House of Ruth

Casey and Sasha’s Story

Casey and Sasha’s Story

Casey* and her daughter Sasha* live in House of Ruth’s permanent supportive housing for survivors of domestic violence who are also overcoming mental health challenges.

During the two years they have been at House of Ruth, Casey has accessed the resources she needs to maintain her sobriety and her mental health, increased both her work hours and her hourly wages, implemented a payment plan for paying off her medical debts, and established healthy communication with her daughter.

Our staff has been there for Casey as she has walked this path. We have connected her to resources, and she has drawn from this support to improve her circumstances. Casey has successfully begun saving money, and our staff is supporting her efforts to identify a career path that could lead to a higher income. We have linked her to free legal resources to help expunge her record, which will improve her career prospects. Our staff has watched her self-esteem grow. We are proud of the work Casey has done to reestablish boundaries with her daughter and to ensure her daughter communicates respectfully with her. With Sasha being in her preteen years and ready to test boundaries, this was a wonderful development in their lives.

The onset of COVID-19 has brought some additional challenges, but Casey has persisted. She continues to work at a fast food restaurant and to serve customers. Her Narcotics Anonymous meetings have been moved to Zoom, and she is still attending regularly.

Casey is eager to do more for herself and for her daughter, and we are there for them both as they walk their journey toward long-term stability and independence. We are proud to support them during this life-changing process.

*Names have been changed.

May’s Story

24-year-old May* was referred to House of Ruth’s Domestic Violence Support Center (DVSC) by the Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) following a report of child endangerment due to the regular arguments that occurred between her and her children’s father. Although May recognized the court viewed her relationship as abusive and dangerous, May did not agree. She had a hard time getting to the DVSC, missing her first two intake appointments, and only attending after her CFSA case worker became involved.

At their sessions, May’s DVSC counselor was able to work with her to identify times when she and her children’s father functioned relatively better, or worse, without applying labels that created resistance to exploring the relationship dynamics. After reframing the situation, May was able to reflect more openly on things that she can do to support more seamless communication in her relationship with her children’s father.

With the progress May made in her DVSC sessions, the court was satisfied that moving forward, May would be less likely to expose her children to interactions they deemed unhealthy.

*Name has been changed.

Lena’s Story

In the wake of the holiday season, and in the midst of challenging times, Lena’s story is a real reminder about what a difference it makes to be surrounded by kindness.

Lena* and her four-year-old son live in House of Ruth’s supportive housing for mothers and children recovering from domestic violence. She says her first visit to House of Ruth just “felt so right.” She loved her apartment and remembers everyone was so welcoming.

Lena says House of Ruth is with her 100%. She does not have much family behind her, and family trauma has made past holidays hard. She doesn’t remember the last time someone gave her a Christmas present, but this year, she said House of Ruth made her feel like part of their family during the holidays. Lena said the festive food at Thanksgiving, the presents at Christmas, and the kindness surrounding her really “made my heart warm.”

Lena has goals and is committed to achieving them. She is working and saving money, making plans to move into her own apartment when the time is right. Next month she will receive her GED, and will enter the management program at her place of employment after obtaining her diploma. This accomplishment was realized while she managed working and caring for her young son. Lena’s son is in pre-kindergarten, and she coordinates overseeing his virtual learning, brings him to his paternal grandmother’s house in the afternoons, works, and manages to complete her own coursework. The pandemic brought changes to her work schedule — her hours have become less regular, and that has decreased the time she is able to spend with her son. This has made Lena very intentional about their time together, and she makes sure they have a chance to play and just have fun.

Lena is also prioritizing her mental health. She is going to counseling at House of Ruth’s Domestic Violence Support Center, and she also relies on our housing staff for caring support. Lena says thanks to House of Ruth, she “always has someone to talk to,” which is a big change in her life. If she is feeling overwhelmed with all that she has to manage, she can talk to staff without judgement, and count on encouraging words. She knows her case manager will always tell her, “you’ve got this!”

Our staff has had the privilege of watching Lena grow in self-awareness and confidence as she recognizes her own strength and finds her way to independence. We are honored to support Lena and her son on their journey.

*Name has been changed.

Kenya’s Story

Kenya* and her three children came to House of Ruth to flee an abusive situation. They found safety and support at A New Way, our transitional housing for survivors of domestic violence. That was the beginning of their journey at House of Ruth.

