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Tuesday, April 12, 2022

An Open & Honest Advocate Fireside Chat

Information About What To Expect From An Advocate



There are many types of advocates, even within the context of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us as we hear from Neisha Himes, Victim Advocate and Executive Director of the GROW Foundation in Chesapeake, Virginia, then sit down and chat with Christy Heiskala, Survivor Advocate for the Pride Law Firm in San Diego, California. These two amazing women will talk about their work in the context of:

  • The differences between systems-based advocacy and community-based advocacy
  • Advocate boundaries and duties
  • Differences in the courts and the part an advocate plays – family, criminal, and civil
  • What to expect when you meet with Christy
  • Some of the cautions when providing information to an advocate (hint: it depends on the type of advocate)



This is for you if you are considering becoming an advocate or are someone needing advocacy in your situation. We welcome all.

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Neisha Himes


G.R.O.W. Foundation & SuperSHEro VictimsVoice Advisor
After leaving a toxic and abusive relationship in late 2012, Neisha Himes began telling her story years later via her gift of spoken word. Known to the poetry community as “Beautiful Dizaster”, Neisha has featured on many stages and to date, uses her talent as a method of bringing awareness. In August 2016, she founded G.R.O.W. Foundation (Girls Recognizing Our Worth), a 501c3 non-profit assisting domestic violence survivors with rebuilding their lives after abuse. To learn more about victims’ rights and navigating through the legal system, Neisha served as a Victim/Witness Advocate for the Norfolk Commonwealth Attorney’s Office and a Domestic Violence Paralegal for the Chesapeake Commonwealth Attorney’s Office. In April 2020, she joined the Newport News Police Department as their Domestic Violence Outreach Liaison, playing a vital role in the agency’s newly implemented domestic violence program.

Since creating G.R.O.W., Neisha has received several notable accolades for her incredible advocacy work and relentless activism. In 2016, she was recognized by Investigation Discovery (in collaboration with People Magazine) as their “Inspire A Difference: Hero of the Month,” and in 2017, was also featured on PBS channel’s “Virginia Currents.” In 2019, she was the recipient of YWCA’s “Woman of Distinction Award.”, as well as the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence “Voices in Action-Survivor Activist Award”. In October 2020, she had the honor of being interviewed by Essence magazine in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Neisha’s unwavering dedication to ending domestic violence and her passion for helping others is the driving force behind her motto “from pain to purpose”.

Christy Heiskala


The Pride Law Firm & SuperSHEro VictimsVoice Advisor
Christy Heiskala is a victim advocate at The Pride Law Firm, although we prefer to use the term survivor advocate. Christy is the first full-time advocate working for a civil law firm. Christy was determined to work with survivors of sexual assault and their families after her personal experience with the criminal and civil justice processes.

Christy received Certified Victim Advocate training through the Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime Technical Training and Assistance Center (OVTTAC). Christy received training from the Center for Community Solutions to become a sexual assault counselor certified by the California Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) and served as a sexual assault response team (SART) advocate. Prior to that, Christy received training from Voices for Children and served as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for foster care children. Christy founded the non-profit, Educate to Eliminate, where she trains kids, adults, and organizations on child sexual abuse prevention. Christy is a member of the San Diego Trauma-Informed Guide Team, Live Well San Diego, and serves on the following Lawyers Club of San Diego committees: Human Trafficking Collaborative, Sexual Harassment Task Force, Equality and Action Committee.


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