Our History

Center for Survivors of Torture has been providing integrated services to torture survivors in Texas since 1997. CST initially began as a project of Proyecto Adelante, a Dallas non-profit that provided legal services to seekers of political asylum. While addressing the legal needs of its clients, the staff of Proyecto Adelante found that as many as one-third of the clients had personally suffered torture, had witnessed torture or knew someone who had been tortured. The legal staff was unable to address the mental health needs of the clients, which impeded the staff’s legal representation of the torture survivors.

In 2000, Center for Survivors of Torture became an independent 501(c)(3), based in Dallas. In 2005, we opened a second office in Austin. In addition to main offices in Austin and Dallas, CST maintains satellite offices in San Antonio with Our Lady of the Lake University. CST clients also receive services from pro-bono professionals who are trained by CST to be culturally competent and linguistically diverse professionals to meet the health, mental health, legal and other needs of torture and trauma survivors.

In 2013, CST expanded to provide services for all refugees living in Texas and Oklahoma, living in the United States under five years. Our objective is to decrease the numbers of refugees experiencing mental health symptoms, specifically symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and adjustment disorder.

1997 – CST started as a project of Proyecto Adelante in Dallas, Texas

2000 – CST becomes a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization

2005 – CST opens an office in Austin, Texas

2010 – Celia VanDeGraaf was awarded the Ed Wendler Award in Austin for outstanding service in the refugee community

2012 – CST was one of the two agencies to present client testimony at the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in Washington, DC

2013 – CST facilitates two-day training for 160 professionals who want to provide treatment services in Texas

2013 – CST provides mental health services for any resettled refugee here less than five years

2013 – CST provides assistance for all clients that require disability services

2013 – CST increases capacity to provide services to children

2014 – CST is recognized nationally for excellence in service provision

2015 – CST initiates free community college education program for clients as part of our social services

2016 – CST represents North America at IRCT Assembly and Scientific Symposium in Mexico City

2017 – CST provides Eight-Hour Mental Health First Aid Training (MHFA) class for Bhutanese leaders and Texas community leaders

2018 – CST provides free two-day training for Texas in Mental Health and Wellness to educate the community and follow-up monthly brown bag luncheons

Our History

Center for Survivors of Torture has been providing integrated services to torture survivors in Texas since 1997. CST initially began as a project of Proyecto Adelante, a Dallas non-profit that provided legal services to seekers of political asylum. While addressing the legal needs of its clients, the staff of Proyecto Adelante found that as many as one-third of the clients had personally suffered torture, had witnessed torture or knew someone who had been tortured. The legal staff was unable to address the mental health needs of the clients, which impeded the staff’s legal representation of the torture survivors.

In 2000, Center for Survivors of Torture became an independent 501(c)(3), based in Dallas. In 2005, we opened a second office in Austin. In addition to main offices in Austin and Dallas, CST maintains satellite offices in San Antonio with Our Lady of the Lake University. CST clients also receive services from pro-bono professionals who are trained by CST to be culturally competent and linguistically diverse professionals to meet the health, mental health, legal and other needs of torture and trauma survivors.

In 2013, CST expanded to provide services for all refugees living in Texas and Oklahoma, living in the United States under five years. Our objective is to decrease the numbers of refugees experiencing mental health symptoms, specifically symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and adjustment disorder.

1997 – CST started as a project of Proyecto Adelante in Dallas, Texas

2000 – CST becomes a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization

2005 – CST opens an office in Austin, Texas

2010 – Celia VanDeGraaf was awarded the Ed Wendler Award in Austin for outstanding service in the refugee community

2012 – CST was one of the two agencies to present client testimony at the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in Washington, DC

2013 – CST facilitates two-day training for 160 professionals who want to provide treatment services in Texas

2013 – CST provides mental health services for any resettled refugee here less than five years

2013 – CST provides assistance for all clients that require disability services

2013 – CST increases capacity to provide services to children

2014 – CST is recognized nationally for excellence in service provision

2015 – CST initiates free community college education program for clients as part of our social services

2016 – CST represents North America at IRCT Assembly and Scientific Symposium in Mexico City

2017 – CST provides Eight-Hour Mental Health First Aid Training (MHFA) class for Bhutanese leaders and Texas community leaders

2018 – CST provides free two-day training for Texas in Mental Health and Wellness to educate the community and follow-up monthly brown bag luncheons