October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Read and share stories to honor survivors whose lives have been changed by domestic violence.

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Gisela Marin

In memory of Jessica Jessica N. Santos Foundation

Losing my only child, Jessica, to a random act of gun violence has left a void in my heart and my life that will NEVER be filled. My life was forever changed and destroyed on August 27, 2006, when her 19-year-old life was cut short in a random drive-by shooting. My beautiful girl was bright, charismatic — a college student pursuing her future in Criminal Justice/Forensics.

To honor her memory and legacy, I founded The Jessica N. Santos Foundation — a 501c3 nonprofit organization that awards annual scholarships at our local high school, Sleepy Hollow High School, and the University of New Haven. The symbol of the monarch butterfly has special meaning and is the logo for the foundation. The butterfly also stands for transformation, as I was able to transform this horrific tragedy into something positive by helping students accomplish their educational goals — something Jessica was not able to do. Jessica will forever live in the hearts of those who continue to lover her — “Fly Free Butterfly.”

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