Monica's Story

As the pandemic began to take hold of the nation, Monica Coe found herself alone in Washington, D.C. with nowhere to live. She had grown up in a nice home in Maryland but after she graduated high school, her family said it was time to move out.

She found her way to a youth shelter, but there, she got into verbal and physical fights with other residents. “They made me feel like I was nothing, that I wasn’t going to be anything. I let their words get to me.”

Eventually, she moved to the Patricia Handy Place for Women.

“There I learned how to be independent, life skills, how to survive and start fresh,” she says. “I got a job and learned how to build better relationships. Some of the women took me under their wing, and it really felt like a family.”

When she moved to the Phyllis Wheatley YWCA a year later, she was thrilled. “It was a dream come true because I had my own space, and I could do whatever I wanted to do. But I didn’t know how to handle that freedom. So it got me into some sticky situations, and I almost lost my character.”

She experienced depression and struggled with finding her way forward. With the support provided by N Street Village, Monica turned her life around.

“She is a prime example of the word resilience,” says Muriel Drago, Case Manager at Phyllis Wheatley YWCA. “Despite experiencing multiple challenges in her overall well-being, with the support of the Village and her network, she is bouncing back strong and is learning to live a better life.”

Monica achieved one of her goals to go back to school, and recently received her certification in Information Technology from the Byte Back computer training program.

“Little by little, I started making small changes,” she says, “which turned into big changes, like loving myself more, doing things that make me happy, and getting close to my family again. I started working and just became a better me.”

At Patricia Handy Place for Women, “I learned how to be independent, life skills, how to survive and start fresh.”

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