Every woman should have the opportunity to determine her own path in life. Self-sufficiency is the goal — to be able to provide for yourself, stand in your confidence and author your own life story. But none of us becomes self-sufficient in a vacuum. We learn to stand on our own thanks to safety nets and support systems — family and friends, education, life skills which enable us to make the best choices for our own lives and give us the ability to choose again should Plan A not quite work out the way we envisioned it.
For some of us, those safety nets and support systems come easily. For others, it’s more difficult.
And that’s where Carolyn’s House steps in.
The residential facility in Niagara Falls, N.Y. services homeless women and their children. The majority of the women have found themselves homeless from domestic violence situations, after spending time in substance abuse facilities or from suffering mild mental illnesses. Most homeless shelters take in only adult women, not their children, and offer care for immediate needs.
Carolyn’s House provides women transitional housing with their children. It offers programs to help women get back on their feet to live independently and provide for themselves and their children. Carolyn’s House becomes a support system these women need to define their own lives once again.
Since it opened in 2005, Carolyn’s House has provided services 176 women and 216 children. Women apply for residency and are required to meet with case workers during their stay while working to achieve their goals. Programs include parenting, nutrition, job readiness, computer skills, healthy relationships, health and wellness and education advocacy. Domestic violence education and support groups are available on site.
The facility also houses a culinary arts training program which prepares women for entry level employment and in most a cases a first job opportunity. More than 100 women have participated in the program and The Catering Crew, a full-service catering company, offers employment to graduates and residents of Carolyn’s House with food service experience.
With funding resources shrinking, Carolyn’s House depends upon donations to keep its doors open and service the marginalized community looking for a way to regain authorship of their lives.
The power of creating your own story resonates deeply with me which is why I am racing Ironman 70.3 Princeton in September 2014 to raise funds for Carolyn’s House. Help provide these women a support system so that they can have the power to find their confidence, gain the skills and find their footing for a self-sufficient future. Visit my donation page where all funds raised will be given to Carolyn’s House, a program of the YWCA of Niagara. Donations can also be made via check (made out to the YWCA of Niagara) and mailed to PO Box 485, Olcott, N.Y. 14126.