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!




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 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
Executive Director

Tis’ The Season

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 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 and select Marian House as the organization to receive a portion of your purchase.

Nothing Trivial About It!

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…

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.

Women’s Industrial Exchange located at 333 N. Charles Street.

As you may know, Marian House is now the proud owner of the building historically known as the Women’s Industrial Exchange located at 333 N. Charles Street. As we work to engage our new neighbors and stakeholders on the Charles Street corridor about long term goals for the commercial spaces in the building, we also want to hear from our existing Marian House family and friends from the Women’s Industrial Exchange! We invite you to check out our online survey to share your ideas for unmet social programming and business needs in the downtown area.

Go to

Celebrating the Life of Mary Wheeler, PhD

On June 15, we lost our dear friend and colleague Pastor Mary Wheeler, Ph.D. Mary was the Case Manager in the Family Program and was beloved by her clients, as well as her colleagues at Marian House. An outdoor memorial service for Mary was held on September 15 at the Independence Place Campus of Marian House. Attended by friends, colleagues, clients and family, Mary was remembered with an engraved brick installed in the Geckle Memorial Garden. Mary will be missed by all and we pray that she may rest in peace.

Heart of the House – July Quarterly Newsletter

The pandemic may have brought about some changes, but it has not slowed us down! We’re adjusting to the virtual world of events and fundraising, all of which are critical to the ongoing operations of Marian House. In addition, our women continue to excel, not only amidst a pandemic, but against the injustice and systemic oppression that many of our residents face in their lives. View the full newsletter below

Heart of the House – July Newsletter

A Letter on Current Events

Dear Marian House Friend,

As we approach the midpoint of 2020, I want to take a step back and reflect upon what a year it has been, and what our experience tells us about where we are going.
Little did we know in January that the first six months would result in three devastating, world-changing crises, the intensity of any one of these is enough to shatter who we once thought we were as a society. The Covid-19 pandemic quite likely ensures that we will not return to the “normal” we once knew. It has been quickly followed by a rapid and all-encompassing recession as jobs, businesses and other institutions may be permanently lost as a result of the virus.

Then, just three weeks ago, we learned of the tragic and avoidable death of George Floyd. His death, and those of numerous others before him, stripping bare the systemic racial inequities that continue to plague our country. We now see daily ongoing activism and the coming together of a nation trying to correct the disenfranchisement that continues to occur in black and brown communities. This includes citizens returning from incarceration and others struggling to find a place in our society, and most importantly, the women and families we serve.

Our vision is clear: Marian House must continue to strengthen our society by unlocking the potential found within the women we serve, and the values which guided us through our first thirty-eight years must continue to guide us through these troubling and turbulent times. We must still value the innate dignity of each human being.

Within a culture of respect and understanding of the human condition, the values of patience, trust, honesty, and integrity direct all of our interactions and endeavors. Marian House will remain committed to equity and inclusion. We will continue to value diversity of thought and honor individual identity including race, color, national origin, gender identity, sexual orientation, class, and religion.

Our work is hard. Our work is important. The realities of the fast changing world in which we now find ourselves make our work harder, and even more critical. But we must do more. And we will.

Thank you for joining our commitment to the community by helping us live the core values we espouse, as we strive, with love, care, patience and persistence to do the right thing for the women we serve. Please work with us to explore how we can do more, how we can do better.

Our women and our community deserve no less than that.

Thank you for your ongoing interest and support of our important work at this critical time.

Katie Allston, LCSW-C
Executive Director