Kenya is inspiring, a go-getter who has successfully drawn on the support available to her through House of Ruth to make her goals a reality. Her admirable resourcefulness was obvious from the very beginning. Upon arrival at A New Way, our staff supported Kenya in identifying her goals and next steps. Her top priority was finding housing for her family. When she learned about the possibility of graduating to our more independent Bridges program, she knew she was prepared to put the work in to qualify. Bridges enables clients to receive income-based rental assistance for an apartment in the community, and the assistance gradually decreases as the client becomes completely independent. The first step toward qualifying was finding a job, and the next step was saving at least $1,000.

After two months of proactive job searching, Kenya secured a great job with Metro. She works the night shift so she has more time to be with her children. She soon exceeded her goal to save $1,000. Our staff worked with Kenya to help her improve her credit score. This improvement enabled her to purchase a more reliable car, and made it possible for her to secure an apartment when she was ready to transition to the Bridges program. She has fallen in love with the apartment and thanks to furniture obtained through A Wider Circle, she has made it a beautiful home for her children.

Our staff has witnessed Kenya’s ebullient spirit and vivaciousness even in the face of tremendous challenges and the anxiety she has experienced while facing them. She has taken care of herself and her family. As her children have experienced emotional and behavioral issues in response to the abuse they witnessed, Kenya has made sure they attend family therapy to work on healing and overcoming these challenges. She participated in weekly group counseling herself.

We have been honored to support Kenya as she turned her anxiety into hope for the future, and to celebrate with her as she blossomed and reached her goals.

*Name has been changed.

Angelica’s Story

This year, Angelica* will safely celebrate Thanksgiving in her own apartment, with her children. This would not be possible without the generosity of House of Ruth’s supporters, our expert staff, and Angelica’s deep resolve to overcome what many would consider to be insurmountable obstacles.

Angelica moved into House of Ruth’s permanent supportive housing for survivors of domestic violence in 2018. Her primary goals were maintaining sobriety and gaining mental stability in the hopes of reuniting with her three children. Within three months of moving into our housing, with support from our staff, Angelica completed all the requirements to reunify with her children.

During her two years at House of Ruth, Angelica actively engaged in case management, mental health services, Alcoholics Anonymous/Narcotics Anonymous meetings, parenting classes, and therapeutic groups. With the assistance of our staff, she developed and utilized new coping skills that have enabled her to effectively navigate through stressful situations and maintain stability within her home. With financial guidance and monthly budgeting, Angelica saved over $4,000, funds that she used to successfully transition into independent living. In October, Angelica and her children moved into their own three bedroom apartment.

After enduring childhood trauma, domestic violence, and homelessness, Angelica has proven that with support, hard work, and perseverance, her dream of a stable life could turn into reality. The challenges she faced were overwhelming to her at times, but her willingness to actively engage in the services available to her through House of Ruth, carried her through. Our staff is so proud of her ability to transform the negative experiences she has gone through into a positive existence today.

*Name has been changed.

Sydney’s Story

32-year-old Sydney* first came to the House of Ruth’s Domestic Violence Support Center (DVSC) seeking counseling support after she separated from her violent husband. Because she was not an American citizen and wished to continue living in this country, she was required to submit an application to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services demonstrating she was a victim of marital abuse.

Sydney’s counselor contributed a detailed letter to this application that outlined instances of abuse in her marriage. Sydney also used her time in counseling at the DVSC to process her experiences in her marriage, and came to feel more settled and empowered about what happened to her and her decision to leave her abusive husband. Sydney had never experienced counseling before, and regularly told her counselor that their work together “set me free,” and that it had helped her to “build myself up from the inside.”

*Name has been changed. 

Adah’s Story

Adah* first came to House of Ruth’s transitional housing with the clear desire to make changes in her life and get back on her feet. She was ready to set goals and make real progress. Adah formed a strong relationship with our staff, sharing her successes and diligently seeking support as she took steps forward on her path to independence.

While at House of Ruth, Adah stayed focused and did not let anything distract her. She was committed to attending daily sobriety classes and proactively finding employment. Her diligence led to a job interview. When Adah needed clothes for the interview, House of Ruth connected her to Suited for Change. There she was able to get a great, confidence-inspiring outfit, and the interview led to a job at a local hospital!

Adah successfully acquired an apartment through Jubilee Housing. House of Ruth assisted Adah with the cost of the security deposit and her first month of rent, enabling her to make the transition into her own apartment. Our staff celebrated with Adah as we helped her move her belongings into her new apartment.

Adah has kept in touch, and we are so glad to know that she is happy and continuing to move forward in a positive direction. Without resources, the challenges she faced would have been overwhelming. Thanks to Adah’s perseverance and House of Ruth’s generous community of supporters, her goals for sobriety, employment, and housing were all within her reach.

*Name has been changed.

Sheila’s Story

Sheila* is a strong, loving mom and a fierce advocate for her young sons. She has persevered through trauma while continuing to grow as a person and a parent. When her oldest son started at Kidspace as a very young infant, they were living in House of Ruth’s supportive housing for mothers and children who are survivors of domestic violence. At first Sheila was reluctant to put her 4 month-old son in daycare. She held a very strong bond and attachment with her baby, and she had difficulty trusting Kidspace staff. The distrust came from witnessing negative situations when she was working at a daycare in the past.

There have been moments where Kidspace staff has had the opportunity to connect with Sheila and honor her parenting in ways she had not experienced before. Other people in her life told Sheila she was holding her baby too much and that she was spoiling him. Our staff was able to affirm that she was absolutely doing the best thing possible for her baby.

Today Sheila’s first child is three years old, and she has another infant son. Over the past three years, we have seen Sheila’s children thrive as she has developed strong relationships with Kidspace teachers and staff. Sheila has regularly taken advantage of parent and child development trainings offered by our partner agencies. She has always been an excellent advocate for her children — ready to speak her mind and provide feedback to teachers. With staff support, Sheila has grown in her ability to appreciate different points-of-views and in her desire to work together with her children’s teachers to meet their needs.

Sheila has taken her advocacy skills to the next level — serving as the president of Kidspace’s parent committee and being a voice for other parents at local childcare policy council meetings. Sheila has volunteered her time in the midst of working and raising her children. The onset of the pandemic affected her 9 to 5 pm employment, and she recently made the choice to purchase an ice cream truck! The decision has proven to be wise, as she has been working socially distanced parties and finding success during these unusual times.

We are honored to support Sheila on her parenting journey, and to support the growth and development of her wonderful boys.

*Name has been changed.

Mia’s Story

Mia* and her children came to House of Ruth to escape an abusive relationship. Early on, she had big concerns about her ability to regain her independence, but with her tremendous resolve and House of Ruth’s community of supporters, today she is on her own and doing so well.

Just six months ago, Mia transitioned from participating in our scattered site programming (where she received income-based rental assistance, case management, counseling, and life skills support) to total independence. She has successfully paid her rent on her own for six months, and is saving money with the ultimate goal of purchasing a home. Mia’s path to independence was paved by hard work and a commitment to saving money to prepare for the future.

During her time with House of Ruth, Mia maintained her part-time employment while working on building her credit. With support from House of Ruth’s special debt remediation fund, she was able to pay off debts and greatly improve her credit score. She also expanded her employment to include an additional part-time supervisory position at a social service agency. Mia budgeted and diligently saved her money, always focusing on preparing to support herself and her children after moving on from House of Ruth. She already has a bachelor’s degree in social work, and during this time she began to pursue a master’s degree in the field of educational leadership.

Mia and her children only spent a year in one of House of Ruth’s scattered site programs, but so many positive things came out of that time. Most importantly, Mia is free from an abusive relationship, and she received the support she needed to heal and rebuild. She is living a healthy, stable life with her children, who are thriving.

*Name has been changed.

Karina’s Story

Karina’s devotion to her four children and the support she has received from House of Ruth staff has made so many good things happen.

Karina’s twin boys were just one year old when they moved into House of Ruth’s supportive housing for survivors of domestic violence last year. Born prematurely, their speech was delayed. House of Ruth was able to connect them to early intervention services and regular speech therapy. One year later, they are talking nonstop! They know their colors, numbers, and shapes. They are confident and happy toddlers.

Karina’s older girls have both experienced behavior challenges, particularly in school, and House of Ruth’s staff supported Karina as she connected with service providers through their school, and as she made sure her girls were able to see mental health therapists on a weekly basis. Our staff advocated for the therapists to provide services on-site at our program.

As she faced the challenges of recovering from a difficult situation and managing four children, Karina was able to benefit from parenting support provided by our staff. She has acquired new skills and abilities for her parenting toolbox, and she has fully embraced bringing structure and schedules into her children’s daily lives!

Our staff has watched Karina’s confidence and happiness grow as she has set goals for herself and reached them. While at House of Ruth, Karina has focused on attending employment trainings and working on certifications needed to acquire administrative work. She has actively improved her physical health and she has enhanced her ability to communicate with her children. Karina doesn’t harp on the past, and she keeps moving forward. She knows how to ask for help and she focuses on coming up with solutions to the challenges she encounters.

We are proud to support Karina’s resilience and growth!

*Name has been changed.

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