Donna Thrives At Abby’s House

Donna Thrives At Abby’s House

Donna (right) stands proudly with Abby’s House Founder, Annette Rafferty (left)

If it wasn’t for Abby’s House and the generosity of others, I don’t know where I’d be today.

My name is Donna and I’m 59 years old. I was born in Boston and raised in one of the toughest sections of the city. As one of ten children, my home life was hectic to say the least. After a few years of being together as a family my father left, and my mother became so angry that she began abusing me. At the age of twelve I left home and bounced around from place to place, getting into relationships that went from bad to worse. At the age of thirteen I became pregnant, but lost the baby because I was beaten so badly. At sixteen I gave birth to a daughter, but lost custody of her due to the neglect of a family member who I trusted to care for her while I was at work. Filled with remorse and to cope with the pain, I began using drugs and alcohol.

For many years I stayed in an environment that consisted of domestic violence and drugs until one day I had enough. I decided to go to a detox program. After I successfully completed the program, I entered a domestic violence shelter. It was there that I came to the realization that I wasn’t going to let my past determine my future.

After staying there for a year, I was referred to Abby’s House, and it was more than I ever expected. I never imagined that I’d find a community that would help me regain my dignity and self-respect. I got the support, the love, and the willpower to live again. Every day I kept fighting for my life and worked hard to create a brighter future.

Whether it was through receiving meals, learning a new skill through the Annette Rafferty Women’s Empowerment Center, or working with the Advocacy staff, the support and understanding I received at Abby’s House empowered me to live my life to the fullest. I knew that if I needed anything, Abby’s would always be there to answer my call. I’m proud to share that after three years of living at Abby’s I just moved out and into my very own apartment and was offered a position to work with at-risk youth. I want to show them that no matter what your circumstances may be, you can overcome and change the path you’re traveling on – it’s never too late!

If it wasn’t for the support and generosity I received from the Abby’s House community, I wouldn’t be where I am today. This community has given me the tools I needed to stand on my own again and live a successful, independent, drug-free life. Every day, women come through the doors of Abby’s House looking for a safe, affordable home and a community that accepts them for who they are. Thank you for being an important part of my journey. Your generosity helped me stand on my own again and can help countless other women do the same.