Executive Director and Founder
- The Executive Director and Founder of Purple House Project PA Inc., Christine Joy Brunson, MSW, LSW, grew up in North Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Living in an area where the majority of the residents were of low socioeconomic status, she witnessed residual trauma of intimate partner violence first hand. When Christine was 14-years-old, her family moved to Chandler, Arizona which had a big impact on her perspective. Even though she had moved to a community with a much higher socioeconomic status than her family, she quickly realized that money did not erase intimate partner violence or its impacts. Instead, she learned that individuals use different methods to cope with their trauma and observed how different abuse can look from community to community.
- Christine received a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Northern Arizona University (NAU). While in school, she spent a semester abroad in Cape Town, South Africa and wrapped up her senior year working closely with a domestic violence agency in Flagstaff, Arizona. Through these experiences, Christine was able to reconcile her own family’s generational patterns of intimate partner violence and substance use, and knew that she would find it meaningful to work with those who are impacted by intimate partner violence. After graduating from NAU, Christine moved back to Pennsylvania and earned a Master’s Degree in Social Work from West Chester University. During her program, she completed an internship at the Hospital of University of Pennsylvania where she screened women who experienced intimate partner violence and problem drinking behaviors.
- All of these experiences solidified her passion and gave her the foundation to launch Purple House Project PA, Inc. in 2016. Purple House Project is a Delaware County, Pennsylvania based non-profit organization focused on supporting women who experience intimate partner violence. The mission of Purple House Project is to strengthen, empower, and transition women impacted by intimate partner violence through connection to essential resources that aid in the healing process.
- Since establishing Purple House Project, Christine continues to make a positive impact on the community by creating and participating in various partnerships. Christine presented at Prevention Meets Fashion in February 2018, which is an event focused on the intersection of intimate partner violence and sexual health. In February 2019, she facilitated a workshop at the Consortium to discuss safety planning and psychosocial stressors that women experience after surviving intimate partner violence. Christine has shared her expertise by participating in panels, including the Phenomenal Women’s Network in March 2019 and at West Chester University in April 2019. In 2019, she co-facilitated Camp Mississippi Smiles which is a partnership focusing on taking young inner-city girls who had been impacted by intimate partner violence on a three-day overnight experience focused on empowerment through positive pro-social activities. Christine’s hard work was awarded in 2018 at the National Congress of Black Women Delaware County Chapter when they recognized her advocacy work through Purple House Project. Additionally, she was awarded the 2020 Philly Mayor Hero Award.
- Christine is deeply committed to her passion and community. Christine’s ultimate goal is to create a “Joysource” — a safe place where women can experience everlasting healing. She embodies the ubuntu spirit — the South African term meaning “I am…because you are”. Christine sees the good in every person she meets which makes it easy for her to lead with kindness, compassion, and her whole heart. Christine understands that we all are connected, and she welcomes all into the warmth of Purple House Project with open arms.
- Stacie Leap went through the Certified Peer Specialist class back in 2013 with what was then called Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania. From that training, she pursued certification courses to become a Forensic Peer Specialist, Recovery Specialist, and Youth-Enhanced Recovery Specialist. She also gains certification to become a Mental Health First Aid Instructor and a WRAP Level II Facilitator. She worked in various organizations including PRO-ACT, Mental Health Association of Southeast Pennsylvania (Now Mental Health Partnerships), Resources for Human Development, Bethesda Project and the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disabilities Services. She also volunteered for many events such as the Recovery Idol, Recovery Walk, and the Pennsylvania Alliance of Recovery Residences (PARR).
- In 2016, while two months pregnant, she was attacked by her ex-boyfriend which resulted in her dislocated neck and loss of eyesight. Now, even though she lost her eyesight, she never lost her vision to empower herself and those around her. She currently serves as the Chair of the Blind Parents Group within the National Federation of the Blind of Pennsylvania. She leads peer support groups for blind parents and grandparents monthly via Zoom. She also serves as the Vice President of the Pennsylvania Organization of Parents of Blind Children where she advocates for accommodations for blind children and blind parents.
- However, that is not it or enough! She currently assists the Community Support Program of Philadelphia in securing guest speakers and volunteer activities. Her most noteworthy parts are gathering speakers within the blind community for October’s Blind Equality Achievement Month. and starting the annual book drive for MLK Day of Service. She also serves as Interim Chair for the Professional Development Network for CPS and CRS where she facilitates discussions with other CPS and CRS within Philadelphia. She currently is also working as a Recovery Advocate for the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability Services where is she is working on promoting accessibility and accessible materials for those using assistive devices and screen recognition software. As a survivor of domestic violence, she also discusses her road to recovery on various podcasts, conferences and conventions throughout the country.. Stacie hopes that through her interactions with people, stigma about blindness is minimized and barriers to accessibility are diminished. She wants people to understand that blindness does not hold her back and she can live the life she wants. Her biggest motivators for her advocacy and drive are God and her now 7-year-old daughter Alana.