Tucson, Arizona natives Estella di Rossi & Misty Tea are both survivors of domestic violence who wanted to help their community. They decided to create an arts organization, The House of Rossi, that would raise funds and help those falling through the gaps in their community. After an incredibly successful annual benefit concert last year, helping over 200 local children in one night, Misty and Estella are on a mission to bridge the socio-economic gaps in their community through art and music.

Misty and Estella’s story, as told to The Story Exchange 1,000+ Stories Project:

We founded The House of Rossi as two female domestic violence survivors who wanted to bring community, businesses and the arts together to help everyone that was falling through the gaps. We mainly work with art based funding by throwing benefits through fine art auctions, sales of goods, and benefit concerts with local performers and artisans that care about their community causes and the public’s socio-economic needs that aren’t being addressed or met.

Success is what one measures at the end of the day. Our objective is to set realistic accomplishments. We measure it by the impact we have on society, the people we inspire, awareness we raise and the peoples lives we effect. It isn’t always finance driven when building community efforts to change peoples lives. We would like to establish funding to finish IRS verification so that we can be a being fully supported charitable organization. We are half way and plan on finishing so we can help on a grander scale with business support and sponsorship. We would also like to build an art and music division to help provide art and music therapy for those in need.

“It isn’t always finance driven when building community efforts to change peoples lives.”

– Estella di Rossi & Misty Tea

Our annual holiday benefit concert was a big success last year. We were able to something incredible for 200 local children in one night; the children received toys, seven different bands played live music and we funded it all ourselves out of pocket. We not only paid the venue and promo expenses, but put ourselves on the map as a zero balance out organization that was here for the public and have been building credit within our community ever since. We gained the support of many local artists and people that are willing to volunteer and help at our events this year because we made that difference. We also have been getting support of local press and were recently a feature story for local publications and radio stations.

We have taken to using social media as a means to finding volunteers, whether women or an open minded male advocate. Being a social welfare organization we need people from all walks of life to support us, so we rely on community support to help with community issues. As a survivor of both human trafficking and domestic violence I tend to be more empathic than most when it comes to seeing the hardships of others. Many people that volunteer lack real world firsthand experience when helping or volunteering.

We have many role models. One of the most important ones is Joesephe Baker. Her determination to unite those with differences, have a rainbow tribe and utilize art to end segregation at her shows, touched me as a performer and humanist. Her efforts to aid her country during the war and use her art as a means to promote change really touched me as a child and is where many of my personal and professional cornerstones have come from.

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