This month we are highlighting Angela Brown, the founder of Yeshua’s House.
Yeshua’s House is an 18-month transitional home for women and children in Petersburg, Virginia. The home is designed to help women to achieve financial stability after suffering domestic abuse or financial hardship.
A letter from Angela:
Hello, I am Angela Brown and I am honored to have the UX Ladies feature me on their blog.
A month after my mother passed in 2004, I saw a For Sale sign on a home in Petersburg, Virginia and thought: If a home for abused women had been available for my grandmother in 1917, my mother’s life would have been very different. She would not have asked me to remove the picture of her mom and dad that hung on the wall of her bedroom in those last months before she passed at age 93. At five, my mother lost her mother who had been beaten to death by her husband while she was 7-8 months pregnant . The community did not report her father as the murderer, but they did treat him as an outcast and passed the children around among themselves until they reached an age to work—at around 13.
Something not to be ignored dropped in my spirit as I looked at that home . . . that my mother’s frugality which left an inheritance to her children, could provide such a home for families living with abuse. I know the source of that inspiration, hence the name Yeshua’s House, named for the one who came to heal the brokenhearted.
My husband agreed to put half of our inheritance into such a home. We enrolled in training programs to help us make the right decisions regarding its establishment and its management. In 2008, with the help of an 18-memer founders committee, Yeshua’s House launched services into the community with an open support group held in the tri-cities and a student-led and organized program called Breaking the Silence at Virginia State University where I was teaching. From the beginning, Yeshua’s House was a non-denominational nonprofit designed to raise awareness and prevention of abuse, teach healthy relationships based on Biblical principles and assist women recovering from abuse.
My “User Experience” came first through my grandmother Angela, whose life was cut off at age 33. It came through two of Grandmother Angela’s daughters’ experiences with abuse. (My mother and her oldest sister were blessed to marry gentlemen and lived stable, protected lives. ) It came through my sister’s seven year marriage to an abusive, controlling alcoholic. It came into my life, and then I realized that my mother named me Angela after my grandmother not just for a reason, but for a purpose.
In 2011, I retired from teaching and began to work full-time to establish an 18-month transitional home for abused women and their children. Yeshua’s House opened in 2013 and provided weekly emotional recovery sessions, a financial management class and a twice monthly support group. In 2017, one hundred years after my grandmother’s murder, Yeshua’s House #2 opened. To date, 34 women and 21 children have called Yeshua’s House home.
Initially, we anticipated soliciting furniture from local stores to furnish our homes. However, the word spread that Yeshua’s House was opening and beautiful, well-preserved furnishings streamed in, so well- suited in style, taste and color to each home that it was clear that the Divine Artist orchestrated their offerings. I do love meeting our donors, both monetary and material. They are the finest of people and have enriched YH immensely with their concern that every need be met and the wonderfully personal public relations campaign for YH that they freely engage in with their friends and family.
Yeshua’s House was supported exclusively by personal donations until this year, 2018, when YH was awarded a $10,000 grant after our second home opened. It has allowed us to implement some things for our ladies that were not heretofore possible.
With our recent growth, we have an even greater need for more board members and volunteers. The Board has a need for persons with legal expertise for our home and for our ladies’ legal issues, technological expertise to upgrade our website and our Facebook presence, and fundraising and marketing expertise. We welcome volunteers who can conduct classes in parent education, healthy relationships, and tax advice for our ladies as well as art therapy for our ladies and their children as they recoup from the stresses of living in abusive homes.
Thank you, UX Ladies, for giving me this forum to share my passion for seeing broken families healed.