Tom McCasland, Director, City of Houston Housing and Community Development Department
Melody Barr, Deputy Assistant Director, Public Services/Public Facilities at City of Houston-Housing and Community Development
Andrea Smith, Financial Analyst, City of Houston Housing and Community Development Department
Kathryn Turner, Loan Officer, Central Region, Corporation for Supportive Housing
Yasmin Huebinger, Vice President, Capital One, N.A.
Judge Steven Kirkland, Harris County 334th Civil Court and Board member of WholeLife Services, Inc.
Jo Lightsey and Linda Whatley of the Old Spring Branch Civic Association
The dedication of the Mabee WholeLife® Service Center will be in early 2018. For more information on how you can support the Center and help build whole lives, please contact Bethany Fields at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Women’s Home is proud to have won the 2017 Houston Business Journal Landmark Award in the area of Community Impact for our Adele and Ber Pieper Family Place Apartments complex. The awards recognize outstanding real estate projects completed in the greater Houston area between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2016. Finalists and the winners of all categories were announced and awarded on stage in front of the key building blocks in the commercial real estate community. The ceremony, held on April 20th, recognized commercial real estate projects and developments that create the foundation of the Houston landscape, as well as honor the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Winner, Edna Meyer-Nelson, president & CEO of The Richland Companies. We are greatly honored!
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It is with joy and gratitude that we celebrate Paula Paust and her 25 years of unparalleled service to The Women’s Home. Paula’s leadership and commitment to The Home have created a solid foundation upon which the organization has flourished and expanded, and we are now able to serve more women and their families than ever before. We wish her well in her retirement and will always be grateful for her tireless, loving efforts to ensure that The Home and its clients thrive.
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We are proud to announce Anna Dragsbaek as The Women’s Home’s new Chief Executive Officer. Anna brings with her many years of non-profit experience and a passion for empowering families. With a background in social work, public health and law, she believes in the power of women to build healthy families and strong communities. Anna is honored to continue the legacy of The Home, helping women in crisis regain their self-esteem and dignity. We warmly welcome her family into ours.
As we celebrate the 60th anniversary of The Women’s Home, we are in the midst of an exciting time of growth and change. With the addition of the Adele and Ber Pieper Family Place and in 2017, the Mabee WholeLife® Service Center, we are expanding into new areas of service. With the ongoing support of our community, The Women’s Home is poised to impact more lives than ever.
Give a Gift to Honor Paula’s Legacy!
Houston’s handbag queen and owner of Elaine Turner Designs, Elaine Turner featured The Women’s Home in the latest episode of her online reality show, Elaine’s Big Ideas.
Elaine and her stylist team, with the help of SoK Owner and The Women’s Home Board Member, Alden Clark helped one of our residents, Mary, boost her confidence as she prepared to start on her job search.
Thank you to Mary for having the courage to share her story and to Alden, Elaine, and all of her team for their heartfelt work.
Watch the episode right now:
Premiering the episode on her website, Elaine wrote to viewers:
I’m so excited to share with you this inspiring, New Year EBI episode, A New Year, A New You: A Transformation of heart, mind and soul.
I feel so blessed to have worked with The Women’s Home over the past year. I was inspired to get even more involved and engage in a firsthand experience of working with one of their incredible clients, Mary Burgess. Mary is a 42 year old, beautiful woman who has been struggling with abuse, mental illness and addiction for most of her adult life. She was on the brink of going to prison and an opportunity to enter into a comprehensive, whole life recovery program presented itself to her by The Women’s home. Well, the rest is history and Mary is a living testament to the power of transformation. Mary discovered the strength to change her self-destructive path through the support of The Women’s Home and in her belief that there was a better future for herself. Ultimately, Mary made a conscious choice to change the trajectory of her life. She discovered that eternal, perfect self that is so often buried beneath years of shame, guilt and hardship- inspiring!
