Candles With A Cause: Learn More about Ricky's Hope
Hello Everyone, Please be advised that this post will include mature content that gives graphic details in reference to domestic violence. Candles with a Cause is a collaboration between Peek-A-Co and Ricky’s Hope Inc (501c3) to bring awareness and combat Domestic Violence and homelessness that is associated with trying to flee. This interview is here for you to learn more about Ricky’s Hope, including the how and why they do what they do.
PeekaMama- Although I know who you are, I’d like for you to formally introduce yourself and organization to the readers.
Nikki Cox- My name is Lisa “Nikki” Cox, and I own Ricky’s Hope Incorporated that was established in 2008. Ricky’s Hope is a nonprofit organization that addresses homelessness due to domestic violence by offering necessities, resources, services and soon a safe haven. We service all cities in North Carolina with the most concentration in the Triangle, Triad, Charlotte and their surrounding areas. Although our concentration is with domestic violence victims, we also provide assistance and resources to all those facing homelessness.
PeekaMama- First I want to say thank you for your contribution to healing our communities, I would like to know where the name Ricky’s Hope came from?
Nikki Cox- You want to know who Ricky is?
PeekaMama- YEP!!! Who Ricky is?
Nikki Cox: The name Ricky’s Hope was chosen to honor my brother who was senselessly murdered. And although he was not homeless, his journey helped me find the good in others even when their circumstances aren’t ideal. So yea, Ricky was my Brother.
PeekaMama- I'm sorry for your loss, BUT I'm certain that your brother is smiling down on you and is very proud of what you are doing while honoring his name. What brought you to this cause? I mean there are so many things that you could have worked to tackle, why is this the one you chose to align with Ricky’s Hope?
Nikki Cox- Well, let me start by letting you know, that I am a domestic violence survivor who had to deal with being homeless because of it. To leave a volatile and dangerous situation, I had to disappear from my own home. I was able to stay with a friend for the first couple of days, then I got into a shelter, but because I worked getting there on time was difficult, so I ended up staying outside and sleeping where I could. I was homeless for 6-8 months, until a friend found me, because honey I went deep undercover, she allowed me to have her floor to sleep on. That’s what pulled me off the street. In about 3 months I had gotten myself together and was able to move into an apartment.
PeekaMama- I am in awe! You’re very strong and dedicated. I am so sorry you had to go through that. I'm sure a lot of my readers are asking why you left your own home, If you don’t mind telling the story that is.
Nikki Cox- No I don’t mind, If my story helps another individual dealing with domestic violence and gives them hope and strength to walk away, the pain that I had to endure was not in vain. Now lets be clear, I was in two separate domestic violence situations. The First resulted in my becoming homeless and the second is what pushed me to start Ricky’s hope to help others dealing with the same thing. I was with this guy, and I'm not gonna front like he was perfect because he did have a criminal past, but to my knowledge there was nothing violent in his background. He lived about an hour and a half away, so our relationship started out long distance. We talked for 6 months and when I tell you it was great. Man, he was so attentive, and kind, and loving, the kind of man that sent flowers just because. So after about 6 months we decided it was time for a real visit. He came to my home and the visit was amazing. We worked so well while he was visiting, when it was time for him to go home, we decided that he would stay with me and find a job.
PeekaMama- Sounds ominous, like a wolf in sheep's clothing.
Nikki Cox- Definitely. Us living together were awesome, I mean he was really the perfect guy... Until he wasn’t. Two months in, his jealousy started to show. Helping my ex-spouse (with whom my split was amicable) turned close friend with paperwork, set him off. He was convinced that I had been disloyal and unfaithful. He slapped me and broke dishes, because I thought it was just jealousy that maybe he was so upset that I was around another man that he just lost his temper, I let it go. He didn’t hit me all the time, he would mostly do things to intimidate me like breaking stuff in the house, or snatching the phone cord out of the wall while I was on it and verbal threats.
PeekaMama- Wayment! So he came into your home and began acting out?
