Donors: In Their Own Words

Mary Clark

“House of Ruth is one of the local charities to which I have contributed for many years. In a visit to House of Ruth, what most impressed me was the professionalism of the leadership and staff, their disciplined focus on well-defined goals and outcomes, and their dedication to developing and implementing programs proven to work. I was also impressed with the thoughtful ways in which the living situations and programs are structured to respect the dignity and privacy of the women and families they serve. I came away from my visit even more committed to supporting House of Ruth’s mission. I have increased my yearly contributions and also made provisions for House of Ruth in my will. I know House of Ruth will use my contributions efficiently and well.”

Colette Cowey

“Imagine being a young, poor woman, raised in or living in an abusive environment, with limited education and few job opportunities. Add to that the responsibility of caring for your children, alone, perhaps under threat. Where do you turn to try and make your way out of the sinkhole you feel is dragging you further down? How do you get organized to find safe shelter, food, steady employment, kids’ schooling, a reliable support system and the myriad other basic needs in order to survive, set priorities, and lift yourself to a new level? If you are lucky enough to be steered to the House of Ruth, you’ll have a fighting chance.

After some years of supporting the House of Ruth because of its commitment to improving the lives of inner-city women I was finally able to accept an invitation to visit one of the facilities sponsored by this organization. At the Hope Rising residence in Anacostia, I saw the dignity and respect with which clients are treated; the simple but fully adequate living accommodations that provide privacy for families while making shared space available for community activities; learned of the constant supervision, caring, and flexibility that House of Ruth staff provide as clients struggle to make enormous life changes; and gained insights into the demanding professional and personal requirements – empathy, patience, constancy, reliability among others – that each staff member must demonstrate.

This experience left me humbled and in awe: at the courage of the women who seek to reach out for a better life for themselves and their children; and at the dedication of the House of Ruth staff at all levels who can help to make these women’s dreams come true. I know that my contribution to the House of Ruth is put to excellent use.”

Marietta Bernot

“I believe that every human being has the inherent desire to live with dignity and to be self-sufficient. House of Ruth’s approach gives women the chance to achieve their potential and to have pride in themselves and their accomplishments. I can think of no greater gift to give someone. This is why I support House of Ruth.”

Susan Kristol

“I began supporting House of Ruth because I wanted to help women in our area who have very great needs and nowhere else to turn. House of Ruth assists these women and their families with a variety of thoughtfully-run programs. When I visited one of the group homes for single women that House of Ruth has created, I was very impressed by its amazing program coordinator. She lovingly guides a group of women through the daily challenges of life, teaching them how to live in a shared apartment, buy furniture, manage a small budget, take public transportation, go on occasional field trips for fun, and feel, finally, like part of a family.”

Marlis Carson

“I give to House of Ruth because I feel the organization’s approach to addressing the needs of clients is very effective. By providing safe housing and supportive services, House of Ruth helps women get on the road to self-sufficiency and stable family life. I give also because I am grateful for the advantages I have had in my life and would like to help those who are not so fortunate.”

Laura Peebles

“Here in Washington, it’s easy to focus on national or international problems, and the very large amounts of money involved in addressing those problems.But it’s important not to overlook the issues in our own backyard, many of which can be effectively addressed with more manageable amounts. I am pleased to be able to support House of Ruth because of its effectiveness in changing lives locally, where my support can make a difference.”

Kaili Mang Jeyarajah

“Whenever I hear a horrible story about people who are down on their luck, no support system to speak of, all alone and heading down, I wonder how they are going to pull themselves back up. I wonder how it is that some of us can be so unlucky to have been born into a situation that will barely prepare us to live a satisfying life, and how others of us have been born into a supportive community. I often wonder how one person's path in life allows them to cross into fertile land, and another's will take them to the desert. The more I think about it, the more I feel that life is like a lottery. I got lucky, and for as many ones like me around, there are just as many unlucky people.

Being lucky, I feel like I have a responsibility to help someone who isn't so lucky. However, I won't kid myself; I am not good at social work, at lifting people up, at bringing out the best in someone who has been dealt the worst. I have a lot to offer the world in my profession and I am an important member of my family, but I'm pretty sure I would be of no use to a stranger who needs basic life help.

But there are people who can help, and I can help by giving them money to do their work. House of Ruth does this. I believe that the people leading House of Ruth are competent, realistic, honest and dedicated to their work. I visited their homes and I read about their programs and I decided that this is a good answer for me.”

Cheryl Cole Dodwell

“We are so very glad to be able to support the House of Ruth.On a recent visit to one of the safe, supportive and welcoming homes the House of Ruth maintains for families in crisis, we were impressed with the organization’s commitment to the holistic well being of the women and children with whom they work. We had the clear sense that the caring staff of the House of Ruth honors the inherent worth and dignity of each person who comes through their doors, no matter what their life story, and works compassionately to meet their individual needs. There are no short cuts to this kind of work, and no way to automate it.It is simply time intensive, and people intensive.We treasure the House of Ruth’s commitment to establishing the compassionate human connections that are critical to building healthy families and healthier communities.”


Building on Strengths

The women at House of Ruth have had terrible things happen to them.  From early childhood on, violence has been a part of their family life.  It’s our job to find the strengths that each woman and child possess and then help them build on those qualities.  It may be intelligence, a talent, resiliency, or the memory of a positive relationship – whatever the asset, it provides a starting point for building a relationship.

As time goes on, the women and children learn that the staff truly has their best interests at heart.  They see it in the actions of staff, the nurturing and support that is offered, and, gradually, they begin to trust us.  Great change can happen from that foundation of trust and respect.