House of Ruth

Lorena’s Story

Lorena’s Story

31-year-old Lorena* initially came to the Domestic Violence Support Center (DVSC) to work through a family crisis. After working consistently with her counselor and addressing her initial crisis and related distress, Lorena was able to use her counseling to look at much longer-standing issues that had afflicted her over her life, such as using overeating and working long hours to suppress strong emotions.

Now much more able to “sit with her feelings” rather than suppress them, Lorena has repeatedly expressed her gratitude for “finally getting the help I’ve needed all along.”

*Name has been changed.

Wren’s Story

Wren* and her son is a survivor of domestic violence and homelessness. She has found safety and steady support in House of Ruth’s transitional housing.

Wren is coping with anxiety and trauma. Her son’s father was recently murdered, and she does not have a lot of support from her family. Thanks to you, she and her son have found a safe place to be at House of Ruth. Our staff is here to encourage Wren and to connect her to the resources she needs to move forward.

Wren has concrete, attainable dreams for herself and her son, and she is committed to reaching her goals. She already has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice, and her ultimate goal is to become an attorney. When she first arrived at House of Ruth, she quickly secured a job at a local store, and worked there while applying and interviewing at several law firms. Her efforts paid off, as she was hired as a legal assistant at a law firm in D.C. House of Ruth referred her to a partner agency where she received a wardrobe of professional clothing for her new position.

Our staff also connected Wren to outpatient counseling at House of Ruth’s Domestic Violence Support Center, where she is getting expert help in healing from trauma and addressing the anxiety she experiences. As she is able to prioritize her wellness, she knows her young son will benefit as well. Wren has enrolled him at House of Ruth’s Kidspace program, so he is now receiving enriching, trauma-informed childcare on a daily basis.

Wren is young and has her whole future ahead of her. Your generosity is enabling her to create a solid foundation for the future, and will make a long-term difference in her life and her son’s life. Thank you for being there for them and for so many survivors of domestic violence.

*Name has been changed.

Simone’s Story

Simone*, 42 years old and a mother of three children, was referred to the DVSC for therapy as required by a judge in her child custody case. A survivor of extreme physical and sexual abuse as a child and young adult, Simone never before in her life had any consistent mental health treatment. During the pandemic, the DVSC offered her counseling services over the internet, through a telehealth platform. Perhaps as a result of this new technology and the DVSC’s willingness to be flexible with a very vulnerable client, Simone has experienced by far the strongest and most consistent therapy relationship of her life and has maintained good mental health throughout a very stressful time in her life.

*Name has been changed.

Jamie’s Story

Jamie* and her young son live in House of Ruth’s supportive housing for survivors of domestic violence. At House of Ruth, Jamie has found both safety and a refuge to rebuild her life. Without having to fear for her safety or the safety of her son, she has found the space to take a breath and focus on her goals. When she first arrived, Jamie was receiving unemployment benefits, coping with the emotional challenges of recent abuse, and feeling scattered as she tried to identify a direction for her next steps.

House of Ruth was here to provide safe housing, and comprehensive services for both Jamie and her son. Jamie has taken full advantage of the empowering services available to her through House of Ruth — case management, supportive counseling, group counseling, parenting support, therapeutic childcare, and more. She enrolled her son in our Kidspace childcare program, and credits Kidspace with helping him make great progress in overcoming some speech and behavioral challenges he experienced.

Jamie has overcome the past and found her way forward. With support from our staff, she identified her goals and actively began pursuing them. After completing rigorous training, Jamie acquired an excellent job working for local government. Her son is thriving, thanks to Kidspace and Jamie’s attentive focus on his needs. Jamie is actively saving money, and seeing is the benefits of this effort.

Recently Jamie was approved to transition to House of Ruth’s Bridges Program. Joining Bridges will enable Jamie to move out of House of Ruth’s site-based residential programming, and into her own apartment in the community. She will receive income-based rental assistance and supportive services from House of Ruth until she is ready to transition to full independence.

Jamie is in the process of apartment searching right now. Her journey is inspiring and we are so proud of her accomplishments in overcoming the challenges that came her way.

*Name has been changed.

Meera’s Story

Meera* has journeyed a long road to a healthy, holistic way of life.

Meera has suffered through trauma, many years of homelessness, extensive substance abuse that resulted in incarceration, and bouncing around from shelter to shelter. Finding herself tired and ill, Meera eventually decided to pursue substance abuse treatment. When she came to House of Ruth’s residential supportive housing for survivors of domestic violence, she had already been living substance-free for six months, and has continued to successfully maintain her sobriety. She is committed to attending AA meetings and speaks with her sponsor regularly.

When Meera first visited House of Ruth she didn’t know what to expect. She and her son had previously experienced living in shelters that were not very clean and offered limited support, so she was surprised to learn she would be living in a private two bedroom apartment. She said the space was beautiful, and felt both humbled and grateful for the opportunity to create her own home.

Meera places a strong focus on the energy she puts into the world, and using energy to create a better state of mind. The environment and support available at House of Ruth has enabled Meera to adjust her lifestyle to find healthier ways to cope with the challenges she has faced.

In early 2021, Meera started her own business by offering meditation and yoga online, and it has been a phenomenal success. When she posted her first video, she did not anticipate the popularity it would gain. Despite her surprise, Meera recognized the need for online services during the pandemic, and actively pursued this opportunity. She has found satisfaction in sharing her holistic values and expertise with others. In alignment with these values, Meera recently obtained a certification in permaculture.

Knowing people may shift their focus away from online experiences as the pandemic eases, Meera has concentrated on saving money. Thanks to her savings, Meera was accepted into House of Ruth’s Bridges program. She is putting in applications for her own apartment in the community. While in the Bridges program, Meera will receive income-based rental assistance and supportive services until she is ready to transition to full independence.

House of Ruth has empowered Meera with housing, case management, counseling, and more, and she has built upon this support to the best of her ability to create a meaningful, stable life for herself and her three-year-old son. Her son has demonstrated developmental challenges, and while resistant to assigning a label or diagnosis to her son, with support from her case manager, Meera has decided to seek the help of a specialist to find out how best to assist him. Her case manager is proud of Meera’s ability to re-examine the situation to the benefit of her son.

*Name has been changed.

Natalie’s Story

45-year-old Natalie* came to the Domestic Violence Support Center (DVSC) to address post-traumatic stress in the aftermath of a highly abusive marriage. Over the course of her therapy, she was able to not only reduce her trauma symptoms according to assessment tools used by the DVSC, but she also began to address longer-standing issues that made her vulnerable to entering relationships with violent men.

Today, Natalie is feeling much more confident about herself, her life, and the prospect of enjoying positive future relationships.

*Name has been changed.

Reema’s Story

Reema* and her sons live in House of Ruth’s Families First program, which provides supportive housing for mothers who are survivors of domestic violence and their children.

Since Reema has been at Families First, she has received the support she needs to stay focused, to deal with difficult emotions, and to make tremendous progress on her goals. She is putting in the work to recover from painful experiences, and build a wonderful, positive future for herself and her boys.

Reema says she knows she can be very emotional, and it has been so helpful to her to have access to the case managers and life skills trainers at Families First to talk through what is going on in her life. Our expert, compassionate staff is here to help Reema stay solution-focused and find practical answers to the challenges she experiences.

In the two years she has been at Families First, Reema has cleaned up her credit, obtained new certifications for her job, completed college-level coursework, and started saving money for her own apartment.

Reema works as a unit support staff member in a local hospital, and is a registered behavioral technician. She plans to go into social work, and is attending a local university to make that dream a reality.

Reema is very focused on saving money, and her goal is to save enough to move into her own apartment by this August. She plans to find an apartment near her sons’ school, her job, and her own school as well. She is setting herself up for long-term success.

Reema says it has been wonderful to take advantage of the parenting support at Families First. Her boys attend a children’s group every week, and she participates in parenting groups that provide tips on how to be a more proficient parent. She feels like her boys have a new mom as a result. She is more focused on them, and is always thinking about how things will affect them. She says the support she has received in this area has been key to their thriving as a family.

*Name has been changed.

Maize’s Story

Maize* came to House of Ruth’s transitional housing early last summer.  She had just left a halfway house after serving eight years in a federal penitentiary.  Maize feels her time in prison helped save her – from drugs, from prostitution, from trafficking…from a life that is so different from her present and her future.  Maize has dreams, and she has used her time at House of Ruth to help make those dreams a reality.

Maize says her case manager “just keeps it really real with me, and keeps me on the up and up.”  She has helped Maize navigate life in transitional housing at House of Ruth, always providing encouragement while Maize stays focused on her own goals and tunes out distractions that could affect her sobriety.  Maize says she is not “tech savy,” so it was very helpful to have her case manager assist her with accessing benefits, like Medicaid and food stamps.  They also worked together to create and implement a plan for Maize to build her credit, and explored next steps for housing options.

Maize says House of Ruth provided her with the housing and support she needed at a critical time in her life.  Maize has received a rapid rehousing voucher and will move into her own apartment in less than a month. She is ready.  Maize started working at a major pet retail store right after re-entering society, and has continued her employment while living at House of Ruth.  She also enrolled in a dog training course, and was recently promoted to dog trainer.  She is thrilled to be moving forward on this career path, a field that she is truly passionate about.

As she looks to the future, Maize says she is most excited about starting a new life for herself.   She says her mindset is different now – she is sure of where she is and where she wants to go in life.

*Name has been changed.

Nina’s Story

68-year-old Nina* was referred to the Domestic Violence Support Center (DVSC) from a partner agency following several losses in her life. Nina came to therapy seeking support around setting better boundaries, conflict resolution, and achieving balance in her life.

Through her work at the DVSC, Nina has been able to gain insight into how previous traumatic experiences have made it difficult for her to prioritize her own needs. Over time, Nina has reported that she has been better able to set limits and communicate her needs with others.

Nina shares that she now has more energy to invest in herself and the things that bring her happiness. As a result, Nina reports experiencing an overall improvement in her psychological well-being and a peace of mind.

*Name has been changed.

Candyce’s Story

34-year-old Candyce* was referred to the Domestic Violence Support Center (DVSC) by one of her friends who was already a DVSC client.  Candyce’s friend, Mona,* has struggled with serious mental health issues her whole life, has experienced a wide range of interpersonal traumas, and has met with a variety of therapists over the years. When Mona recommended the DVSC to Candyce, who had never been in counseling, she began to really consider the option.

Candyce had always managed to push down her negative life experiences, so she thought those experiences couldn’t really impact her.  However, Mona could see that Candyce was still struggling with her past. Mona’s positive experience with the DVSC helped Candyce finally decide to give therapy a try. Candyce was initially nervous about coming to the DVSC and sharing her story with the intake counselor; but afterwards, she reported feeling unburdened and hopeful about moving past her own traumas.

*Names have been changed.