Local charity helps women improve themselves
The year is 1957. A young woman named Mary Brown found herself in a crisis with no where to turn. She sought refuge at a Houston-area rescue mission for men, but they didn’t have the facilities for women – and neither did anyone else. Luckily for Brown, local church and community leader Mrs. W.E. Sampson opened her home and heart to help Mary Brown get on her feet again. A small group of 35 people met with Sampson to discuss forming a home for women in the Houston area. After hearing Mary Brown’s story, the first contributions were donated and plans began to form what is now The Women’s Home.
A few names and locations later, The Women’s Home is now located at 607 Westheimer. A model program of excellence and a United Way agency, the home is licensed by the Texas Department of State Health Services and approved by the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services.
The wonderful staff at The Women’s Home is dedicated to “help women in crisis regain their self-esteem and dignity, empowering them to return to society as productive, self-sufficient individuals.” The home offers a safe and caring environment, complete with all phases of residential rehabilitation for women. Individualized structured programs focus on healing the whole person through residential care, mental and physical health services and occupational and spiritual development programs. The home focuses on emphasizing dignity, integrity, stewardship and holistic growth among the residents.
Becoming a resident of The Women’s Home requires commitment, dedication and hard work. She must be dedicated to working toward her potential, relying on herself for income and striving for personal growth. The benefits of participation are tremendous, as well. The women here have the opportunity to come away from the structured, long-term residential program with their independence and self-confidence restored, as well as an income and a place in society.
Women at the home find a structured living environment staffed with social workers 24-hours a day. Once the residents are ready for more independent living, they can move to one of four transitional homes. Here she will pay rent, buy and prepare food, develop budgets and cooperatively live with minimal supervision.
The vocational program at the home helps women to effectively obtain and sustain employment through education and experience. The participants take aptitude and achievement tests that are used by vocational counselors to identify job skills and vocational goals. Instruction then focuses on time management, budgeting skills, computer education, resume creation and effective interview skills. On-the-job training is provided through the Cottage Thrift Shop and in the home’s administrative offices. Job retention education is also provided.
Classes and workshops are constantly going on at the home’s Life Learning Center. Focusing on job and life survival skills, classes include effective communication, job-seeking skills, self-esteem, stress and anger management, speaking confidently, assertiveness training, boundaries and conflict resolution.
In addition to vocational and residential services, women at the home receive a wealth of well-being services, including psychiatric and nurse practitioner services, psychotherapy, chemical dependency services and case management services. New residents are assigned not only a therapist, but also a therapy group that focuses on healthy relationships, mood disorders and chemical dependency.
The Cottage Thrift Shop serves as a job training site for residents, provides services to the community and supplies 20 percent of the home’s operating income. Volunteers and residents staff this resale shop under the direction of a professional manager. With retail space covering 10,000 square feet, the shop features furniture, clothing for the entire family, housewares, gifts, books, toys and more. Generous local retail establishments donate their excess inventory for resale at the shop, but donations from the public are happily accepted Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
You can help
Looking for a unique volunteering opportunity? The Women’s Home has many areas in need of compassionate volunteers. You can help in the Cottage Thrift Shop, Life Learning Center Program, in the office or for special projects. – Christi Phillips
The WomenÍs Home 607 Westheimer (713) 521-3150 www.thewomenshome.org