News / USA

Marian House Helps Women Move from Dependence to Independence

Rehabilitation Home Helps Women Move From Dependence to Independencei
X
July 31, 2013 12:57 AM
Baltimore, Maryland, has one of United States’ highest numbers of homeless people and substance abusers. And about one-third of the city's more than 4,000 homeless are women with substance abuse problems. One of the many organizations that try to help those women is a place called Marian House -- which has offered rehabilitation, counseling and housing assistance for more than 30 years.. Tala Hadavi, of VOA's Persian News Network, visited the home that for many has become their last chance at a new life.
Tala Hadavi
Baltimore, Maryland, has one of United States’ highest numbers of homeless people and substance abusers.  And about one-third of the city's more than 4,000 homeless are women with substance abuse problems. One of the many organizations that try to help those women is a place called Marian House - which has offered rehabilitation, counseling and housing assistance for more than 30 years. For many the home has become their last chance at a new life.    

For many women in Baltimore, Marian House has been a life saver.

"Heroin cocaine, pills, whatever that would take me out of my own head, I had hit rock-bottom," said Marian House resident Robin. "Marian House is a beautiful place to be."

Robin is just one of the more than 1,000 women Marian House has helped to rebuild their lives in its three decades of existence.

Founded originally as a transition program for women coming out of prison, it now provides a helping hand for other women in desperate circumstances. Executive Director Katie Alston calls it a "refuge."

"A home for women who are in need in the things that they’ve suffered through: rape, domestic violence, sexual assault, mental illness, addiction," she said. "All of those things. A term that we’ve been using lately is a therapeutic recovery community."

Casaundra says she got to Marian House after a long struggle with drugs and alcohol.

"Ultimately I ended up in bad relationships, domestic violence, my last relationship was older than me ended up with 29 stitches to the face," she said. "From the eyebrow down around to the neck."

And Casaundra says getting into the program was not easy.

"It’s hard to get in here. You have to be interviewed to get in here," she said. "You have to meet with people that want to know that you are willing and ready to do something different. And its like I have nothing left, I have absolutely nothing. I need this place."

Now that she's here, Casaundra proudly shows off her room.

"Yes, and this is my room. You start off when you first come in in a smaller room," she said. "And as the rooms become available…because by the time we get to the bigger rooms, you have been here about six months and you transitioning out. And the people that are in the smaller rooms, move into the bigger rooms."

Alston describes life at Marian House as like living in a dorm - but it's a dorm with some very strict rules.

"We have curfews, we have restrictions on visitors…we have an expectation, the first week they are on blackout - they can’t leave the building," she said. "After the first week they have earlier curfews than they will later on."
 
"The expectation is to participate in all the mandatory pieces of the program," Alston added. "If they don’t show up for a counseling sessions, they get a written infraction from their counselor."

Alston is proud of the women who complete the Marian House program -- something she says takes a great deal of courage.

"It's like jumping off a cliff. You leave everything behind. You don’t know where you’re gonna land," she said. "It's often giving up the entire life that you have known. So independence is our tagline…it's women moving from dependence to independence."

“Younger you know, I’ve dreamt of the husband and the white picket fence and the little dog," said resident Casaundra. "But now, I don’t even want any of that right now. Its like, if it’ll come, it’ll come. But its like I just have this burst of energy.”

“These tears are of joy. I’m very proud of myself," said another resident Tagerin. "I mean, I’ve accomplished so much in 13 months… and through all of the accomplishments; the peace is what holds me the most. The peace.”

Still, she says, there are thousands more women - in the U.S. and around the world - who need such a refuge but can't find it.

"Some because they might not know a place like this exists also because they might not be ready," said executive director Alston.  "But we hope that some day they will be and hopefully, some day, especially the ones who are nearby us, find their way to us."

You May Like

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid