Thank you for reading the second edition of our newsletter. I always get more out of Micah House than I give. I have met amazing women who faced serious trauma in their lives and still took on one of the hardest challenges anyone can face -- addiction. I am impressed by the determination and positive outlook on life that Micah House residents display -- for example, Sylvia just celebrated two years of sobriety! I am proud that Micah House provides a nurturing home to make these transitions possible, and I get excited about each woman's "graduation" to her own home, including Vernita just last month.
With cold weather approaching and our annual walk and Micah House Shabbat complete, I thank everyone who plays a part in supporting Micah House.
-- Ed Lazere
Micah House Celebrated with Shabbat and Walk
The weekend of October 26, the members of the Micah House and its Board were welcomed into the Temple Micah community to both raise awareness about homelessness and to raise funds for the House.
During Friday night services, two former members of the House addressed the congregation. The first speaker was Diana, a Micah House resident from 1993-1995. Diana has stayed connected to Micah House in the years since she was a resident, mentoring other women and serving on the Micah House board. On this particular evening, she addressed us from the Bima to, in her words, "give back" to Micah House with a very large donation to Micah House.
Diana was followed by a more recent Micah House graduate, Ardell. Ardell explained that no one wakes up one morning and decides to be a drug addict. To the contrary, people use drugs to ease the pain of their lives or as an escape from life. Ardell explained that she turned to drugs after being sexually abused as a child. She gave up a full scholarship to college and struggled with addiction for years. She went to numerous treatment facilities but always ended up back at home afterwards and returned to drugs. Then, when she was in her mid-40's, Ardell traveled for six hours by bus from Danville, VA to Washington, DC, to enter the Fulton House treatment program. When she graduated from that program she learned about Micah House and decided it would be a safe setting in which she could further strengthen her recovery and continue with her life. While at Micah House, in addition to working full time, Ardell started college and received her associates degree. Since then, she has been working full-time for the Montgomery County Health Department and part-time at Fulton House, earned her bachelors degree, and is now working on a masters degree. Ardell has also been able to reconnect with her five children, two of whom live with her in Maryland while attending college. Ardell and Diana both credited Micah House for keeping them on the path they chose and have fought so hard for.
Then, on Sunday, the Temple Micah community turned out to support the House with its annual mini-walk. Students of Machon Micah, their families, and numerous congregant supporters turned out before the storm to show their support for the House and to demonstrate our solidarity as a community in addressing homelessness. There were almost 150 walkers and we raised $4,700. If you were planning on walking but didn't because of the weather or other circumstances, you can click here, walk with us virtually, and donate. Thanks to all of you!
Vernita: Micah House's Newest Alumna
Vernita P., Micah House's most recent alumna, left Micah House at the end of September, three months shy of the two years that Micah House residents may live at the house. Vernita moved into an apartment with her daughter, who was returning from military service in Afghanistan.
To be accepted into Micah House, one of the requirements is that you must be employed. After interviewing with our Case Manager, Cynthia Morris, and learning of this requirement, Vernita, who at that point was unemployed, decided she would do whatever it took to get a job so that she could be considered for Micah House. Vernita took a job distributing leaflets on street corners so that she might qualify for admission into the house. After being accepted into Micah House, she then went on to work for Gospel Rescue Ministries sweeping streets and dumping trash cans - anything to be employed and be able to be a Micah House resident.
Vernita is now working full time as a Community Outreach Worker for Community Health Action, an organization that provides innovative public health HIV outreach. She is also attending school online and is working toward a bachelor's degree in substance abuse counseling.
In talking with Vernita about her experience at Micah House she relayed that "Micah House taught me structure. It helped me change my life and gain responsibility. Requiring a job was very important. I would have otherwise been on Social Security disability. I learned how to set priorities and to take care of myself."
Congratulations to Vernita!
Summer Fun at Micah House
The Micah House board, Micah House residents, and their caseworker had several opportunities to relax and socialize this summer, including a trip to the bowling alley and a potluck at Micah House. Potluck pictures are availablehere.
Wanda hoping to bowl a strike!
Micah House's Own Iron Man!
Josh crossing the finish line of a previous race
Joshua Berman is raising money for Micah House by fundraising as part of participating in his first-ever Ironman triathlon (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and 26.2 mile run) on November 3, 2012.
Micah House is so grateful for his commitment to the house. Go Josh!
Extreme Makeover: Couch Edition
Thanks to the Sherman family, Micah House now has two new couches in the living room. The Micah House ladies love their new couches and were very happy to trade in the two older couches in exchange for the Shermans' generously donated couches. Thank you Roger and Marian Sherman!
If you have any furniture or electronics that you are looking to donate, please consider Micah House. Not only are donations welcome for the house, but the ladies are often looking for pieces to furnish their new apartments for life after Micah House. If you're interested in donating, please contact Kate Judson firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for your consideration!