Expanding Our Horizons

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From left to right: Karen George, Paula Paust, Mayor Annise Parker, and Larry George

The Women’s Home has been supporting Houston women in crisis since 1957 and as our clients’ needs have grown, we have grown with them. What began as an overnight shelter for women in need has expanded today to a multi-campus organization dedicated to helping women build whole lives and maintain their dignity, integrity and independence through nationally recognized best practices.

In helping women access resources for healthy, complete lives, The Women’s Home has realized a growing need not only to assist the women individually, but to provide direct services for their families as well. Women and children make up the fastest growing segment of the homeless population in our country. A lack of affordable housing and supportive services such as healthcare and daycare is a major contributor to this problem.

That is why The Women’s Home is proud to finally announce our latest expansion project upon reaching 80% of our $27 million capital campaign: a safe, sober, supportive housing facility and a new service center, both just down the street from our Jane Cizik Garden Place complex. The new housing complex will feature 84 two- and three-bedroom apartments for families with limited income. The family complex will have on-site case managers and follow the same management style as our single-bedroom complex, Jane Cizik Garden Place. Additionally, of the 84 units, 40 apartments will be set aside for families who have faced repeated instances of homelessness. Best practices show that providing housing to at-risk families first, along with wraparound care services, helps break the pattern of housing instability.

The WholeLife® Service Center will serve families in our housing communities as well as families in the surrounding neighborhood.  We are partnering with other organizations such as Spring Branch Community Health Center which will provide family medicine, pediatric and well women services and work in concert with The Women’s Home to offer substance abuse and mental health services through a Federally Qualified Healthcare Clinic. Other programs provided through the Service Center include:

After-School and Summer Enrichment for Grades K-5 provided by the YMCA:

Academic Enrichment

Fine Arts Room

Indoor Creative Movement/Play Room

Certified Outdoor Classroom

Adult Education and Workforce Development:

Adult Basic Education

GED and ESL Classes

30-User Computer Lab and Smart Board Technology

Job Search Training/Workforce Development

Flexible Classroom Space (for up to 80 persons)

Family Enrichment:

Parenting Classes

Nutrition Classes

Pregnancy Prevention Classes

Gang/Drug Use Prevention Classes

Relapse Prevention Classes

We’re excited to share this new stage of growth with all of you and appreciate your continued support and involvement as we continue to care for and empower women’s lives.

 

March Madness at The Women’s Home

March has been a busy month for The Women’s Home, and the month isn’t even over yet! We’ve had our reNew & reDo Fashion Chair Kick-Off Event, our first of four Partnership luncheons in our Conversations With… series and our Crawfish Boil VIP Sponsor Party. With all the events happening this month and the Crawfish Boil coming on the 28th to top them off, we wanted to give everyone a recap of what they may have missed.

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From Left to Right our Crawfish Host Committee Chairs:

Rachel Lopez, Chelsea Boerstler, and Will Chang.

Wednesday March 4, was the Crawfish Boil’s VIP sponsor party, hosted for the second year running at Alara Garage/M. Brandon Motorcars with thanks to hosts and dealership owner Ara Malkhassian and Michael Foertsch. Ara and Michael provided tours to our 60 guests of the facility’s extensive collection of high end and vintage motor cars including Ferraris, Maseratis, Rolls Royces, and Cobras among the stored models. Our hosts explained the intricacies of upkeep and maintenance performed on these elite vehicles to keep them in running condition, answering guests’ questions about the cars and storage facility. This event celebrated a record breaking year for the Crawfish Boil, with over 60 sponsors who have helped us raise $61,000 and counting for the event. Thank you to all of our sponsors for their support, including Houston Methodist, Covenant Crossfit, Admiral Transfer and Rigging, Cole Chemical & Distributing, Williams, Bristow Group, Inc., John P. McGovern Foundation and Serpe|Jones|Andrews|Callender|Bell. We’re looking forward to our best Crawfish Boil yet Saturday, March 28!

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From left to right:

Naureen Malik, Sippi Khurana, and Event co-chair Sneha Merchant

Across town that same evening, fashion, fun and a surprise style icon reveal were the themes of the evening when The Women’s Home hosted its fashion chairs event kickoff for the upcoming reNew and reDo Fashion Show.  Fashion co-chairs Mandy Kao and Sneha Merchant and 75 of their fabulous friends descended onto Neiman Marcus on a Wednesday evening to mix, mingle and get everyone excited about reNew and reDo, voted one of Houston’s hottest parties in 2014.

50 of Mandy and Sneha’s signed up to serve on their fashionista host committee, guaranteeing them a seat to the runway show as well as exclusive access to upcoming events.  The surprise of the evening came when they announced their first fashion and style icon, Theresa Roemer, better known as the Woodlands woman with the world’s biggest closet.  The Fashionista Host Committee was then invited to Roemer’s closet next month as part of their host committee benefits.

The Women’s Home is thrilled to have Mandy, Sneha and all of their fashion friends on board to make this year’s show the biggest yet, and we thank Theresa for opening up her home and closet to us next month.

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Devon Anderson speaking to the Luncheon Attendees

The next afternoon, March 5, attendees of the Women’s Home Partnership’s first luncheon of the year experienced a side of Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson few have publicly heard. How she balances work and family. How she dealt with the loss of her former husband Mike to cancer.  What motivates her to do the work she does.

In a candid conversation before an intimate gathering of nearly 80 people at Tony’s Restaurant, Devon Anderson did just that. She talked about her high profile career while sharing some of the more personal moments.

Anderson’s talk began the 2015 The Women’s Home Partnership Luncheon Series, a quarterly luncheon featuring some of Houston’s most interesting people.  Spearheaded by the efforts of our Partnership Council and generously presented by Morton Auctioneers and Appraisers, this luncheon series connects old friends of The Women’s Home with new friends. The audience also heard from The Women’s Home graduate, Natasha, who shared her story of transformation after being a client of our Home.

We congratulate The Partnership for an inaugural luncheon well done and thank Devon for being our guest conversationalist.  Our next luncheon is scheduled for Friday June 19th at Tony’s featuring Baylor psychiatrist and author Dr. Stuart Yudofsky.  Tickets can be purchased on our website at www.thewomenshome.org

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

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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.”

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.