Mary’s Story

John Cortale joins women at Calvary for a lunch and learn.Mary came to Calvary Women’s Services in July 2022, seeking a safe home after experiencing domestic violence. When she first arrived, she was battling depression, feeling isolated and unsure of who to trust as she processed ten years of trauma.

Experiencing safety at Calvary, Mary slowly built trust with the women in the community beginning with Nurse Gail, who ensured she was able to receive the medical care she needed to be able to sleep well.

At Calvary, Mary is grateful she doesn’t have to worry about food, clothes, shelter, or even finding a place to do her laundry. She spoke of her experience in the program saying, “I would recommend this program to anyone open to coming…Calvary is my home.”

Mary has attended LEAP and Step Up DC, Calvary’s educational and employment programs, over the last nine months. Through these programs she has learned meditation, yoga, communication, conflict management skills, budgeting, and more. “I really enjoy the classes and what I’ve learned,” she explained.

When asked who has made an impact on her time at Calvary, Mary spoke of her gratitude for Step Up DC’s Workforce Specialist, Courtney James. Mary said, “Courtney has really been here for us. I love her like a daughter. I look up to her knowledge. She is kindhearted.”

Courtney recently encouraged Mary to attend a lunch and learn where The Cortale Group, a long-time Calvary partner and Hope Gala Sponsor, spoke about how to plan for retirement and make a Last Will and Testament. While Mary had heard about these topics before, John Cortale’s perspective empowered her to consider them in a new light.

As a mother and grandmother, Mary explained that family is an important part of her life, “I enjoy loving and caring for [my grandsons] and helping my daughter.” This seminar allowed her to realize that she wants to ensure her son and daughter can have a strong relationship if something were to happen to her. “I want peace and harmony between my son and daughter,” Mary continued.

In the meantime, Mary is looking towards a bright future. She is currently working on her resume in hopes of securing a job and finding her own place to call home.


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