Baseball manager Joe Torre may be known for his wins with the Yankees, but he's also working hard to defeat domestic violence. Joe's father abused his mother, and while he kept his experience to himself for most of his life
, in 2002, he decided to start his own foundation Safe at Home
. He and his wife Ali operate safe places in schools — called "Margaret's Place" — for young students to go and talk to each other or a trained professional about problems at home. Before National Domestic Violence Awareness Month
comes to an end, I chatted with Ali about the work she's doing to help end abuse at home. Read my interview below.
TrèsSugar: What's the importance of focusing on young people?
Ali Torre: For every one woman that goes into the shelter, two or three children go with her. When we first started the foundation, we did a lot of research into what was being done out and there were not a lot of children programs out there. And we felt that was needed to end the cycle of violence. We decided that schools would be the way to go. Since 2005, we've opened in 10 schools. We focus on children that deal directly with domestic violence in their homes. We provide master-levels counselors to help comfort the kids, be there for the kids, and help develop research about how domestic violence effects children so we can be a leader in the field.
It's called Margaret's Place in honor of Joe's mother. And another reason we chose education was because his mother, who was a victim of domestic violence, always wanted to be a teacher. And we felt this would be a great way to honor her. Her life was dedicated to her children, and education was a big priority for her. Our mission is to really tell children that it's not their fault, that they're not alone, and we're there if they want our help.
TS: Can you tell me more about Joe's experience?
AT: Joe has had a very successful career baseball wise, but has struggled personally with self-esteem and self-worth. He hasn't had your ideal perfect life. He hid in baseball and kept all this shame and embarrassment to himself for many, many years. It did have an effect on his life. He had two failed marriages. We've struggled personally over the years. It's not always related to domestic, but I think if he looks back it definitely impacts your life. Getting help, reaching out and being able to talk about it, that's the first step. Like he said, it helped him connect the dots. He was missing some things in his life and didn't feel so great about himself and some of the choices he made. And he's not blaming anybody, he's just understanding it.
TS: What is the message you try to send young people?