Surrounded by the lilac-colored walls of Room 3 at Esperanza Shelter,

Sonya Romero became overwhelmed with emotion as she recalled nights she had spent there more than eight years ago as a resident.

“I just think of all the ups and downs … how everything from that time has led me to where I’m at now,” she said.

Romero, a victim of physical and emotional abuse during two relationships in her 20s, when she was a young mother, first arrived at Esperanza in 2011, hoping to turn her life around. Now, as the nonprofit’s shelter manager in training, her mission is to help others overcome similar trauma, she said.

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