Resident Spotlight: Quay

“You are not your mistakes. If you mess up, ask for help…”

What was life like before coming to Marian House? Quay entered in September 2022.

In my case, it depends on where the story begins. There’s a bizarre and confusing mix of awesomeness and tragedy. My journey to Marian House started around the same time COVID plagued the world. I’d recently moved to Baltimore. I lived by the harbor; thought Thad the career of my dreams, and literally 3 bad decisions later, I was in rehab by the end of that year, facing eviction, addiction, and I was quickly spiraling into deep despair.

What led you to Marian House?

Three years after COVID, after my struggles with substance abuse started, I experienced being homeless in Iowa, trapped in a relationship with an ex-convict and life-long criminal. I recently lost the baby I had with that guy. I hated my job at a local grocery. My grandfather had died 2 days before my 34th birthday. And yeah, I was still struggling with my addiction. I was using in the bathroom of my job and dropping weight like water. I ended up having a moment where I decided I was going to give up, that my addiction was unbeatable. I spent an entire week running the streets of Baltimore. During that week I experienced where my addiction was going to lead me to (in the worst ways), and on that 5th day, a couple I was using with walked me to treatment, and that’s where this journey began.

How would you describe Marian House to someone else?

Marian House is a safe haven for women and families, where you will be loved and encourages until you learn to love and encourage yourself. Marian House is a place where you can shed your traumas, your pain and recover from whatever circumstance led you here. At Marian House, anyone can grow, become educated, and learn healthy life skills that will directly help you become the best version of yourself. Marian House is the only place they anyone should go if they really want a better life, as it is unlike any other rehabilitation center in the city. Marian House will teach you how to manage your money, everyday work/life balance skills, relationships, emotions, and your schedule. You cannot leave this place without learning to be a productive human, PERIOD.

What has been the most helpful to you at Marian House?

It would hands down have to be the fact that most of the staff are female and each and every one of them love and respect the women that come through the doors. They don’t see you as your mistakes and every staff member pulls out the very best in you. I really take a lot from my therapy sessions with Ms. Beth who is the most phenomenal woman. She has this crazy ability to pull things out of me I try to hide. I really couldn’t imagine my growth without my counselor, Ms. Beth.

What’s something you learned here that you will take with you?

I learned that it’s okay to ask for help and needing others doesn’t make me weak. I learned that trauma isn’t always physical and emotional scars do in fact shape you in ways that may not be so easily detectable but are still equally as important to address.

When people support Marian House, what are they supporting?

They are helping women have a safe place to go each night. They are supporting educational dreams and aspirations. They are helping women find and keep careers. They are helping clothe, feed, educate, and mold women to become better citizens and better parents. They are helping women realize their potential by taking away, just for a while, the stress of dealing with a life full of the challenges that hold them back.


If you could talk to your younger self (5 or 10 years ago), what would you tell them?

You are not your mistakes. If you mess up, ask for help, dust yourself off, and start over. You can trust people and you can accomplish anything you want with a plan and action.


Volunteer Spotlight: Meet Katie O’Brien & Nazish Weaver, 5K Co-Chairs

Marian House is excited to have Katie O’Brien and Nazish Weaver as our Co-Chairs for the 15th Annual Race to Embrace

Independence 5K Run and Walk. Nazish previously volunteered with our race and eagerly stepped up to co-chair our 2023 5K. Katie ran our race in 2022 and was encouraged to help lead as a co-chair in 2023. She has extensive experience racing different events, but this is her first time planning one.


Katie was connected to us by Tony Moag, COO at Whiting-Turner and is childhood friends with

Megan Ferris. Although born in New York, Katie grew up in Maryland and attended the University of Maryland to study civil engineering. She has worked at Whiting-Turner since she graduated 13 years ago, and does quality management for major healthcare construction projects. She has been married to her high school sweetheart for 11 years. She lives in Catonsville with her 6-year-old son, 4-year-old -daughter and 11-year-old German Shepherd, Shaefer. She loves traveling and also competing in multiple races a year as a triathlete. Katie started volunteering at Marian House by serving on the WIE committee as a construction related resource. She joined the Board in the Fall of 2020 and sits on the Facilities Committee.


Nazish met Katie Allston & Karen Albert at a CareFirst Board Connect event that helped introduce nonprofit organizations to CareFirst employees interested in serving the community. She started volunteering at Marian House in Fall 2019 by joining the Advancement Committee and is now a member of our Board. Nazish has always valued a life of service and loves being an ambassador for Marian House and our mission! Her background includes a Bachelors in International Business and a Masters in Healthcare Administration. She works at CareFirst as an Account Consultant, managing retention with market employer groups from 2-199 people. She has been at CareFirst for 7 years and loves the relationship building focus that they have. She also happens to work with Mary Penczek, former 5K committee & Board Member. Nazish and her husband live in Owings Mills and have three adult children ages 21-26. In her spare time, she loves making jewelry, furniture flipping, and loves to walk and cook. She wholeheartedly believes that love is best shared through food!


While both Katie and Nazish have been busy planning our annual 5K, Nazish also finished a 20-mile Mammoth March walk in Newark, Delaware and enjoyed several weekend trips, while Katie has an upcoming family trip to Northern Italy & Switzerland for her parents’ 70th birthdays. As we’re wrapping up a fun-filled summer, we are all eager to see you at the race on September 30, 2023 – here at Marian House. Please REGISTER TODAY at

Ravens Raffle Winner has been chosen

And the Winner Is . . .

Mark Davis is the winner of our Annual Ravens Season Ticket Raffle. Sold by our very own Scott. Mark was intrigued with the possibility of winning and brought tickets.

