About Us- EmpowerSurvivors
Our Founder & CEO : Elizabeth Sullivan, CPSS
“It was while sitting, locked inside my upstairs bathroom after a flashback, that the idea of EmpowerSurvivors was born.
I just couldn’t believe that the pain of childhood sexual abuse that I had pushed so far back in my mind could come back with such vengeance. The flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, panic attacks, hyper vigilance, nightmares and suicidal thoughts seemed to take over my life and I thought I was losing my mind. I didn’t know who I could tell, who I could trust and was fearful of anyone finding out about this "secret" I had kept for decades. I feared things I did not understand, and wore the cloak of shame and blame so tight around me that the thought of telling anyone of my childhood molestation and rape made me physically , emotionally, mentally and spiritually sick. I was stuck in a world of negative voices, isolation, mistrust, and felt as though my life was over.
I wondered how abuse of this kind could be happening to children at epidemic levels and no one was talking about this. I wondered how I could go a lifetime not realizing how unprocessed trauma had affected my life. I wondered how I could go through life thinking I was damaged goods, dirty, not good enough and why when I finally did break my silence no one was there to support me or others abused as children.
I just couldn’t accept the silence, the lack of education and support, the blame put on survivors of this crime, and so began not only my healing journey but the beginnings of EmpowerSurvivors.” - Elizabeth Sullivan
EmpowerSurvivors was created and founded by Elizabeth Sullivan in 2014. It was during her own healing journey that she realized survivors needed an organization that would create safe spaces of healing and support for survivors, provide resources and educate survivors to better understand their own healing journey and how the child abuse done to them so many years ago could manifest itself into every fiber of their being.
Today , EmpowerSurvivors, is a peer led 501c3 charitable non-profit organization based in Stillwater,MN and run and operated by adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse and trauma.
EmpowerSurvivors supports survivors locally, nationally and worldwide. We believe in uniting our voices, supporting survivors on their healing journey’s , educating communities and reducing the the adverse childhood experiences that effects not only the survivor but their families, society, and institutions.
Meet Our Board
Our EmpowerSurvivors board meets monthly to build a stronger organization, improve programming for survivors, and make sure that our non-profit is the best organization that it can be!
Julie Good: Chair
Julie Good is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. After intensive therapy, Julie experienced healing and a call to help others who are struggling to overcome the effects of sexual abuse. As the Founder and Director of UNchained - a sexualabuse recovery program that is run through Maranatha Church in Forest Lake, MN - Julie and a dedicated team of peer facilitators help others to find hope and healing from the bonds of sexual abuse. Julie holds a degree in Psychology from Northern Illinois University. She is very active in her church and also oversees Into the Light - a ministry to exotic dancers in the Twin Cities area. “I am truly grateful and blessed to walk alongside others as they pursue their healing.”
Alyson Zurek - Treasurer Alyson is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, a trauma therapist and owner of River Counseling located in Isanti, MN. Alyson received her bachelor’s degree from St. Cloud State University in Elementary Education and her master’s degree in social work from the University of Minnesota-Duluth. Her career as a mental health therapist began in 2004 offering individual, couple and family counseling first at Five County Mental Health Center and then in Private Practice since 2007. She developed proficiency in walking with her clients as they learn effective problem solving and improving relationships. Her pursuit of more training in the treatment of PTSD led her to develop more skills in helping clients heal from childhood traumas. Alyson maintains her license as a Clinical Social Worker and is a Board Certified Supervisor for mental health practitioners and professionals. Additionally, Alyson has been trained to facilitate a group for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. As a survivor herself, she offers connection and compassion to others who are ready to embark on the journey of healing. “This journey begins and continues by sharing our stories, seeking restoration for our souls, and redemption in our relationships.”
Evey Krammer-Carlson - Secretary and Class Coordinator
Evey Krammer-Carlson is a speaker, writer, and author who shares her experiences of healing from childhood abuse and trauma. Thanks to tremendous support from family, friends,professionals, and the community of survivors, Evey has come to accept her past and now writes extensively about her journey of recovery. She hopes that by sharing her story she will be a support to others who struggle with PTSD. Evey brings hope, resilience, and insights into how she manages symptoms of PTSD, along with the message that it’s okay to talk about your story. With increased awareness of peer-led support and education for the community, Evey feels the fear, shame, and stigma many survivors experience will decrease. She firmly believes that any step in a person’s healing journey is something to acknowledge and celebrate.
You can reach Evey at firstname.lastname@example.org or read her blog at https://atribeuntangled.com/blog/
Elizabeth Sullivan - Founder/CEO Elizabeth is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and rape and the founder and director of EmpowerSurvivors, a peer-led 501c3 nonprofit organization that supports those that have experienced the crimes of childhood sexual abuse and rape. As a certified peer support specialist, Elizabeth facilitates groups at EmpowerSurvivors, founded “ Giving Voice” (our nations first survivor conference), has spoken at local community colleges, Lino Lakes men’s prison system, Take Back The Night events, local organizations and has worked with Jeff Anderson & Associates and the National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse (NAASCA) to support survivors and educate communities. Elizabeth believes by breaking our silence of abuse and coming together as a survivor community we can find support, healing, and aid in prevention. Elizabeth invites survivors to come to the EmpowerSurvivors organization and begin your healing journey today!
Rachel Block, CPSS
Rachel is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse who was one of our first EmpowerSurvivors members! Rachel now uses her story, healing and experience to help other survivors heal. We are so happy to have Rachel heading up our Eagan group and invite you to join her and fellow survivors every Monday at the Wescott Public Library located at 1340 Wescott Road, Eagan, MN 55123.