Community Of Thrivers is a faith-based, “survivors turned Thrivers” led organization advocating and working to prevent Domestic Violence (DV). CoT operates out of Fairfax, VA, where historically 44% of murders in the county were due to domestic violence. We serve DMV communities. Our efforts seek to prevent DV and reduce the public’s tolerance of this travesty. We provide counseling, resources, referrals, training, programs, and events to help break the cycle of domestic violence, addressing both spiritual and mental health root causes (the need to be loved, fear, control, anger, etc.). We serve an average of 300 adults and children annually.
Challenging even doctrinal church teachings, such as “pray & stay” (encourages remaining in abusive relationships), CoT’s generational approach to DV prevention includes: adult targeted Peacemakers’ Challenge; children’s Peacemaker Lab; “4:29 Project” (addressing verbal abuse); developing online and physical resource materials, including newly released Quick Start to Biblical Conflict Resolution. For “4:29” approximately 100 DC students (living in poverty/attending a Title I school) participated in a program to stop and prevent future verbal abuse aimed at self and/or others.
Community of Thrivers Founder, Dr. Tenickia Polk, encountered bouts of homelessness, legal battles, health problems, unemployment, and even yet another miscarriage when she fled from her abusive marriage. However, by God’s grace, she has been able to turn tragedy into hope for others by sharing her story and guiding fellow would-be thrivers down the path of hope and wholeness (spirit, soul, and body). The story of Dr. Polk has been featured in Washington DC‘s Street Sense Newspaper multiple times to encourage residents in the Washington, DC metropolitan area (DMV). She has also hosted a local talk show, Community Chat, to expose the spiritual roots of domestic violence, and was also appointed and served as a Marginalized and Underrepresented Population Representative at the Fairfax County Domestic Violence Prevention, Policy, and Coordinating Council (DVPPCC). The members of the DVPPCC are county leaders who meet to decide on policy towards domestic violence. Polk enjoys sharing her expertise, mobilization, and policy guidance.
Since leaving the abuse, Tenickia has gone from homelessness and sickness to earning both her Master's and Doctorate degrees, and having been healed of several “incurable diseases.“ She has enjoyed entrepreneurial pursuits and has authored over 10 books and programs. Dr. Polk pastors a church and directs a non-profit which she loves. Most importantly she now has healthier relationships with God, herself, and others. She is understanding and walking in her calling more and more each day – without the abuse.
Community of Thrivers began not long after Dr. Tenickia started working with other survivors and community members to help prevent and end domestic violence. “Once I’d achieved a level of peace and stability, I felt a calling to help others do the same…better yet prevent others from ever entering the vicious cycle of domestic abuse,” explains Polk. “My mother was a victim of domestic violence (DV), and so was my grandmother. It is my responsibility, by God’s grace, to help stop the cycle. The first time I helped another survivor was in the courthouse following my divorce hearing. On my way out, I met a survivor who was just getting started on her case and was having difficulty maneuvering the court system. I couldn’t stand to see her suffer through the process like I had, so I offered my help and walked her through the entire process (step-by-step) successfully. We also prayed together. Later, I was asked, and served as the maid of honor in this survivor-turned-thriver’s wedding.”
“I remember giving a friend some good news after I’d gone through court battles over protection orders and divorce with my ex. I had to defend myself in court without representation. However, God led me to meet a lawyer in the cafeteria of the courthouse on the day of my final hearing, right before I was to enter the courtroom. That lawyer/angel told me everything I needed to say, and I won the case! Before that day, the lawyers I had spoken with said I didn’t have enough of a case to prove cruelty and vicious conduct, since I’d never been hospitalized for physical abuse.” Astonished at the victory, my friend shook her head and told me, “You sure can’t keep a good woman down!” It’s this concept of being “unstoppable” that I like to impart to fellow survivors/would-be thrivers. Our goal at Community of Thrivers is to support survivors and thrivers in their press towards their freedom (and to help maintain it), and to encourage victims to separate from abuse.”
Dr. Polk, along with other supporters and community members hosted the first ”It’s Time to Thrive” awareness event in 2015, before Community of Thrivers was officially organized. The community events started as workshops and a comedy fundraiser to raise money for survivors of abuse through our new “ER for Survivors” fund. ER stands for Emergency Relief. Dr. Polk had begun giving one-time financial emergency assistance awards ($200- $1,000) to survivors to help them pay their bills, and move forward with their lives. ER for Survivor awards were awarded based on the need for various expenses including childcare, medical needs, and utility bills. Dr. Polk gave this money from her own pocket; these events led her to realize the need to formally organize. The Community of Thrivers is that organization; its board is comprised of various survivors and community supporters. To this day, all of the annual “It’s Time to Thrive” events have been funded solely through Dr. Tenickia’s personal funds. Community of Thrivers was awarded its very first grant this year in November 2023.