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

    Vietnam Urges US to Lift Lethal Weapons Ban Amid S. China Sea Tensions

    US president’s upcoming visit to Vietnam underscores strength of relationship, and lifting embargo would reflect that trust, ambassador says

    Are US Schools Turning a Blind Eye to Radical Qatari Preachers?

    Parade of radical Islamist clerics using mosque at Qatar’s Education City draws mounting criticism for American universities that maintain satellite branches there

    Why Islamic State Is Down But Not Out

    Despite loss of territory, group’s ferocious attacks over past three months seen as testimony to its continued durability and resourcefulness

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroadi
    X
    May 02, 2016 1:36 PM
    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora