Faced with the loss of a stable job and the onset of depression, Renee didn’t know where to turn. She felt she’d lost everything: her apartment, her job, a beloved relative who passed away from breast cancer. Her volunteer work at Marillac House led her to a new home at Deborah’s Place.

“I was kind of despondent when I came here,” Renee recalls. “I’d always been a happy-go-lucky person, but this was a new situation for me. When I came here, I wouldn’t talk to anybody.” With the help of her case manager, she eventually found a therapist. “She was a grief therapist, which I needed,” Renee recalls. “We didn’t use the word ‘depression’ in my family.”

With help from her therapist and resources from the Learning Center, Renee began to regain her happiness and stability. “Then I started volunteering here and giving back,” she says. “That helped me with what I was going through: I kept myself busy.” Where she once resisted opening up to anyone, she now volunteers around Deborah’s Place and in the community, especially in her church. “I take a lot of information that Deborah’s Place gives me, with (the CEO) Audrey’s approval, and I put it on the church’s bulletin board. You have to network for the community as a whole.”

Community service is in Renee’s heritage: “My mother was a nurse, and my dad was in the military. My dad always said, if you work hard and treat people right, good things will come back to you.”

In the Deborah’s Place community, Renee especially values her volunteer role on the Consumer Advisory Council (CAC). Renee was one of the CAC’s founding members. In this role, Renee helps to inform the programs and services that Deborah’s Place offers to better serve the community she’s found here. She wants to see other residents at Deborah’s Place follow in her path from the chaos of homelessness to the comfort of community.

Renee knows it’s essential for a broader network of donors, partners, and volunteers to support Deborah’s Place. Your support is where she finds “strength to move forward” on her continuing journey.

You can help women experiencing homelessness find community – donate today!

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