Denese Lopez grew up in Pico Rivera, California, with a single mother. She became a mother at 16, and struggled to continue her education. Now, she is a wife, mother and grandmother, and a retired police officer. She volunteered in domestic violence shelters and saw these victims’ pain after escaping their abusers. She listened to them anguishing over how they could start over again after having left everything behind. Denese entered a domestic violence education program to learn about the lives these women and children who were forced to start life in a new environment. She also became involved in organizations that help women and children who have survived sexual abuse and sex trafficking. She wanted to find a way to restore their dignity, self-worth and security.
Having been a single mother herself for many years, Denese understood the hardships of financial stress, living in a home depending on other people’s miscellaneous donated items. While appreciating everything she had been given, she longed to have a home furnished with her own personal choices rather than from donations. After finally achieving this, she wanted other women and children to experience that same feeling of dignity.
Denese formed a non-profit organization to implement this vision, Women Empowered by Labors of Love (W.E.L.L.) in Whittier, to decorate and furnish the homes or rooms of survivors of domestic abuse and human trafficking. See for information, donating, and to subscribe to its emails.