Tell Us Your Story!

We want to hear from you!

Every woman & child we have served over the past 40 years has a story.

Our staff have heard countless stories of survival, recovery, love, gratitude, success,
and second chances. We would love to hear your stories. Your story is deeply connected to our story!

Residents, former residents, donors, and volunteers, we know it takes many hands to serve so many in the ways that we do. How did you choose to get involved with us? Please take a few moments and tell us your favorite Marian House story.
Was it your first Christmas staying with us or adopting a family? Was it one of our 5K races or a tour? Here is your chance to tell us how we impacted you, your mother, your sister, your daughter, or friend as we worked to help over 3,700 women and children, and countless community members as we show up every day doing the work to create safe, sober, loving environments. We can’t wait to hear from you! Please email your story to advancement@marianhouse.org

RESIDENT SPOTLIGHT – Nita B.

Nita B is a recent graduate of Marian House. She is prospering and giving back to others, inspired by her time and the relationships she built in our program.

Nita and grew up in Baltimore and was raised primarily by her grandmother. Her life was rooted in generations of poverty and a struggle for survival. She received little affection, had poor self-esteem, and was searching for a sense of belonging throughout her life.

Nita never understood Christmas gifts, and always wondered why anyone would bother expecting them. It’s not like Santa was going to visit her house anyway; she didn’t even have a chimney. She remembers being seven years old and hearing that Christmas was just around the corner. Curious, Nita walked around the corner – and got beat up. She never believed in Santa after that.

At age 12, her mother began caring for her and her siblings off and on. By that point, Nita had experienced poverty and molestation, among other traumas. To cope, she built barriers in her heart, acting like a tough tomboy, all the while attempting to bury the little girl inside who wanted to be loved.

By the time she was an adult, Nita was homeless, addicted, selling heroin, and struggling with her mental health. It was a dark, sad, confusing, and unmanageable time. Looking back, she realizes, “I was looking for death everywhere and couldn’t find it.” Nita vacillated in and out of prison, but she kept hearing about Marian House. As she learned more about the program, she knew it was a place she wanted to be. During her most recent incarceration, she wrote Marian House a letter, requesting admission. She completed her intake interviews and was accepted into the program, giving her the opportunity, that Nita says, “Gave me my life back.”
Nita was ready to embrace change, and she was thrilled to arrive at Marian House in October of 2020. It was warm, welcoming, and full of optimism. Even the small things gave her a feeling of self-worth and hope: she had a key to a real door, not a nail in an abandoned house. She had a space that was all her own.

Most importantly, Marian House was full of people who believed in her. Nita believes the best thing about Marian House is their holistic approach to healing. She attributes much of her success to our multifaceted approach which includes rules, daily routines, lessons in financial literacy, computers training, job training, therapy, and addiction counseling. She is grateful for sessions with Ms. Beth, who taught her to embrace change. She was able to discuss her feelings and experiences in a safe place. She learned to navigate and critique her old life and develop skills to make her new life better. She also worked with Ms. Cindy, our Substance Abuse Counselor, learning love, forgiveness, and healthy boundaries. She credits this with improving her relationship with her family. She used to believe the adage “blood is thicker than water,” but she now understands, “even water has boundaries.”

While at Marian House, Nita learned how to write a resume. She was able to gain her first-ever work experience as a receptionist for Marian House, which helped open doors to employment. She learned how to save money and discovered a passion for cooking. She realized the rules and routines of Marian House fostered self-discipline, which in turn, helped her achieve success. Nita received her very first Christmas gifts while a resident at Marian House. When she saw a pile of gifts just for her, she couldn’t believe her eyes.
“I was like a kid in a candy store!” she laughs. Her favorite gift? A set of jacks like she always wanted as a girl. To this day, she keeps a picture of them on her phone.

Nita graduated from Marian House in January 2022. She is excited to be getting her own apartment any day now. She is employed as a peer counselor. She is also working on gaining her state counseling certification. She is passionate about telling her truth and using it to help others. Thanks to Marian House, Nita knows that part of her calling and purpose is “to give back what was so freely given to me.”

Donor Spotlight – Dr. Jeffery Jensen & Warren Conner

Dr. Jeffery Jensen (R) and his husband Warren Conner (L) live in Perry Hall with their four birds, three cats and a dog. They have been Marian House donors for seven years. Jeffery currently works as a psychiatrist at the Veterans’ Administration and Warren works as the National Director of Social Work at Absolute Care. Both interacted with Marian House women in their former roles as part of the team at Chase Brexton and knew some of our current staff in their previous roles there.

