Tawanda discovered N Street Village 16 years ago, and she keeps coming back to Bethany Women’s Day Center because of the people and the classes.
“N Street Village is a good place to go to,” she says. “And I feel happy that I came, because I remember in 2007, I was going through a nervous breakdown. I was shy. I didn’t want to talk to nobody. But once I got comfortable with the classes and the activities that they had, I felt good.”
Back when she first came to the Village, she had nothing.
“I remember when I came, I didn’t really have any clothes or anything on me,” she says. “The more I kept coming to N Street Village and doing what I had to do, I did a whole lot of changing. When I came here it was a whole new ballgame. When I came here, I got much love.”
Tawanda now lives in a one-bedroom apartment near the National Zoo. She occasionally volunteers at N Street Village and is registered with Jubilee Jobs.
Over the years, Tawanda has struggled with her mental health and credits the Wellness Center classes—especially Day by Day and All About Me led by Carlita Walker—with helping to manage her emotions. Her life has been filled with trauma, including the death of her baby brother several years ago, and the loss of her older brother, who was killed by a hit and run earlier this year. She has one older brother left. Tawanda has some physical health challenges, too, including diabetes and recently, doctors found a cyst on her ribcage; she will soon have surgery to get it removed.
Visiting the Day Center brings her joy. She loves talking with the other clients and enjoys the various activities. Tawanda especially enjoyed the annual Craft Fair in December, sponsored by the Ambassadors Council, where she created some holiday cards and won a cozy hat during a game of Bingo.
“When I first came here, my lifestyle was terrible,” she says. “I knew that I had to better myself. The classes made me turn my life around. I feel proud of myself. I’m getting up in the morning, doing what I gotta do, going to my doctors’ appointments. I’m hanging in there and taking care of my responsibilities.”