My intent on creating this episode was to engage in an intimate one on one interaction with Mary, and to educate and inspire her on the role fashion can play on her self-improvement journey. My belief is when you boil it all down, fashion is simply a vehicle toward self-care, self-discovery and self-expression. Fashion is an enhancer. It has the power to enhance what’s already there. My passion is empowering women. I want to free them from the confines of what an industry (fashion/beauty) might perceive as beautiful and to destroy the barriers fashion so often creates- fear-induced, never good enough language, shame driven body imagery etc… These are just a couple of themes we must redefine. Ultimately, my hope is to redefine fashion one woman at a time.
I am a firm believer that the work The Women’s Home provides is an essential part of not only our local community’s success, but ultimately the work we do right here in Houston impacts women across the world. To the say the least, it’s in all of our best interest to protect, encourage and support women. Liya Kebede said it so perfectly, “To invest in one woman’s recovery, is investing in human rights, future generations and our own long term national interests”
So please join me on this journey of transformation, compassion, hope and understanding.
Sometimes the people who will change your life the most are the ones you meet halfway down your darkest road. Such is the case of Crystal, Janel and Melissa, three graduates of The Women’s Home from very different walks of life. Upon meeting at The Home found a bond they would carry through recovery. The three came to The Home when their lives were at their most difficult, Janel transferred from the Houston Recovery Center in the wake of an overdose; Melissa, struggling with alcoholism and withdrawn from loved ones; and Crystal also facing alcoholism and estranged from her family.
Life had pushed these three women to the edge of their resilience. Together they found the strength in each other to begin pushing back. Both Melissa and Crystal began drinking later in life. Crystal said she “[I] Thought I could keep it in the corner, and then it crept over the wall and took over every place in my life.” Melissa too attempted to hide her illness from others “Before alcoholism, I loved the person that I was. I began hiding things from my partner and was ashamed of my actions. I could not look people in the eye. I stopped taking care of myself. In my addiction I hated who I was.” Janel, who struggled with intravenous drug addiction and the death of her boyfriend also wrestled with guilt and shame. She and the others all are grateful for the shame resilience training they received during their time at The Home. “Looking back,” Janel said, “I was not a bad person, [I] just made some bad choices.”
Together the three threw all they had into the program, sitting at the head of every class and dedicating themselves to their recovery. They took on the challenges of recovery with open arms and always with the determination to push their limits. Each attribute their time in The Cottage Shop with the resurgence of their self-confidence.
Each was also personally impacted by a different aspect of the program. For Melissa, who was quiet and withdrawn upon arriving, assertiveness training gave her the confidence to advocate for herself and set healthy boundaries. Crystal appreciated learning the physiological science behind her alcoholism, how her brain had been altered and contributed to the challenges she faced. As someone who drew strength from her faith she also forged a strong connection to her spiritual mentor, Judy Gilbert, a spiritual advisor to The Home. Janel appreciated the experience of being around other women and watching them interact in healthy ways and learning to have those relationships for herself. She also values the lesson of self-compassion and dealing with grief. “I forgave myself, I allowed myself to be happy, before I thought that I did not deserve that.”
Now after life in The Home, Crystal, Janel and Melissa are each other’s support system and grounding points. They share an apartment together and each have blossomed into prosperous jobs. “We come home and we have each other” Melissa says and Crystal adds “We are accountable to each other. Like we are a family.” The three not only have the bonds they found in each other to draw strength from, but have reconnected with their biological families. Crystal who works as a trainee managing 300 accounts for a family company, is back in her son’s and her mother’s lives and is happy to have him enrolled with programs at her church. Janel is the administrative assistant to a bio technology company’s Vice President of Finance and has connected with her nephew, who has become best friends with Crystal’s son from their visits to the women’s apartment. Melissa was recently promoted in her position working in supervision and event planning for a contract company with Costco. She is reforging her relationship with her mother, helping her mom unlearn her enabling behaviors.
The trio, in graduating and moving forward to thrive in their recovered lives, have not forgotten where they met or the others who come after them. They still volunteer with The Home and reach out to and help the residents who are standing at the same shadowed crossroads that lead them to each other. “We can become resources to help other women. Soak up the opportunities and learn everything. You have to be active and seek out your answers. This is an amazing place where all of your needs are met, where everyone has your best interest at heart. It gives you so many directions to go. It is a place where time is given to learn about you and create yourself.”