I Dreamed of a Sanctuary
After experiencing the death of her father and subsequent child abuse when she was 5, Becca Stevens longed to open a sanctuary for survivors offering a loving community.
In 1997, Becca opened our first home as a sanctuary for 5 women survivors.
Four years later, the women were making great strides in recovery, but struggling to become financially self-sufficient due to employment barriers.
To address this, Becca, volunteers, and residents began making candles in a church basement and, in 2001, Thistle Farms social enterprises were born.
We don’t ask, “What did you do?”
We ask, "What happened to you?"
Most of the women we serve first experienced sexual abuse between ages 7-11 and began using alcohol or drugs by age 13, and first hit the streets between the ages of 14 and 16.
Traumatic childhood experiences give way to homelessness, addiction, further abuse, and incarceration, often compounded by poverty.
We believe that women do not end up on the streets on their own but as the result of multiple broken systems and communities.
It takes a loving, healing community to welcome them home.
How Love Heals
Together, we heal by ensuring access to safe and supportive housing, financial independence, and a lifelong community of support.
Together, we rise up against systems that commoditize, criminalize, and abuse women.
Why the thistle?
Thistles grow on the streets and alleys where the women of Thistle Farms have walked.
Considered weeds by many, thistles have a deep root that can shoot through concrete and survive drought.
The resilience, vibrancy, and healing qualities of the thistle parallel the survival and flourishing of women survivors.