Jeffery recalls he was “impressed with everything about Marian House.” He saw through his clients’ eyes “the real commitment to women who had been abandoned by a lot of people and had given up on themselves.” Their abilities to change and grow in their time in the Marian House program made him take notice.

Jeffery started giving monthly automated gifts in the beginning of 2020. Jeffrey and Warren like the ease of this set up and not having to worry about setting aside funds from their monthly budget to make a large annual gift. While the monthly impact feels small on their wallet, they know monthly giving has a huge impact for Marian House!

Recurring donations are especially valuable to Marian House because they are a reliable source of income and have
a higher rate of retention from year-to-year. Having a committed group of loyal supporters helps bolster our annual campaign and sustain us through lean times. With the economic uncertainty brought on by the pandemic, your continuous support has never been more important. You can set up automated donations in any amount and on any schedule to fit with your budget and personal finances. Giving as little as a $25 monthly earns you a spot in the Marian House Community of Care. You can set up monthly donations through marianhouse.org by e-check, credit or debit card. You can suspend or adjust this giving at any time.

Monthly donors can choose to receive tax acknowledgements monthly by mail or email, or they may elect to receive one
statement at the end of the tax year, cutting down on extra paperwork for you and helping us keep our administrative costs
to a minimum. Monthly donors can also participate via payroll deductions through special programs like the Maryland Charities Campaigns, United Way, etc. Please check with your company to see if they have a payroll deduction program already set up to assist you. Marian House is a designee for the United Way, The United Way Workplace Campaign (formally the Combined Charity Campaign), the Maryland Charity Campaign and several other third-party partners using our Tax ID 52-1243849. If you’re interested in exploring monthly giving, please reach out to Tobi Morris at (410) 467-4250 or advancement@marianhouse.org.

Hope

Psalms Rojas, chief administrative officer at Marian House

Hope is often defined as having an expectation that something good can happen in the future. I’d be lying if I said that having hope is easy, because it’s not, at least not always.

Yet, I’m learning that to hope is not to pretend that the frustrations, challenges and disappointments don’t exist, but it is to acknowledge them and have hope despite, and in the midst, of them — that we can say: Yes, we grieve the lives lost to violence AND hold hope for a violence-free city through public health programs like Safe Streets Baltimore and Baltimore CeaseFire. We are frustrated by the numbers of unhoused citizens of Baltimore AND hold hope because of programs like HelpingUpMission, Project PLASE, Marian House, and many others who provide shelter for those without. We are disappointed that we are seemingly back to where we started with COVID cases surging in our city and beyond AND hold hope that one day this will be behind us and there will be relief especially for health care workers and others in the front lines. Our #city and its people are resilient. But maybe it’s too overwhelming to try to imagine a brighter future when everything around us seems hopeless — so just focus on today. Find a source of hope — be it a friend, a family member, in faith or in a faith community, or your favorite meal — find your “well” and draw from it. Wherever you find yourself today, there is hope for you.

Marian House is a transitional and permanent supportive housing program for homeless women and their children in Baltimore.

Full story here:

https://www.baltimoresun.com/opinion/columnists/bs-ed-mdz-0119-baltimore-prayer-online-20220119-2icgfde3e5amlj5najhuo2myaq-story.html

Celebrating 10 Years at Marian House!

Celebrating 10 Years at Marian House!

Phyllis Ham-Middleton joined in 2011 as a caseworker in the Marian House II program. She later transitioned to the Marian House I program as a therapist in 2012. Then in 2018, she  became the Chief Program Officer for the Transitional Family Program and Permanent Housing Program and is a member of the leadership team at Marian House.

Lara McNeil, our Employment Coordinator, does an outstanding job of supporting the residents, getting them ready for the workplace, helping them with trainings and job searches, and reaching out to potential employers on behalf of the women.

One of the beloved House Managers, Liz Smith, also celebrates her 10th anniversary at Marian House. Liz is an alumna and was part of the program from October 8, 2007, until October 2, 2008, and is forever grateful for how the program changed her life for the better.  She loves the women and wants to help them as much as she was helped during her time in the program.

Congratulations to Phyllis, Lara, and Liz. Thank you for your years of service at Marian House.

 

 

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Resident Crab Feast     

Resident Crab Feast     

The holidays are a great time to gather and this past Labor Day weekend, the residents of Marian House I, led by Geri F. and Tobina S., organized a crab feast with all the fixings. The residents pooled together their money, and along with a wonderful donation from former board chair, Tere Geckle, ordered

6 ½ bushels of crabs.  In addition, they had hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad, chips and more. Tere also ordered special desserts from Classic Catering and had them delivered to top off the feast.

To make the day even better, the weather was perfect! We hope you also had a wonderful Labor Day Holiday. Our sincerest thanks to Tere Geckle for helping make the celebration a success!

 

 

Help support the Marian House programs and make a donation today >

 

 

 

New Fund to Be Established

New Fund to Be Established

The Marian House Board of Directors recently approved a board designated fund, the Marian House Rental Assistance Fund.  This fund will allow the Marian House graduates who are working low wage jobs to live in Marian House-owned properties at affordable rental rates. Rent will not exceed 30% of the tenant’s income, an amount that will be far below market rate.  The fund will be used to supplement the client’s payment, when needed, and ensure that the properties have a positive cash flow.

A portion of the proceeds raised at the 40th Anniversary Event will be used to support this fund.

 

 

 

 

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3rd Annual Ravens Season Ticket Raffle

 

 

And the Winner Is . . .

Victor Delclos is the winner of our 3rd Annual Ravens Season Ticket Raffle.  Victor said he saw a Facebook posting that was shared by board member Sister Missy Gugerty, SSND, and he thought “Why not give it a try?”  When he was called on July 30, 2021, and notified that he was the winner, he was surprised and thrilled. He had the option of taking the three Ravens season tickets or the $1,500 in cash and he chose the tickets without hesitation.

Thanks to Victor and to all who purchased tickets, for their support of our mission.    We will offer the raffle again in the spring of 2022.

 

 

 

Help support the Marian House programs and make a donation today >

 

 

Benevolent Baskets

Marian House is in an exciting time of growth. In July, we embarked on another exciting opportunity to expand our services by acquiring a social enterprise model from a non-profit that was closing its doors. Benevolent Baskets was a nonprofit organization that provided a workforce development program where participants, called Basket Builders, gain job experience and business skills as they design, market, and sell gift baskets.

Since workforce development has been a focus of Marian House from our founding, we believe that continuing our journey by taking on this new social enterprise model is a great fit! Four Basket Builders transitioned to receive services through Marian House, and we also acquired the basket-building inventory and equipment. Future Basket Builders will be women who complete the Marian House Job Readiness program, giving them a steppingstone before entering the workforce. The program also provides a new opportunity for volunteer engagement and has long term potential to build sustainable revenue as a social enterprise!

We have been busy making the program our own by crafting and adding a new curriculum, refreshing the logo, updating product offerings, and more. Baskets will include signature offerings like hand-etched glassware, the opportunity for custom orders and seasonal changes at price points that help us engage a diverse range of supporters. We are excited to work with local business partners to feature their products in our baskets and to provide baskets to businesses and individuals in the local community.

To learn more about the program, ways to engage or to check out our newest products, please visit marianhouse.org/benevolentbaskets.

 

 

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Ask And You Shall Receive      

The courtyard at Marian House headquarters is a special place for the staff and residents and the local community. The courtyard offers a tranquil water fountain, trees, flowers, benches, and a community book bank where people can donate or borrow books.  In addition, the courtyard also features the four 6 ½ foot tall caryatids that are named after the four values Marian House aims to instill in all the women served:  Patience, Honesty, Integrity, and Trust. Residents love to gather on the 2nd and 3rd floor balconies overlooking the courtyard, to enjoy the fresh air and tranquility near their rooms.

Marian House Chief Administrative Officer, Psalms Rojas, and resident Njeri M., got together and submitted a proposal to the Nature Sacred Foundation to request funds to purchase two picnic tables for the courtyard, and new patio furniture for the 2nd and 3rd floor balconies.  The grant request was awarded, and the picnic tables and patio furniture have enhanced the courtyard and balconies for the residents to enjoy.  On a nice day, you can see residents having lunch outside or just visiting with other residents or visitors.

Thank you to Nature Sacred for helping to facilitate mindfulness, meditation, and relaxation.

 

Help support the Marian House programs and make a donation today >