Before I started working at The Denise House I helped out at Social Services mentoring young mothers. Around that time I saw an newspaper ad (early 90’s) that The Denise House was holding orientation sessions for new volunteers. I signed up and as they say the rest is herstory. Mine.
From the moment I walked in I was hooked. We were given a tour of the house and we met some residents, children, staff, and volunteers. The kitchen was full of people. residents, staff, volunteers, children playing. It was obvious to me how much these women depended on this community within those walls and outside to help them heal and to believe there was a better life for them and their children.
In the beginning I was surprised to see women who had gone through hell bounce back and change their lives. After a short time I saw their courage and determination. Some ladies took longer but there was always a sense of community. Women helping women, children helping children. From despair and tears came hope and laughter.
These women did it for themselves and especially for their children. These awesome moms were determined to break the cycle of abuse. It took time and strength and they did it.
Abuse is still prevalent in our society and unfortunately there are many families who are afraid in their own homes. This is not right and I wish that everyone who can would help to stop this this violence.
It would be remiss of me if I did not mention the staff at The Denise House. Over the nearly 10 years I volunteered, I saw these women and fellow volunteers work hard to help the residents heal, be safe, and happy. Also preparing them to go out on their own and sometimes to go back home stronger, if that was their choice. The staff did this with TLC and dedication to these women and children.
I know that I am one of the lucky ones. I have been married for 49 years to a wonderful loving man, have three beautiful children, and five amazing grandchildren. I am happy with my life and who I am and I sincerely wish that for everyone.
I have been enriched by my experience helping out at The Denise House and with my husband’s love and support we will continue to do so whenever we can.