Women Helping Women: Mentoring Program Allows Women to Give Back and Grow

§ March 24th, 2012 § Filed under Programs, Success Stories, Volunteers, Women Helping Women § No Comments

Martha Brett knows how to make something beautiful from almost nothing. As a domestic violence survivor, Martha left her home and her life to escape her dangerous situation. She left it all behind to save herself and her children, and she even ended up homeless for a while.

Martha Brett, left, discusses a project with Pegg Schauer of the Master Gardener's Foundation.

When it came time to rebuild her life, Martha started by creating a safe home for herself and her children. “Even though I was broke, I could sweep the porch, take care of my little home,” she said. “The home is the deal – your own little sanctuary.”

Martha made the entrance to her home beautiful, placing fresh flowers or foliage in pickle jars on her porch to welcome the family home. “Walking up to a beautiful porch is day changing,” Martha said. “That brought me joy.”

Now, as the mentoring program and landscaping coordinator, Martha works every day to help the women at Second Step Housing rebuild their own lives – literally and figuratively – into something beautiful.

Martha began as an adult mentor in the Women Helping Women program, providing support for women whose stories were not unlike her own. They were starting over to rebuild their lives. Over time, Martha became even more involved with Second Step, ultimately coordinating the entire Women Helping Women program.

The women meet individually every week for an hour and as a group each month.

Initially the program was unfunded, so it was all built on relationships and putting together whatever she could on a shoestring. Martha saw how great the need was and began to see a new vision for the program. With the help of Executive Director Debby Dover, Martha has added an element of flexibility and diversity that has benefited the program.

“None of this would have happened without the relationship Debby and I have,” said Martha.

Women Helping Women Bunco Party

In the program, women help each other and have fun at events like this bunco party.

Now Women Helping Women consists of three components – ongoing mentoring, monthly empowerment workshops, and yards and gardens. By incorporating the yards and gardens component, Martha is able to share her knowledge of home maintenance, yard care, and gardening skills with the residents, many of whom have little or no knowledge in this area. She knows first hand how learning new skills that enhance your daily life can impact a woman’s self esteem and outlook on life. She has even incorporated a “Welcome Flower Pot” on as many Second Step Housing porches as possible to share some of the joy that her pickle jar flowers gave her so many years ago. Maintaining her home helped her as she rebuilt her life, and now she’s teaching others that same lesson.

“Whether residents are at the homes, coming to the office, with a mentor, or in the

gardens, everything is positive,” Martha said. “The conversations are always up, and these women’s homes are a nice place to come to grow and to heal.”

Planned excursions give the women something fun to look forward to each month.

Volunteers Teresa Carden and Krystal Templeton with Martha Brett, center.

You can help support Second Step Housing’s Women Helping Women program by becoming a mentor to a woman in need. The program allows volunteers to find the opportunity that best suits their schedules – from an hour a month participating in empowerment workshops, to a few hours a month helping with gardening, to a weekly commitment mentoring a resident. Visit the Second Step Housing website at www.secondstephousing.org or call volunteer coordinator Carrie Robbins for more information.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks

Leave a Reply