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

    Video Twists and Turns Aplenty in US Presidential Race

    Even as Americans pause for this week’s Memorial Day holiday, much attention is focused on the presidential contest

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora