VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT: Kate Hutson
Cate Hutson is a 17-year-old senior at Towson High School. She runs track and cross country and also participates in the school’s Model Congress. She’s taking the virtual start to her senior year in stride and is focused on college application essays to mid-Atlantic schools with programs in biology and public health.
Marian House has been lucky to have worked with Cate over the past two years on a final service project as she finishes 11 years in the Girl Scouts. As an active member of her troop, Cate is following in the footsteps of her mother, a former Girl Scout, and her brother, who was once active in Cub Scouts.
After winning the Girl Scout Silver Award for a project focused on animal welfare, and before transitioning to what is sure to be a bright future, Cate decided to strive for the prestigious Gold Award, a feat achieved by only 5% of eligible senior and ambassador scouts, by devoting her time and talents to a capstone project which would build on the skills she’s acquired through her years in the Girl Scouts.
Cate heard about Marian House through her mother and a partner organization as she was exploring opportunities to work with people. After two years of thorough planning, Cate brought 23 volunteers out over 4 days in late July to clean and beautify the small, private playground behind the Notre Dame Residence at our Independence Place Campus in Pen Lucy, and spruced up some adjacent plant beds at the Independence Place campus. She acquired the tools and materials, as well as the people power, to remove trash and weeds, clean playground equipment, trim back vines and trees, replace gravel and rotted landscape timbers, install a drainage system and spread new mulch.
She coordinated with and procured resources from Hollins Market and Home Depot, gleaned input from experts at Mahan Rykiel Associates and those within her personal network, but it was the implementation phase of the project where she felt that she thrived and had the most fun. Despite having to wrap up the project in the midst of a pandemic, she was still able to mobilize friends, family, classmates and members of her faith community at Central Presbyterian Church to make her vision and the needs of our Marian House families come to fruition.
With a focus on sustainability, Cate has also provided Marian House with the details needed to maintain the refurbished space for our children and families to use long into the future. During a summer in which Marian House families have been more homebound than ever, this has been an extra special gift to us! We share our appreciation for Cate’s time and hard work. Congratulations on earning the Girl Scout Gold Award!
Saché grew up in a tight-knit family in the Park Heights neighborhood of Baltimore. She is the oldest of 5 siblings, with 2 brothers and 2 sisters. She had her first drink at the age of fifteen, but it wasn’t until she was twenty-two that she began to abuse alcohol as a means to cope with the abusive relationship she was in. After multiple attempts, Saché was finally able to leave her abusive partner, but the addiction to alcohol had developed into a vicious cycle in her life. Over and over, period s of sobriety and stability would be followed by relapse, loss of job and home. Another attempt at recovery would eventually end in relapse, and the cycle continued.
“When I was just focused on working, I had no time for recovery. That’s been my problem in the past, I forget that I have an addiction so I get back to my regular life and forget that I can’t have a drink, then I’m back to square one: homeless, losing my job, having no money, and burning bridges with my family. The alcoholism makes my life unmanageable, makes me depressed and not care about anything, not even living.”
During her last attempt at sobriety, Saché was working two jobs, had six months sober, but was so busy that she did not prioritize her recovery. She knew she was on the verge of relapse.
As the holiday season came around, Saché was struggling with loneliness and she began to walk to the bar, but her boyfriend found her and stopped her from fully relapsing. “I knew I needed to do more for my recovery or I wasn’t going to make it. When I had my interviews for Marian House, I knew this is where I needed to be. I needed the structure and the accountability. “ When Saché first walked through our doors, just a few weeks later, in January this year, she remembers: “I was greeted by the other residents great, big smiles. I felt like God sent me angels. I relaxed in my shoulders and in my gut. It was a sense of relief and I knew it was going to be a good atmosphere for me.
Everybody welcomed me and was so friendly. Now that I’ve been here for a while, I know, it’s hard NOT to grow here. When a new resident comes, I try to show them the same warmth and comfort that I felt when I first got here.” Since being at Marian House, Saché has appreciated the stability that she has here. She started therapy for the first time in her life and began to address her anxiety and addiction. She is learning about herself and is building healthy coping strategies to maintain her sobriety long-term. “I had been in survival mode for so long. I was scared. I felt like I was just existing and like I was near death.
But God gave me hope, that I’m not too far gone, I still had a little bit of hope left to keep fighting. You don’t always get a lot of chances to start over, but Marian House gave me a stable place where I didn’t have to think about a bed, having heat, a roof over my head, or my next shower. Now that I don’t have to worry about those things, I’m able to keep my recovery first! I have hope again.”
Today, Saché has been rebuilding her career. In the past two month she has completed a phlebotomy course, renewed her First Aid and CPR certification, renewed her Medical Assistant license and is about to start a course for IV Therapy. “I feel like I’m in control of my life again, and if there’s something I can’t control – I know how to step away and let that go. I’m not living my life based on fear anymore. I’m looking forward to my independence, I want it all: my career, a car, my own place, and in the future, I want to be a Nurse Practitioner or Physician’s Assistant.
My dream is to open a free mobile clinic that can go into the communities and give people the care they need, where they don’t have to worry about being judged or having to pay for it. My family is very proud and supportive of me and my process. They’re happy that they have back the Saché they remember.”
We’re so proud of Saché and have no doubt that she’ll be able to reach all that she has dreamed of!
LETTER FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Happy Fall to All,
Although it seemed as if 2020 would last forever, I have to admit that it has gone by quickly and I can’t believe the holidays will soon be upon us. As you may know, at Marian House we celebrate every major and minor holiday with the intention of spreading cheer and lifting the spirits of all the women and children in our care. We expect the 2020 holidays to be very different than in previous years, but we will do everything possible to make them special regardless. Please see the article on “Tis the Season” for details on how you can help. We continue to be blessed with good health, despite the number of COVID-19 cases locally and nationally. Our attention to CDC protocols and guidelines for all staff and residents at Marian House have helped us to avoid any positive cases.
We hope you and your family are also in good health. Since March, all of our events have become virtual. We recently completed a very successful 12th Annual Race to Embrace Independence that was held virtually over an eight-day period. Necessity is the mother of invention for sure! Look for details in the 5K wrap-up article in this newsletter. We also had a fun Trivia Night fundraiser that was so popular, we plan to hold another one in January.
We miss our volunteers coming to visit and have created some virtual volunteer opportunities. We can share these with you by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. We are excited to share that our volunteer Cate Hutson was able to finish the Girl Scout capstone project that she started pre-COVID. We hope you enjoy reading about her beautification of the playground at our Independence Place campus.
I wish you a healthy fall and the happiest of holidays. Please know how much we appreciate your support of Marian House and we hope we will see you in person very soon.
Wishing You Peace,
Katie Allston, LCSW-C
Tis’ The Season
Marian House invites you to spread some holiday cheer by adopting one or more women and/or families for the holidays. We are seeking individuals, families, churches, organizations, and businesses to participate in our Holiday Giving Program.
We will provide you with a wish list of items from our residents and you can schedule a time to drop off the unwrapped items at Marian House any time before December 17. If you want to avoid the stores this holiday season, please consider donating gift cards to Walmart, Target or Amazon and we will do the shopping for you.
Thanks so much for your consideration. Please contact email@example.com and let us know about your adoption or donation interests. With your help, we can make the holidays at Marian house special for all the women and children we serve.
P.S. If you plan on using Amazon for your personal holiday shopping, remember to purchase at smile.amazon.com and select Marian House as the organization to receive a portion of your purchase.
Nothing Trivial About It!
We are thankful to board member Karen Albert for bringing us an idea for a new, pandemic friendly fundraiser this summer. When she said “Let’s do a Trivia Night Fundraiser!”, we jumped on it.
Taking place on Monday, August 31, over 100 people gathered in teams of eight players on Zoom and competed to earn points and bragging rights as winners. Hosted by Walsh Trivia, teams played 4 rounds of 4 games each, earning points along the way.
Congratulations to The Smith Family Scholars for pulling out a last minute win. Although they were not in first place for the final question, they made a creative wager and with the correct answer, won the event!
We had such a good time that we have decided to schedule another Trivia Night on January 20th.
Stay tuned for details.
And the Winner Is…
Congratulations to Sister Joan Minella for winning the 2020 Ravens Season Tickets Raffle. Sister Joan purchased her tickets on July 27th, just in time for the drawing on July 30th. Although Sister Joan is a big Ravens fan, she took the $1,500 cash prize option due to the fact that there will not be fans in the stadium for the 2020 football season. We are hopeful that fans are able to join at some capacity for the 2021 season. Be on the lookout for ticket sales to begin on April 1, 2021. Thanks to all who participated in the 2020 Raffle.
During an unprecedented year, we had a truly unprecedented, fully virtual, Race to Embrace Independence 5K. Thank you for your continued engagement with our annual fundraiser celebrating the journeys of our women. We had over 400 registrants and 36 teams participate in the safety of their own homes and communities.
With an eight day race week we worked to pay homage to the history of the race while embracing the unique circumstances of 2020! A new registration and fundraising platform and your hard work helped us to exceed our peer to peer fundraising goal of $35,000.00. With an amazing array of prizes from our donors, this year’s online raffle was more popular than ever!
This event wouldn’t have been possible without our long list of race sponsors, who despite the current economic climate, continued to show their commitment to the cause. 2020 sponsorship pledges exceeded $74,000.00. We also owe an extra special debt of gratitude to our 2020 5K Planning Committee, whose creativity and ability to adapt to new challenges, made a successful virtual event possible. You all are as a golden as our 2020 race shirt!
The one thing that rang true throughout this experience is that the race must go on! Indeed it did, and our projected net from the 5K is likely to be over $100,000.00 again this year!
Women’s Industrial Exchange located at 333 N. Charles Street.