Losing someone you love is difficult and when you add violence to the loss it makes it even more heart wrenching. Break the Silence against Domestic Violence honors our angels by shining a light on their memory and their story. It is our honor to memorialize our angels because they are a big part in why we are driven to create the largest impact possible. It is our angels who also remind us to break our silence.
Since the inception of BTS, we have closely worked and have supported dozens of families whom have lost loved ones to domestic violence to honor their angels in special ways.
Angels Will Soar Scholarship: This special award is in honor of every angel who we have lost because of domestic violence. This “Highest Honors” awards one deserving student $3,000 to pursue their academic career and empower their journey as they pursue their dreams. We honor: Sunny King, Alexandra Kennedy, Amaya Cruz, Sandra Hocker, Tawnee Baird, Sonia Trucks, Nova Fran’Cess Henry and Ava Safiya Henry-Curry, Melissa Platt, Megan Lawrence, Michel Rose David, Danae Adkins, Kristine Elizabeth Meza, Alicia Weaver Scott, Gloria Wilson, Noemi Villarreal, Diana Gonzalez, Shenay and Baby Kyana, Sandra Kay Perry and Sierra Jo Perry, Sarah Cooper, Melissa Ramos Saenz, Geri Evelyn Griffith Duncan, Vanessa Bobo, Katrinna Hocking, Keltsie Gerlach, Shelby Harmon, Stacey Jane Plummer, Diamond Ebron, Heidy Wagner, Mandi Collins, and all unsolved domestic violence cases – this award is in honor of all of our Angels.
In 2015, we launched the Michel Rose Advocate of Change Award to honor domestic violence advocates for their continued efforts to raise awareness and to serve those affected by abuse. Michel Rose, a 22-year old bright, beautiful, and kind young woman was murdered on December 10, 2010 a few feet away from her doorstep by her estranged boyfriend. Michel had a passion for helping others and was a pure gift to be around. BTS has recognized four survivors who have embodied giving back to others and sharing their love just like our dear Michel.
Michelle Baggett-Dukes was very involved with her daughters education, making sure they had all of that they needed in order to be successful. All of this while she was pursing her own degree. We hope the Michelle’s Dream Scholarship will allow a student to pursue their dreams and also become an advocate for domestic violence victims.
Arnisha’s Legacy Scholarship: Arnisha Harris was my sister and best friend. She loved hard and gave with her heart. All her days she left me knowing it’s important to give and always look on the brighter side of things no matter your own personal situation. Her memory is important to me and I feel that with this scholarship it is just one way to represent who my sister was and lived up to be.
Tara’s Legacy Scholarship: Tara was an extrovert, sassy, large and in charge. Tara was the 3rd child of the family but always acted as if she were the oldest of the entire family. She was very dedicated and loyal to her sons. Her sons were her whole world, followed closely by the rest of her family. She loved fast cars, 4 wheeling, hiking, camping and the outdoors. She was afraid of heights however. She also was a girlie girl and loved makeup and high heels. Tara’s scholarship is given to inspire, give hope and courage to victims of abuse.
Audrey Atkinson was 19 years old when her ex-fiancé murdered her. She left behind a 8 month old baby boy. Audrey was very outgoing and never met a stranger. She loved to smile and make people laugh. She also loved dandelions and strawberries. Audrey had dreams to become a dentist and was going to school to see her dreams come true. She also worked part time to support her baby. Her young life was cut too short and knowing that a scholarship in memory of Audrey will help to make someone else’s dreams come true means the world to me and to her extended family. It is my hope that the recipient of Audrey’s Dream Scholarship further their education and see their dreams come true.
In 2015, BTS also joined hands with two families in Texas to offer academic scholarships for students affected by domestic violence. Jennifer Krieger and her teenage daughter Kelsie were killed in May of 2013. To remember these two precious ladies, we offer the Kelsie & Jennifer’s Light Scholarship.
Tracie Lee Travis Legacy’s Scholarship: In 2015, Tracie Travis was savagely murdered by her boyfriend after months of hiding her abuse. She left behind her two precious children of whom she was so very proud of. She was smart, witty, funny, and a joy to be around. Those who knew her, loved her. Whatever she set her mind to – she was committed. This year our family will be giving away a scholarship in honor of our Angel Traci Lee Travis to help someone overcome their abuse and move on with their life.
Brandi “Pico” Kubos life tragically ended at the young age of 22 in a small town called LaGrange, Texas. Brandi was the party after the party, she was full of life, laughter, and loved making others laugh out loud. She has a beautiful spirit and is deeply missed by many. Her family wants to continue sharing Brandi with many, so they’ve created the Brandi’s Legacy scholarship to honor one undergraduate student pursing their educational dreams. Losing a daughter to domestic violence leaves a mother with so much heartache and many fears. One of her mama’s biggest fears is growing old and getting Alzheimer’s and forgetting that Brandi existed. You see she was only 22 and had no children to carry on her memory after she was stolen from us. But because of Brandi’s Legacy Scholarship and the work that Break the Silence Against Domestic Violence is doing her mama Tammy Willett no longer has that fear. Because this will keep her memory alive long after we are gone. Somehow that makes losing her a little easier to live with.
Cotoya’s Destiny Scholarship: Words cannot express the love and joy it was to have My sister, my best friend and now My Angel Cotoya in my life. She was as quirky as they come and just enjoyed life to the fullest. She enjoyed music and just loved to sit back relax and have a great time making everyone laugh and enjoy themselves. She loved her kids very much and did everything she could to make sure they had the love attention and everything that they needed to thrive in life. She had so many dreams of doing so many things in life from going to concerts and travelling the world to making a better life for her and the family. To have her being honored with this scholarship is amazing it will give someone else the chance to make the best out of there lives and live a happy life and explore everything this great world has to offer. Even though her dreams were cut short and she was not able to fulfill her destiny on earth. I know that through this scholarship she will live on through whomever is the recipient of this wonderful award. I would like to thank Break The Silence and everyone for giving her a voice to be lived on and cherished through others.
Sacha’s Love Scholarship: 22 year old Sacha Marino was killed June 18, 2002 by her estranged ex-boyfriend. Sacha’s Mom (Lisa) has a growing desire to share her daughter’s story with the world, including the piece on Sacha’s desire to go into the medical field. Education was very important to her. Knowing this I can’t think of a better way to honor her then with a scholarship in her name. She would be so very proud and grateful.
The Ashleigh’s Heart Scholarship came to life after Ashleigh Lindsey’s Mom (Tara Woodlee) launched an annual social media campaign to inspire people to “Share Ashleigh’s Heart” through random acts of kindness. This name inspired us to transform this day (which was once remembered as the first day where Ashleigh was abused by her boyfriend) into a magical and special scholarship for a student impacted by abuse.
Tammy’s Legacy Scholarship: Tamara “Tammy” Smith last her life just 3 weeks before her 17th Birthday. The father of her 11 month old baby girl Ausha and the baby in her belly took her from this crazy world. Tammy was a very sweet, fun, and loving person. We the family pray that this scholarship encourages someone to live, dream, and grow. Something Tammy wasn’t able to do. Never let somebody limit or control your destiny.