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Monica came to Bethesda Project seeking a peaceful home after fleeing an abusive relationship. Suffering severe depression, Monica had entered a mental health treatment program at a hospital. Her case manager at the hospital learned of the domestic violence and urged her to enter a safe house for women. Free of her abuser, Monica was homeless and arrived at the shelter with almost nothing.
Staff at the safe house recognized Monica’s fragile condition and helped her apply to live at Bethesda Spruce, a permanent residence for 16 women.
“I came here and I was really moved by the environment,” says Monica. “It looked like my house at home, where I grew up.”
Once in the house, Monica found support from staff and residents alike. When Monica first arrived, several residents shared food with her. The community supported Monica’s efforts to earn a certificate in Medical Administration from a technical institute. Program Coordinator Kathleen Sonnie, RSM, helped her get a desk for her room, so that she could study quietly. One resident helped her study by reading out flashcards.
“I don’t know what I would do without their help,” said Monica, who graduated from the program with a 3.9 GPA and perfect attendance.
The community at Bethesda Spruce also supports Monica emotionally and spiritually. “Living here has helped my struggles with depression, because I can talk to anybody. Prayer helps, too.”
Monica has started speaking publically against domestic violence and plans to next obtain an Associates’ Degree in Social Work. She’s interested in mentoring others. “I’ve been homeless, I’ve been abused, and I know what it means to be out there in the world and not have anything, and just rise up, from nothing, to have something.”