Hope for the Hurt is a small, but highly important new nonprofit organization here in Buffalo, NY, founded by twenty-one-year-old Logan Spaschak. Logan created Hope for the Hurt in 2016 and in response to his own dire circumstances of living in a home where for many years he suffered abuse and domestic violence. His crusade to bring hope to other young people who have also experienced violence in the home started when he was just 17 years old, and he began fundraising to help prevent domestic violence.
Now, four years later he has established ‘Hope for the Hurt,’ his own nonprofit that made its public launch last week, to support his commitment to raising awareness of the domestic violence. He wants young people to know they are not alone, that domestic violence is an overwhelming problem in Erie County, and how important it is to find and have positive relationships in their lives.
“I am here to tell you that I have become a ‘Difference Maker’ – I am asking you to become a Difference Maker with me,” Logan’s mantra and call to action he puts forward in his public speaking engagements, especially when he speaks to young school-age kids.
Violence in the home is an epidemic that rages throughout Erie County. Fourteen thousand (14,000) domestic violence calls were made to police last year, confirming the reality that 1 in every 3 women and 1 in every 4 adult males are physically abused by an intimate partner at some stage in their lifetime. To further demonstrate the public health crisis created by violence in the home and its impact, 4 women are murdered every month in Erie County alone, as victims of domestic violence. Surveys show another harsh reality that just 1 out of every 7 incidents of domestic violence are reported. Those 14,000 calls represent the 1 in 7 circumstances that get reported.
Logan’s story started when his mother married a very abusive man, whose abuse, in turn, adversely affected him. During those years, one of the ways he was mistreated was being alienated from his biological father, unable to see or spend time with him. At one point, Logan’s father gave him a guitar and said to him that any notes he played, any chords he strummed, and whatever songs he discovered would be his and his alone – an exchange cherished by Logan. “It was like giving unlimited power to someone who was 100% powerless,” remarked Logan.
When he was 15, his mother finally got divorced, and Logan changed his life as well. He continued playing guitar, moved in with his father, changed schools and began counseling, he pushed and pushed himself through to a better life. Today Logan identifies with hope. “I want you to know that you can have hope, true hope. I am living proof,” he states. “Over time, I began to respect my Mom in a new way. I learned she had always loved me, but she felt helpless and needed to find her own strength to escape. The healthier I got, the angrier I became toward domestic violence. I wanted to do something about it!”
Logan started his quest to raise money for the Family Justice Center, and today, he is often a speaker at their domestic violence awareness events. “I share my story publicly,” states Logan. “For me, it really was a journey, my road to hope.” The introduction to his short film is, The Road To Hope. It shows the loneliness and pain of domestic violence and abuse. It is important for Logan to have the viewer’s eyes opened to the severity of this problem.
“Logan is an extraordinary human being! He’s been volunteering with the Family Justice Center for several years sharing his heart-wrenching story of abuse from a stepfather and his remarkable healing journey,” said Mary Travers Murphy, CEO, Family Justice Center. “Logan has addressed thousands of students and adults across Erie County and his ability to put a face to this public health crisis has been a game changer. He’s raised thousands of dollars for the Family Justice Center, created his own not for profit, and his agency, Hope For the Hurt, is positively impacting lives. Daily. We are beyond blessed to have him on our team!”
John Spaschak, Logan’s biological father beams with pride, “I cannot begin to express how proud I am of the work Logan has done. Not just healing himself, a process that demanded he must face his own fears and grow courage along with going through intensive counseling.” But now he has gone even further,” he remarked. “His work to create Hope For The Hurt, Inc and the telling of his story has raised thousands of dollars and touched the hearts of a thousand people by increasing awareness on the need to fight against domestic violence.” Logan’s father continued, “He is only 21 years old and has accomplished so much already. I look forward to all that he and Hope For The Hurt will achieve.”
Domestic Violence experts believe the most effective way to prevent domestic violence is to raise awareness. While helping victims is critically important, preventing someone from experiencing domestic violence is better than helping them recover from abuse. Hope For The Hurt is invested in that preventative work. The organization is aligned with the Buffalo Family Justice Center and the effort to get victims the proper help they need when they come forward. Hope for the Hurt wants to help relieve some of the fear and shame that prevents people from stepping forward, and help make it less difficult for victims to make the choice to leave their situation.
Logan’s work has taken him to different cities and counties around the State. He was given the opportunity to address hundreds of professionals as well as lay people working in the court system who are influencers to reinforce the critical need to address domestic violence through acts of prevention.
Logan believes that a difference can be made. His dream is for Hope For The Hurt to have a true impact on finding ways to end domestic violence and support victims in their quest to recover and have better lives.
Click for more information Hope For The Hurt.
Photos by Dorian Volsch, Nate Rogers and John Spaschak