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.”