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

Hezbollah Chief Says Does Not Want War But Ready for One

VOA's Jerusalem correspondent reports that with an Israeli election looming and Hezbollah's involvement in Syria, neither side appears interested in a wider conflict More

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: Despite Danger, Best US Minds Battle Deadly Virus

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid