Introducing Cheri Barton!

cheri barton

If you’ve stopped by The Cottage Shop lately, you may have noticed a new face on staff. The Women’s Home is excited to introduce our new Cottage Shop Manager, Cheri Barton. With a background in both fashion merchandising and psychology, Cheri’s rare combination of skills makes her a perfect fit as manager of The Cottage Shop. Raised in St. Louis, Cheri got her Associate in Applied Sciences in Fashion Merchandising from St. Louis Community College, originally intending to be a designer, but found herself drawn instead to the business aspects of what it took to keep a fashion boutique running than what it took to design the latest styles.

It wasn’t until decades later, after she moved to Texas in the early nineties that Cheri went back to school to pursue her other passion, acting as people’s counselling ear. Cheri had always found herself as the confidant and advisor to those who needed someone to listen, whether in her personal or professional life. So she pursued first her Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and then her Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology from University of Texas Pan American. After receiving her Masters and becoming licensed by the state of Texas, Cheri left the retail world to work for a private practice as a therapist. Contract work as a therapist unfortunately didn’t provide the salary a single mother in Harlingen, Texas needed to support her family, and so Cheri returned to retail with a managerial position at Dillard’s.

Ultimately, her work at Dillard’s brought Cheri to Houston, when after her son graduated high school, the retail chain promoted her to a position here in Houston. She discovered The Women’s Home and The Cottage Shop one day while eating at Katz’s and initially worked as a volunteer in The Cottage Shop. Back in Harlingen she had volunteered at Repeat Performance, the resale shop for the Harlingen area Family Crisis Center. Volunteering at both shops allowed Cheri to put over 20 years of retail expertise to good use giving back, so when she heard about the open manager position at The Cottage Shop it felt like an opportunity to use all of her training for a more rewarding career.

“I wanted to work with an organization that helps women, that helps empower women, especially women in need of help.” Cheri says, regarding what drew her to The Women’s Home. In her position as manager, she will not only make sure The Cottage Shop staff have all they need to train our residents and keep the shop running smoothly, but she also acts as the community liaison for the shop, working to build connections with boutique donors and other local businesses. Cheri is excited to join The Women’s Home staff and help support our residents.

 

Get Into the Swing of Spring

Golf Tournament

From Left to Right: Kay and Rene Joyce

Get into the swing of things with The Women’s Home Men’s & Women’s Invitational Golf Tournament Monday April 6, 2015.  Hosted at the prestigious Champions Golf Club, with a golf clinic featuring Nancy Lopez, long time Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) tour member with over 48 wins under her belt. In addition to leading the golf clinic, Nancy will help players get the most out of their game, offering tips, demonstrating their skills and assuring a knock out day of golf for everyone.

Registration and lunch begin at 10:00 with the shotgun start sending things into full swing at noon. After a long day of friendly competition, golfers can kick back and enjoy fanciful food and libations while bidding on silent auction items at the 19th Hole at Champions! The Women’s Home still has opportunities for underwriters to support the tournament while enjoying special rewards for their support. The sponsorship levels include:

$25,000 Hole-in-One

Includes 3 foursomes (12 players), 16 tickets to Tournament Awards Dinner and Auction, seating at dinner with celebrity pro, signage at the event, listing in all printed materials.

$15,000 Double Eagle

Includes 2 foursomes (8 players), 16 tickets to Tournament Awards Dinner and Auction, seating at dinner with a celebrity pro, signage at the event, listing in all printed materials.

$10,000 Eagle

Includes 2 foursomes (8 players), 8 tickets to Tournament Awards Dinner and Auction, seating at dinner with a celebrity pro, signage at the event, listing in all printed materials.

$5,000 Birdie

Includes 1 foursome (4 players), 8 tickets to Tournament Awards Dinner and Auction, signage at the event, listing in all printed materials.

$3,000 Par

Includes 1 foursome (4 players), 4 tickets to Tournament Awards Dinner and Auction, signage at the event, listing in all printed materials.

Don’t miss your chance to join in the fun!

 

Creative Healing

Patti D

Sometimes a creative outlet opens the doorway not only to our imagination, but to healing from past traumas. Patti Sue Dumas, a graduate of The Women’s Home and resident of Jane Cizik Garden Place turned to writing in the face of loss and grief. Picking up the pen felt like stepping into her purpose. Raised in a bookworm family, Patti Sue was never a stranger to writing, her first publication came in junior high school in a teacher’s magazine. It wasn’t until she moved to Jane Cizik Garden Place that Patti Sue flourished as a writer. She keeps hard copies of her work, including pieces she wrote while she went through our treatment program catalogued in binders on her bookshelves.

Her home computer, which she received as an unexpected but fervently hoped for donation, serves as her daily writing station. Patti Sue feels the computer came as an answer to her prayers for a writing computer and so the machine is dedicated solely to her work. Emails, internet searches and all other computer needs she takes care of in the community computer lab. Since March 2014, she has written over 40 pieces. Though Patti Sue has written prolifically, most of her work remains private as she works to build a manuscript.

The loss of her uncle this past March became the catalyst that rekindled Patti Sue’s passion for writing. Committing her feelings to paper allows Patti Sue to process the grief of loss, it is a chance to be heard without receiving an immediate response. Writing gives Patti Sue a confidence in her voice and thoughts that speaking off the cuff does not, the ability to revise, to go back and choose the perfect words for her message allows her to express herself in a new way. Patti Sue has no trepidation performing, having sung and spoken pieces she’s written with little notice. She and a friend were attending a pastor’s retirement dinner and when the speaker invited attendees to say a few words, Patti Sue’s off-handed mention of a perfect song had her friend arranging musical accompaniment. After her performance her friend complimented Patti Sue on her lack of nerves. The preparation Patti Sue puts into her work in private empowers her to share in public.

Though her narratives are fictional, the emotions behind them are Patti Sue’s own and seeing people moved by her work when they laugh, or cry and when they lean in anticipating the next turn. Seeing her audience become engrossed in her words means seeing a group of people care about what she has to say.

Though Patti Sue’s writing often focuses on heavy subjects such as death or illness, her stories hinge on the belief that even in painful times there is hope. “I want to give hope to the wounded. It is my belief that if a woman is only able to help one person in her lifetime…she has lived a life of success.” That one person could be Patti Sue herself. “I know my writing has changed my life for the better. That is the most important thing.”

Welcome our New Director of Programs and Training Katherine Broussard-Barner

Katherine B

Katherine, our new Director of Programs and Training, seated in her new office

The Women’s Home is excited to introduce Katherine Broussard-Barner as our new Director of Programs and Training. In her new position, Katherine will oversee and lead our clinical, vocational and residential staff to ensure that our WholeLife® Program provides the best treatment possible to our residents. The staff at Jane Cizik Garden Place also work under her supervision. As the Director of Programs and Training, Katherine’s job is not only to make sure our programs are giving our clients optimal service, but also that our staff have the resources they need.

Katherine has a long work history in mental health before joining The Women’s Home. Her career began when her mother’s practical advice to find work that put her psychology degree to good use led her to a case manager position. This pragmatic beginning kindled a passionate dedication to helping those struggling with severe mental illness and addiction recover independence and dignity. The most rewarding moments in Katherine’s over 20 year long career in mental health come from watching her clients recover and “seeing them live independently, seeing them live with their illness without it controlling them.”

The Home’s work and mission appealed to Katherine both for our focus on women, whose unique challenges in facing homelessness, addiction, and mental illness are often underserved, and our WholeLife Program, which focuses on treating all aspects of a person, not only their illnesses, giving our residents greater opportunity for long term recovery and health. “You can’t focus only on treating a person’s addiction or mental illness and neglect the outside parts of their life that are crumbling.” Katherine also has a passion for advocacy work, for helping people understand that addiction and mental illnesses are diseases and those living with them are just as deserving of treatment and compassion as anyone facing a less stigmatized illness.

Katherine is happy to join the staff of The Women’s Home and looking forward to getting her footing in her position. “Everyone’s been very welcoming and I’m excited about the challenges moving forward and putting together programs that will enhance an already solid foundation.”

Crawfish Boil Kick Off

Crawfish 15

The coldest night this winter couldn’t stop our Crawfish Boil Kick-off. Thursday January 7 our host committee, chaired by Will Chang, Rachel and Alex Lopez, and Stephanie McGraw, met at Café 4212 to kick planning into high gear for our 5th Annual Crawfish Boil this spring. The gathering saw familiar faces who have worked with The Women’s Home for years as well as some newly involved members impassioned about our mission. After a brief overview of the Crawfish Boil’s previous years and The Home’s mission from staff, the event chairs led a brainstorming session on how to blow last year’s event out of the water. The event chairs discussed promotional planning to help reach even more of Houston, preparation for this year’s silent auction, and networking with event sponsors. A backdrop of Zydeco music and spicy boiled shrimp helped the planning committee get into the crawfish spirit.

This year’s crawfish boil will return to the West Alabama Ice House on Saturday, March 28, 2015 for a day of good food, live music, fun and games in support of The Women’s Home and our residents. Last year’s Crawfish Boil saw over 550 guests and organizers this year are expecting more than 600 attendees. Kick off the spring of 2015 with a good time in good company for a great cause at our 5th Annual Crawfish Boil.

If you’re interested in helping make the fun happen, contact our Young Professionals’ Staff Liaison Bethany Fields about joining the Host Committee at bfields@thewomenshome.org.

The Cottage Shop Selected to Participate in Action Learning Project

Action Learnign Project 1-22-13We are excited to announce that The Women’s Home Cottage Shop was selected to participate in Rice University Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business “Action Learning Project” for 2013. The Action Learning Project is a thirteen-week team consultation that enables organizations to develop or improve a business process, problems, or issues.

Within the few last years, The Cottage Shop has continually increased it revenue and contributes nearly 25% of the Home’s operating income. This is a great accomplishment for the organizations. It’s our desire to continue and exceed this growth in the upcoming years. In partnering with the Action Learning Project a team of bright MBA students will assess the current operations and procedures of the Cottage Shop in efforts to develop an overall program that will double the revenue by year 2014.

Participation in this project will afford The Home an opportunity to better serve its clients and expand its services offered to the community.

I Have Peace at Jane Cizik Garden Place: Cheryl’s Story

Cheryl had made it. After years of working in Corporate America, she was promoted to an executive position at a Fortune 500 company. She enjoyed her fast-paced career. She managed people and projects. She gave motivating speeches in classrooms and
Her colleagues admired her ability to accomplish huge tasks with confidence and ease.

But on the inside, Cheryl suffered. She grappled with unpredictable low and high moods and could not explain her prolonged sadness. The smallest problems became insurmountable. Work overwhelmed her to the point that she wanted to quit. For a long while, she had mastered disguising her turmoil. Those days were over.

“I’m a person who likes to dress nicely and wear makeup,” Cheryl said. “When I was severely depressed, I would put on more and more make up to cover the pain.”

The white-collar life so familiar to her came to a halt in her 30s when she was hospitalized. Doctors diagnosed Cheryl with bipolar depression disorder, putting a name to the illness that mystified her for a lifetime.

“I had symptoms of depression as a child,” Cheryl said. “But my family and I never knew what it was.”

After moving in with her aging parents and becoming their primary caregiver, Cheryl’s condition deteriorated. Stress at home compounded her disease, yet she feared she could never live on her own again. She wanted peace but had no place to go.

Cheryl found help at the Depression Bipolar Support Alliance and the Fort Bend Center for Independent Living. Both programs empowered her to trust in herself and the recovery process to reclaim the life of independence she desired. An employee at the Fort Bend Center for Independent Living encouraged her to visit Jane Cizik Garden Place, a safe-haven for single women with modest incomes or those who are chronically homeless due to mental illness. She went to an open house and knew that she would call it home one day.

“Everything here — from the seemingly minor details — is so beautiful,” Cheryl said. “The place speaks for itself.”

Since last November, Cheryl is living happily and self-sufficiently at Jane Cizik Garden Place and plans to use her public speaking skills to
inspire residents in transitional housing at The Women’s Home. Cheryl’s experience testifies that a worthwhile life of interdependence within a community of courageous women is attainable. She feels grateful coming home to a secure, comfortable apartment she can proudly call her own. Each morning as she drinks a cup of coffee and looks across her balcony to the meditation garden, she takes it all in, realizing she has arrived.