House of Ruth

Yoga Event in Memory of Sabrina Titus

Yoga Event in Memory of Sabrina Titus

Last month, Kayo Martin hosted a yoga event fundraiser for House of Ruth via Zoom. The event was dedicated to the memory of her friend Sabrina Titus, who passed away on June 11th, 2017 to domestic violence.

Certified yoga instructor Kayo Martin led a Full Moon Restorative Yoga via Zoom, and was followed by 10 minutes of meditation with live harp music performed by therapeutic musician Saori Nystrom. This was a free event in which all were invited to join in to celebrate Sabrina’s life and to build awareness around domestic violence.

Shimmy Mob DC’s 2020 Performance

Our flash mob friends, Shimmy Mob DC, posted their annual performance online on Saturday, May 9, 2020 on World Bellydance Day to raise money for House of Ruth.

For the last several years, the Shimmy Mob team performed at several iconic DC spots for the annual event and would wrap their final performance at Freedom Plaza.

During this unprecedented time of the COVID-19 pandemic, Shimmy Mob DC planned an online presentation and fundraiser, which is posted on their Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/shimmymobdc.

To learn more about the Shimmy Mob team and what they do, visit http://www.shimmymobdc.com. On behalf of the staff and clients at House of Ruth, we are so thankful for Shimmy Mob DC’s many years of support!

Supporting Our Front-Line Workers

On Tuesday April 21, 2020, House of Ruth’s executive director Sandra Jackson joined Congresswomen Pramila Jayapal, V, formerly known as Eve Ensler, the author of the Vagina Monologues, and several other organizations on a Facebook Live event to talk about the women workers leading us through the COVID-19 crisis, and how we need to support these essential women workers during and after this crisis. It was an energizing and thought-provoking conversation during these difficult times.

Click here to watch the recorded discussion on our Facebook page!

Building D.C.’s Beloved Community

On February 19th, House of Ruth’s Executive Director Sandra Jackson joined Bread for the City’s CEO George Jones and CARECEN’s Executive Director Abel Nunez for a discussion at Georgetown University in honor of Black History Month.

The topic was Living the Dream: Advocacy and Building DC’s Beloved Community. Ms. Jackson spoke up as an advocate for helping women and children where they are, today, and thus building a stronger next generation. “We are the voice for women and children that can’t speak for themselves,” she said. “We share with advocates, founders and policy makers about how their investments change lives.” Thank you to Georgetown University for convening such a thoughtful conversation.

Legacy Of A Dream Award Speech

This is the speech given by Sandra Jackson on January 20, 2020 as she accepted the John Thompson, Jr. Legacy of a Dream Award from Georgetown University and its president, Dr. John J. DeGioia. We hope you are as inspired by the speech, and Ms. Jackson, as we all are.


To Dr. DeGioia and the Georgetown University Selection Committee—I am extremely thankful and honored to receive the John Thompson Jr. Legacy of a Dream Award named in honor of a giant on the basketball court and an advocate for justice. And, receiving this award on this day—honoring another giant and drum major for justice, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.—is humbling.

I am a long way from the little girl growing up in Washington, D.C. where I have fond memories that include meeting my soulmate more than 50 years ago, but also where I encountered my own challenges. My journey here can be traced to a family that loved, supported and sacrificed for me. My mother the social worker (with no formal degree), was an architect of wrap-around services for the family, her friends and community. I credit her with the inspiration for my journey.

This also framed my approach to this work; I see something special in the women, children and families we serve—even when they don’t see it in themselves. When I look into the eyes of a child, I don’t see what’s not possible, I see possibility at the highest level. And, as Marian Wright Edelman said, “The question is not whether we can afford to invest in every child; it is whether we can afford not to.” And, through the support and services House of Ruth offers, we believe that the women, children and families are not what happened to them, but they are created masterpieces on the journey, to becoming and realizing their purpose.

When Dr. DeGioia visited one of our family programs, he heard the stories of several mothers, and how the support they were receiving was moving them forward to achieve their goals and dreams. One mother in the group has four young children—but she is up and out the door by 6:00 a.m. with her children (including one-year-old twins), delivering them to three different schools by way of public transportation, before she arrives at her training program for the day.

Dr. DeGioia asked what was the model that supports the women—we talked about the trauma-informed practice, safe housing, child development services, counseling, financial literacy, life skills, budgeting, debt remediation, and the list goes on—all of which are critical to their success, but the resounding themes the women shared were…

  • the staff believed in them—even when they did not believe in themselves,
  • the staff listened and supported them through difficult times,
  • the staff pushed them when they felt like they could not go on.

I stand before you today, because someone believed in me and I answered the call to serve: putting one foot ahead of the other and moving forward—not always sure what lied ahead but confident that my steps were being ordered and if I kept moving forward, I would walk into my purpose—to defend and help others.