When he was called on July 27, 2023, and notified that he was the winner, he was thrilled. He had the option of taking the 4 Ravens season tickets or the $1,500 in cash and he chose the tickets without hesitation.

Thanks to Mark and to all who purchased tickets, for their support of our mission. We will offer the raffle again in the spring of 2024.

See you next year and may the odds be in your favor!





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

You Can Leave a Legacy

You truly can leave a legacy! It is not just for the rich, wealthy or famous. Leaving a planned gift is a way to leave a legacy and support the work you championed in your lifetime.

Planned gifts can be as simple as making an outright bequest or as complex as creating a charitable trust in your will. Naming Marian House as a beneficiary in your property, estate or on your insurance policy is a simple, special gift that leaves a legacy. You can even leave a percentage of a policy. Please call or have your personal financial representative call our Advancement Office at 410.467.4246 to talk about how you can leave a legacy of love. We are happy to help you devise a legacy plan.

Volunteer SPOTLIGHT – Rev. Joyce and CMAT

Rev. Joyce E. Jones has been a Marian House volunteer since spring 2022. With an impressive background, Rev. Joyce graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Virginia State University and a master’s degree at Central Michigan University in Public Administration and Human Resources. Formerly employed by NSA (National Security Administration), she taught at Cryptologic Training School, Prince George’s Community College, and Bowie State University. She is a proud parent to two adult children and one grandson, Caleb.

As the Ministry Leader for the Christian mentoring and Transition Program (CMAT), she began meeting with Marian House staff last spring to explore a pilot partnership. CMAT recruits and trains Christian women to mentor incarcerated and recently released women, pointing them to Jesus Christ and referring them to resources to assist with their transition. Mentors participate from 30 different churches across the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and Pennsylvania. Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, where Rev. Joyce is ordained as an elder, is CMAT’s host community.

Over the past 12 years, CMAT has been mentoring women inside the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women, and this year Rev. Joyce will celebrate 25 years of prison ministry. When COVID-19 forced CMAT to pivot to a more virtual presence, the seed of the idea to partner with community-based organizations working with the same population was born. Rev. Joyce was familiar with the work of Marian House because she had prayed for many women at MCIW, over the years, who longed to move on to what she came to understand as the “premier transitional program in the area.” They were blessed to have previous mentees successfully complete the Marian House program and saw first-hand the kind of growth they experienced and the independence they gained.

In the initial pilot with Marian House, Rev. Joyce and her fellow volunteers at CMAT provided 15 women with personally tailored welcome packages with supplies to help them settle into their new home here. Those same women were invited to participate in a monthly pen-pal relationship and receive regular newsletters from the group. In November, the women were invited to Beltsville to help celebrate the 12th Anniversary of CMAT. Zoom and in-person enrichment activities are planned for the spring, with discussion topics voted on by participants. The next topic is, “Taming the Tongue: The Power of Talking Right for a Productive Life.”

We’re grateful to have Rev. Joyce and CMAT as part of the Marian House family and look forward as the partnership continues to grow and serve more women in its second year.


Nancy is the first to say that she never really had a childhood.

As young as she can remember, she was the main person responsible for her family of seven despite being the middle sibling. When she wasn’t working to provide for them financially, she was acting as the head of household for other families. Even the leisure time and the few toys she had were shared with her siblings. While it was fulfilling to support her family, Nancy had no time to take care of herself.

As an adult, the endless flow of working to support others continued. One day she just couldn’t keep up, and Nancy “took a fall”— she could no longer afford rent. Facing homelessness and realizing her own limitations, she turned to drinking and drugs, quickly becoming “broken in all areas of life.”

Nancy’s first step to stopping her downward spiral was attending recovery meetings, where she first learned of Marian House. She was self-conscious about joining a transitional program in her early fifties, but the lack of an age limit encouraged her. When she was admitted as a resident, she saw immediate improvement, fueled by Marian House’s resources. “Everything I expected to be there, it was more,” she says now.

When she arrived, Nancy learned how to accomplish and enjoy tasks for herself that she had only done for others before. She learned how to properly get a job, manage her own finances, and dress appropriately for the workplace. The support and community Nancy received helped her gain the mental and physical strength to obtain independence. When she had a bout of illness early in her stay, “Marian House was there for me.” Group dinners in the Great Room made Nancy feel like she was, for the first time, in a community where people would do nice things for her and not expect anything back from her in return.

Nancy views Marian House as a place where, even with all the pressure from the outside world to take care of others, she could “get to know myself first.” Through therapy and Marian House’s emphasis on developing strong relationships, she went from a person who “couldn’t speak or hold conversations with others” to a strong self-advocate. She knew Marian House had rejuvenated her when, for the first time since she lost her home, she started baking cookies again. The skills for self-sufficiency Nancy learned in transitional housing made her secure in her finances, confident in her abilities, and proud of herself.

Nancy says, “Sometimes we think we need things at a certain point, but they come when the time is right.” After nearly a whole life spent taking care of others at her own neglect, Nancy can finally take care of herself. Marian House helped Nancy regain her independence. As she ends her time in transitional housing and begins the move to an independent apartment close to her job at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Nancy still feels that her recovery isn’t over—she’s just happy to feel her true self, and her inner child, blossom.

We are at the starting line!

Planning for the 15th Annual Race to Embrace Independence IS UNDERWAY!

The race will beheld in late September and will start and end at Marian House Virtual participation is available for those who can’t join us in-person. We are seeking sponsors from local businesses. By pledging to sponsor us from $1,500 to $10,000 your company can get its logo on the race day shirt. For more details, please call 410-467-4250. Sponsorship benefits and opportunities are below.

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


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 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