Juliette Fowler’s Ebby House Provides a Place for Young Women to Heal and Gain Independence

Each year, the National Benevolent Association invites congregations and ministries to apply for a Mission & Ministry Grant. These grants are reserved specifically for projects that will impact older adults as well as historically excluded youth and young adults. Below is a story from a grantee who received funds for their work in 2021.   

A sign that reads "Be Here. Be You. Belong" at Juliette Fowler's The Ebby House.The Ebby House, a shelter for abused and neglected young girls within Juliette Fowler Communities, received a call from a social worker at The Bridge, a homeless shelter in Dallas. The advocate said that she had a very young woman named Amy* who had been at The Bridge for a couple days. The social worker felt Amy would not be safe much longer at the shelter. She was dropped off at The Bridge by a police officer, and the social worker stated she did not know the circumstances that led her to them. Amy was not open to discussion about the family situation that made her homeless. The case worker’s focus was getting her into a safe place that could decipher her needs and help with appropriate resources while keeping her physically and mentally safe.

Amy arrived at The Ebby House that same day with a backpack containing one outfit of dirty clothing. She had not showered or slept in two nights. She was shown her room, given a key, and oriented to the house and all it provides young women, including clothing, food, toiletries, and a safe place to sleep) After eating a meal, Amy gave the site manager her clothing to be washed as she was able to shower. The Ebby House was able to provide new pajamas and another change of clothes. She climbed into her bed, freshly made, and slept for 24 hours straight. She woke up the next day to food and quiet comfort.

Two days before The Ebby House was called, Amy’s mother decided it was time for her to be in “the real world” and told her to leave. So, she did. After walking from a suburb of Dallas and winding up in downtown Dallas, a police officer picked her up and took her to The Bridge. Amy didn’t know how long she was on the streets of Dallas or how long she had been at the shelter when she arrived at The Ebby House. Amy shared stories of the chronic abuse she experienced at the hands of family. She also shared that she’d been attending school in in the suburb she left behind.

With a quick call to the social worker at her high school, we discovered that they had been very concerned about Amy and were thrilled to know she was safe. The social workers, counselors, and teachers at the school were eager to fill in the blanks of Amy’s story and provided assistance where they could. That partnership has been instrumental in Amy’s progress at The Ebby House. What started as a temporary stay has solidified into a long-term, supported opportunity of healing.

Common room inside the Ebby House
Common room inside the Ebby House.

Since arriving, Amy has become more independent and has had fewer cognitive challenges than first suspected.  She gets herself up each morning, does chores, prepares her own breakfast, gets ready, gets to school, attends classes, and returns each day. Her blossoming has been a gift to watch. The social workers at school and the staff of The Ebby House work in tandem to make sure she has what she needs while encouraging her healing and independence. She is truly in transition! Through her resilience, commitment to independence, and the help of her school and staff at The Ebby House, Amy was able to graduate in June 2021 and even attended her prom!

Amy has slipped into the role of ’little sister’ at The Ebby House and is fondly tended to by the other young women, who themselves are healing from past wounds. All those connected to her care and growth will insure The Ebby House is the correct placement until her future needs are established. She continues to surprise us all with her resiliency.

*Name has been changed to protect identities.

Are you interested in receiving grant funds for your health and social service project? Consider applying for a Mission & Ministry grant here. Applications open twice a year in the winter and summer.