single Mothers Outreach Empowering HeArts Gala.
Lopez is a single mother of five children and a domestic violence survivor.
“I felt like I was going into hiding,” she said about her move to SCV more than six years ago. “Sometimes, you feel alone. But now, out here, I don’t feel alone. I can turn to someone in these groups I’ve been introduced to. I’ve made some amazing friends.”
Lopez believes people come into our lives for a reason. After moving here, she met another single mother, who introduced her to the Single Mothers Outreach program.
From there, it was a domino effect. She met ladies from Zonta International and the Domestic Violence Center.
She also founded South Hills Santa Clarita Church. “It’s the perfect place for imperfect people,” she said. “Through all these different places, it changed me.I grew, I learned a lot of different things.”
One of those things she learned is to grieve. Her oldest, her step-son was killed three years ago, she said. “We found out through social media, that’s how we found out. It was a really hard time in my life.”
A life of challenges, that she continued to overcome. “We had to get through a lot more than most people have to,” she said. “People come into our paths to help us with these things. “It takes a village to help a broken person come back to life. A strong village to help people heal.”
Lopez feels as the groups she’s found and joined have helped her with her journey. and when she was nominated she was in shock.
“It is a great honor, it really is. I’m still in shock,” she said. I do not like being center of attention, this is very difficult for me.”
She lives her life with integrity, the theme of this years gala. Integrity to her is a person of character, she said. “They represent who they are.”
At the gala on Feb. 9, artist Zony Gordon will reveal a piece of art representing and telling Lopez’s story.
“I put everything in her hands and said this is who I am,” Lopez said. “I am excited to see what she’s going to do. They take from our stories, see things through my eyes and put it into her artwork”
She is grateful for the strong family foundation she had to get her through her challenges.
“They are my biggest support, biggest cheerleaders,” Lopez said. “It’s the best feeling when kids say they are proud of me. I’m very blessed and grateful.”
For those who may be in a situation she has gone through, she wants them to know, they are not alone, she said. “They can get the same help I got.”