Maud squad in Marysville helps women, children out of bad situations

MARYSVILLE – The women and children escaping abuse, addiction and other issues at the Maud House in Marysville are each other’s biggest supporters.

They truly are a Maud-ern Family.

Romanita has lived there with her three children for about a year.

“I love it here,” she said. “It’s a supportive second family.”

She had to get on a waiting list to move in because tenants are expected to have a job and pay some rent. Romanita has a job and is learning the skills needed to have a better life.

Lori Drabant, vice president of Volunteers of America, said whatever the tenant’s issue, the goal is to break the cycle.

“It’s not a revolving door” where people keep coming back for help, she said. “It’s an open door” to learn life skills and to be productive.

They learn about finance, nutrition and health.

“They learn about the trauma they experienced and how it can be passed on” to their children, said Belinda Richey, program manager at the house. “They are taught resilency.”

The house is expanding to be able to provide an even bigger role in education for its tenants.

Richey said they will be working with Everett Community College, Worksource and others to provide work skills, too.

Each client will have an individualized education plan on their way to being paid a living-wage job.

“Their goal is to finish and be on their own with no government subsidy,” Richey said.

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Previously, where Maud House is was kept secret. Many of the clients were domestic violence victims. No men were allowed on site.

“It was like a jail,” Richey said. “We want to loosen things up. We want people to know we’re here.”

While some clients are DV victims, others are there for many other reasons.

For example, Hilda, 52, was evicted from their place along with her husband and grandkids. The granddad sought shelter in different ways, but the others were able to stay at Maud House until they recently found housing.

Brittany stayed there for four months last summer. She came back for a recent open house at Maud House. But she has a job and has been out on her own for almost a year.

She has been clean and sober now for two years and three months. She went through six months of inpatient treatment. When she got out, she called 2-1-1 looking for help. She got on a waiting list and got a job.

“I didn’t want to live off the system,” she said.

She said she’s still “cleaning up the wreckage of my past,” for example fixing her credit. Brittany said she goes to Narcotics Anonymous meetings a lot and even shares her story of recovering at treatment centers.

“My motive is to be the mother I never had,” she said.

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Another new part of the program at Maud House is it is working with the “Guardians of the Children” organization.

The mission for the motorcycle group is “to recognize and react to child abuse…, to serve as advocates to provide strength and stability to families in crisis, and be an answer to the prayer of an abused child or teen for courage, support and protection.”

“Huckleberry,” president of the GOC, said members hang out with the kids and give them strength to stand up for themselves.

Members become like family to kids from broken families. They teach kids not to be afraid.

“They’ve been through some bad stuff,” Huckleberry said, adding that sometimes they will go to recess or lunch with a bullied kid. “Funny how it just stops.”

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