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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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:
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Shawnte Perry arrived at Marian House on October 15, 2020, after being incarcerated for 25 years. As a young woman she made poor choices about the people she befriended and got caught up in their behavior, adopting it as her own. At the age of 15, she spent a year in detention and then the next 24 years in the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women (MCIW).
Shawnte had only completed 9th grade at the time of her incarceration. She started her GED preparation upon first entering MCIW and finished in one year. She then enrolled in college courses through The Goucher Prison Education Partnership. When asked about her desire to further her education, Shawnte replied, “being incarcerated is whatever you make of it. I did everything I could to work on my degree while I had the opportunity, and it was offered for free. I was always a good student despite my poor choices.”
Because of her desire to learn and her good behavior record while at the correctional facility, Shawnte’s attorney pleaded with the Judge to grant her release to the Marian House program in 2020. The judge researched Marian House and determined that Shawnte was ready to resume her life outside of MCIW.
Shawnte is grateful to be in the Marian House program. She said, “After having a roommate and being in a bunkbed for 25 years I was so thankful to have my own private room. It gave me great peace of mind to have time alone. I thank God every day for being at Marian House.”
Shawnte has taken advantage of everything we offered her at Marian House and after completing the Job Readiness Program, obtained a job at the Baltimore Aquarium as a Guest Services Representative. When asked how she likes working she replied, “I love my job and get to meet at least 1,000 people every day. I am trained in different jobs throughout the Aquarium so there is never a dull moment.”
Shawnte completed her coursework towards a Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies in the fall of 2020, shortly before coming to Marian House. On June 15, 2021, Shawnte graduated from Goucher College, one of the first women in nearly 30 years to complete a bachelor’s degree through coursework offered onsite in a Maryland prison.
Her years of taking college courses had finally paid off!
When asked what her future goals are she stated, “I want to eventually become a counselor or therapist. I want to help people with their struggles and mental health issues. I also know that I will eventually have my own place and I have never had a place of my own. I know Marian House will help me to succeed.”