I accept the John Thompson Jr. Legacy of a Dream Award on behalf of Dr. Veronica Maz, a Georgetown University Professor who founded House of Ruth 43 years ago—with one program providing housing for eight women;

I accept this award on behalf of the 13,000 women, children and families we have served over the 43 years;

I accept this award on behalf of our 100+ staff, who serve in the 16 current programs;

I accept this award on behalf of our board of directors, who have supported this out of the box executive director;

I accept this award on behalf of the public funders and foundations, who hear my appeals for funds;

I accept this award on behalf of the 20,000 committed donors (who helped House of Ruth raise 7 million dollars to build a state of the art child development center in Ward 7—for the future leaders);

I accept this award on behalf of my husband and family who comforts this social worker;

Finally, I accept this award and share it with my mother who I believe is in heaven, saying “you did good, baby girl.”

Purple Thursday with DCCADV and Mayor Bowser

On October 24th, House of Ruth joined the DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence (DCCADV) and other local organizations in wearing purple to honor victims and support survivors of domestic violence for Purple Thursday. The Mayor’s Office on Women’s Policy and Initiatives, the DC Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants, and Mayor Bowser addressed attendees on the steps of the National City Christian Church. They spoke in support of survivors and emphasized their commitment to ending domestic violence in the District.

My Girlfriend’s House Shelter Room Makeover

On October 5th, 13 domestic violence survivors living at House of Ruth’s Families First II program were gifted with newly designed apartments—all inspired by their dream houses—thanks to over 270 volunteers from My Girlfriend’s House.

My Girlfriend’s House is a community of women in the DC area focused on empowering at-risk women with the skills and self-confidence they need to make a better and brighter future for themselves.

The Shelter Room Makeover Party is a twice-a-year outreach effort by My Girlfriend’s House designed to uplift women living in homeless shelters by renovating their rooms into hotel-styled suites. Through student and volunteer efforts, My Girlfriend’s House completely renovated and designed 13, two-bedroom apartments with living rooms, dining rooms, kitchenettes and full bathrooms; a women’s lounge room; and a children’s playroom for House of Ruth over the course of five hours.

On behalf of the women, children and staff at House of Ruth, thank you so much to My Girlfriend’s House and the volunteers who made this special day possible! To see the photos from the incredible makeover, please click here.

2019 Giant National BBQ Battle

On June 22-23rd, the Giant National Capital Barbeque Battle hosted its 27th annual Barbeque Battle at our nation’s capital, and the producers have graciously donated tickets to the BBQ Battle to the women, children and staff at House of Ruth again this year!

The women and children had an amazing time during the weekend event, enjoying the day’s festivities with food, laughter and music, and of course, they had the chance to sample a variety of BBQ staples of D.C.’s local restaurants.

On behalf of all of us here at House of Ruth, we want to thank the producers of the Giant National Capital Barbeque Battle for so generously providing tickets to this fun-filled weekend!

Kidspace Groundbreaking with Councilmember Gray

This past June, D.C. Councilmember Vincent Gray of Ward 7 joined House of Ruth’s staff, board of directors and community of supporters to celebrate the groundbreaking of our Kidspace developmental child care center.

House of Ruth’s Board Chair Diane Lewis kicked off the opening remarks and introduced Councilmember Gray, who shared his support for our campaign to build a state of the art child care center—one of our community’s strongest needs—right in D.C.’s Ward 7. Executive Director Sandra L. Jackson wrapped up the closing remarks, proudly speaking about the vital work at Kidspace over the last 20 years, and shared her excitement for the new Kidspace center and its grand opening ceremony next year.

Belly Dancing Against DV with Shimmy Mob

On the second Saturday of every May, over 100+ flash mob belly dance teams around the world perform choreography on the same day to promote the art of Middle Eastern dance, and to raise money for their local charities. This year, the World Belly Dance Day will take place on Saturday May 11th.

For the past five years, Shimmy Mob DC – Washington, D.C.’s official team – has supported House of Ruth’s work.

Last month, Shimmy Mob DC kicked off their performance at DuPont Circle at 10 am. The team rode the Metro, stopping and performing at several iconic DC spots, before ending at Freedom Plaza at 2 pm. This year, Shimmy Mob DC’s goal was to raise $1,000 for the Name-A-Brick campaign for House of Ruth’s Kidspace Capital Campaign – a goal which they exceeded!

Be sure to visit http://www.shimmymobdc.com to learn more about Shimmy Mob and what they do. On behalf of the staff, women and families at House of Ruth, we are so thankful for Shimmy Mob DC’s support!

Stay in Touch With House of Ruth

Your support helps women and children build strong, stable lives.

Newsletter Sign-Up