The latest New Yorker of the Week gives new meaning to retail therapy for women in need. NY1's John Schiumo filed the following report.

Those who visit the "Butterfly Boutique" experience a transformation. 

It is an unusual feeling for these women. They are survivors of domestic violence.

"It feels like your own personal closet," says Stormie, a client with Sanctuary for Families. "I feel empowered, like I'm in control."

In a 240-square foot space in Lower Manhattan, the women are able to find clothing essentials, and a little extra for themselves and their families, all for free.

"It can be very difficult to at times to stay positive. The scariest part it not knowing how you’re going to take care of your kids," Stormie says. "And as you can see, there's places like this that help us."

Taking care of this boutique is Leah Chapman. The Brooklyn native oversees the donated goods that come in for clients at the nonprofit Sanctuary for Families.

Through a range of services, the group works to move adults from fear and abuse to safety and independence. 

"Most of them, when they do leave their abuser, they leave with nothing, meaning just the clothes on their back. I mean, it's not an exaggeration either," Chapman says. "And their kids, you know, it's just trauma." 

For the past 18 years, Leah has kept tabs on these donations, restocking and organizing clothing, toiletries and accessories. More importantly, she's embracing her neighbors.

"I feel very fortunate to have found this place, because I was able to help my girls and then heal myself emotionally. And now I want to help other people," Leticia Reyes, a client with Sanctuary for Families, says through an interpreter.

"Her smile, her love, her optimism, her ability to connect with our clients and make them feel like we're not giving them something," says Judge Judy Harris Kluger, executive director for Sanctuary for Families.

"It's like part of who I am. I really can't say it any other way," Chapman says. "I just can’t help myself, you know. This is what I love to do."

So, for offering a sanctuary to women in need, Leah Chapman is our New Yorker of the Week.

For more information about the nonprofit, visit