Nikki Cox- Yes and what happened next resulted in my leaving my home. He was a closeted drug addict.
Peekamama- Oh NO!
Nikki Cox- Oh Yes! One night I was getting ready for bed, I got all fine and sexy waiting for his arrival. While waiting for him to get home, I fell asleep. I didn’t think much of it because he obviously had a key. Around 3 am. I was roused from my sleep, to find a man on top of my trying to sexually assault me. I immediately freaked out and low and behold, my “man” (I use that term as loosely as possible) was also in the room assisting this act. Unbeknownst to me He had went to do drugs and brought his dealer back to my home to collect his debt from me. I had to fight. I bit, scratched, kicked, and fought my way out. I ran downstairs to my surrogate dad known as Pops. He took me in and let me stay the night, when he went back up to find them, they were both gone.
PeekaMama- So you never went back?
Nikki Cox- Not to live, Pops stood watch while I got a few of my things, just a couple articles of clothing and I disappeared. He had made it very clear that he would kill me without hesitation, and the situation that night clarified that for me. I ran and I landed in a shelter after a few days at Pop’s. Getting to the shelter and working was extremely difficult so I ended up having to sleep where ever, bus station, bench where ever. Until my friend let me crash on her floor until I got myself together.
PeekaMama- That’s A LOT Nikki! That is heavy, I’m hurting for you, I’m shocked and I’m so amazed by your courage, honestly I don’t know if I could’ve told that story.
Nikki Cox- Well listen, I know what I went through as a single person trying to escape, and honestly for victims with children I know how much worse it can be. My second domestic violence situation was just my official breaking point. It was long term, and I was constantly physically, emotionally and mentally abused, it started after our second year together. No one knew, but I gained so much weight because of the stress, I was around 600lbs with the inability to really do much.
PeekaMama- How'd you get out?
Nikki Cox- My Nephew/son got me out, he had to move and he let me take over his lease, once again, I had to disappear. The following year I started Ricky’s Hope and began funding it out of my own pocket, I figured I only was able to get out alive because on two separate occassions, some one reached out their hand to help me. I knew that it was may calling to be that helping hand for others.
PeekaMama- So do you think that domestic violence causes a lot of the homelessness that we see?
Nikki Cox- Shoot yea, I know a lot of people assume that homeless people are lazy, or drug and alcohol dependent, and don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of people who are homeless that have substance abuse issues. However, there are FAR more people who have mental illness or those who have to get out of a volatile home situation and have no options.
PeekaMama- How can we the community help and heal these victims?
Nikki Cox- Understanding that they aren’t staying there because they enjoy the treatment, most people stay because of fear, their economic standing, lack of assistance, feeling like they won’t be protected, and lack of self esteem. Even after leaving an abusive situation, you have to heal and fix your self or like me, you’ll find yourself in a similar situation. Familiarizing yourself with the warning signs so that you don’t become a victim of abuse in your own relationships and so you can spot the signs in your loved ones before they’re too far gone. Donating supplies, clothes, shoes, toiletries, food, and donating to non profits that offer assistance are ways that really do pack a punch with getting these individuals on their feet. Shoot! Referrals, I’ve helped many people that were referred to me, they didn’t even reach out, they had friends and family that cared enough to try and get them out.
PeekaMama- Nikki Thank you so much for your time. Please let the readers know where to find you and what your goals are for Ricky’s Hope in the future.
Nikki Cox- Thank You for reaching out to me. It’s my goal to have Safe Havens in the larger cities in North Carolina. Even though North Carolina is home base for me right now, it’s honestly my desire to have safe havens all around the country to aid as many people as possible with their transitions, by offering emotional counseling, financial counseling, legal counseling and a safe place where they can work towards building a better life for themselves and their family.
Our website is https://www.rickyshope.com/
And we can be found on Facebook and Instagram @rickyshopeinc
To purchase candles with a cause https://www.peek-a-co.com/candles_with_a_Cause