Voices of Gratitude: Deborah’s Story

My name is Deborah.

I was born and raised in D.C. even though everybody says I sound like I’m from South Carolina. That’s where my mom’s family is from, but I’ve only been once, when I was 12.

I’m happy to share my story with you because I love N Street Village.

My story starts in seventh grade, when I started drinking and using drugs. I dropped out of school – and kept right on drinking, kept doing drugs. I drank myself in and out of treatment centers and jail. I lost custody of my kids and got thrown out my friend’s and family’s houses. Time and time again I promised them and I promised myself I would get sober.

By the end, I was sleeping outside, moving from pillar to post, trying to find anywhere just to lay my head for the night. I had to stay mean just to survive – I couldn’t stop fighting. But I couldn’t stop using either. By that point in my addiction, the drugs had taken me over and using was the only way I could even feel normal.

I realized I’d hit rock bottom after I’d broken into a vacant apartment. Laying on the cold, hard floor, I watched the roaches crawling around next to a rat, and I thought: “Deborah, this is not the way you’re supposed to be living. You’ve got to do better than this.”

I needed help, so I called my son’s godmother and told her I was going back to the treatment center and I’d be in there until I got my life back together. And I did – I completed the program. But after that I had nowhere to go – I had no home and I had burned so many bridges that I had no one to left to turn to.

The treatment center recommended I go to N Street Village and told me they’d have a bed for me. “Look for Evelyn Green,” she said. After being thrown out for so many years, you have no idea what it’s like to know there is a place for you, a safe place and a place where you’re actually wanted.

I moved into Luther Place Night Shelter and I began to see myself differently. I’d spent so long saying, “I don’t care” to everyone and everything. But care was the keyword I needed to put back in my life.

N Street Village taught me to start caring for myself instead of numbing the pain with drinking and drugs.

Today, thanks to N Street Village, my sons are proud of me for the first time. I volunteer in the Village kitchen, cooking and preparing food. I’m back in school, determined to get that GED and proud to show off my report card with A’s and B’s! And now, thanks to N Street Village, I’ve just moved into my very own apartment – something I never thought would be possible with my background and record.

Donate now to ensure that 2,000 women have the opportunity for transformation like Deborah did.

I wish I could have told myself ten years ago to do what I’m doing now. I can’t turn back time, but we all have the chance to be there for others who desperately need our help and hope. Here at N Street Village, the “older” residents gave that to me and now it’s my job to pass it on. I know that many of you reading my story helped me also.

I wish I could meet you in person to say this: you have my eternal gratitude,

– Deborah

P.S. Your donation will ensure our doors remain open for women like Deborah to find a place where they are wanted – a community of empowerment that honors her inherent dignity and effectively supports achievement of her individual goals. Please give today.