Bill Perkins, CEO
In This Issue
Quick Links
Change Lives With Us
If you are interested in helping to change lives, please email Kim Eppehimer at or call the main office: 302-652-8133 for available service opportunities.
Volunteer Picnic
As a thank you to all of our amazing supporters, we are hosting our annual Volunteer Thank You Picnic Sunday, August 9th from 12pm - 3pm at Brandywine Springs State Park. For more details and to RSVP click here!
New Clothing Drop Off Location
The Journey has offered to be a drop off location starting August 1 for your new or gently used clothing donations to us! Their address is:

721 East Chestnut Hill
Newark, De 19713
Phone  (302) 738-2892

Mon. - Thur 9:00 - 4:00
Sat  4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Sun  9:00 am - Noon
July 2015

I recently came across a quote from Sister Mary Lou Kownacki which said, "There isn't anyone you couldn't love once you've heard their story." Of the many people who come in and out of the Friendship House doors, it is their stories and their names that stay with us. Everything is a story - whether fiction or nonfiction, whether you agree or disagree - it all starts with a story.


Thousands of years ago before we were able to capture stories onto paper, stories were verbally passed on through the generations. The Friendship House staff still spends much of their time listening to our clients' stories. Whether it is the first encounter or the hundredth, there is still something to be learned through listening and something to learn through retelling.


It is our mission to walk with someone on their journey without asking them to be something they are not. Our desire is that each person we encounter will let us into their life through their words. What better way to know someone then to listen, with our ears and our hearts.


This newsletter, our first electronic version of Against All Odds,  is just that for you. It is stories from the women at our Women's Day Center: staff, volunteers, clients, and friends. We invite you to read and open your hearts to the stories of what they have to share.

Kim Eppehimer
Assistant Administrator  
The Privilege of Being a Friendship House Volunteer - Dede Johnston

One of the few things we can be sure to discover as life goes by is that security is a fragile thing. One day we think we have it; the next day we realize we don't.  Suddenly, without warning, in some extraordinary way, our life is altered. When I fell and broke my arms and shoulder this winter, for the next several months I had to go about my daily life without them. When I told Marcy, after her kind words of heartfelt sympathy, she suggested that now I would have time to become a contemplative.


And, she was right. I was given the time for the steadiness that this spiritual practice requires, but I was also given time and quiet to reflect on the many images, precious images, of friendship and love in action from this past year that I received from the staff and fellow volunteers at several of the Friendship House ministries.


One of which was Pam, Genell, Patty and Sister Joan at the Women's Day Center leading a Wednesday meeting of  "The Ties That Bind" where Sister Evelyn stands, proclaiming passionately from the book of Jeremiah,  "But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him."


These images brought with them feelings and prompted questions about what it takes to be a human being in today's society. Being human can be a confusing and heartbreaking endeavor. How can I, how can we, live up to our own moral capacities? What are real ways of loving our neighbors as ourselves? 


As I pause on these moments, I am moved by the holiness of these "patches of God-light" showing us a different way of being in our world. What each of them might be thought to mean separately is less important than what they all mean together. At the very least, they mean this - pay attention to and be grateful for the Friendship House ministries, places of love, respect and understanding where the integrity of every individual is valued, where there are guides and companions to help us in our quest to be better human beings; companions who are showing us how to connect the gospel to the world that we live in; places where we as volunteers can become more aware of the burdens carried by those around us, and where we too can give our love and time to others not just for their sake, but for our own sake as well. And I know that this is something of great importance.

Volunteers from Tall Oaks Classical School at the Women's Day Center
Tall Oaks Classical School Volunteers
Why We Do What We Do...

When A Call is Answered

Let me tell you about the Friendship House staff. They really go all out to help you with any and all of your needs. Let's talk about me and how I became part of the staff family at the Friendship House. After the loss of my late husband I moved to Delaware and tried to make a new start on my own. But I failed, then I started going to the Friendship House and went looking for all kinds of support and help. I get more help from the staff at the Friendship House then I have ever got. I lost my home, became homeless, live on the streets of Delaware until someone took me to the Friendship House and that's where I met the staff. What a wonderful staff. They treat you like family. No matter what your problem is they will help you out. No matter what. Just don't lie to them. They are here to help you, not hurt you. So if you know any women in need of help, please send them to the Friendship House in Wilmington, Delaware. I have no family in Delaware. My family never left Philly, only me. Well I have a new family in Delaware - the Friendship House staff. 


D.L. - A Friendship House Friend

You Don't Have to Walk Alone

I know people say life is an experience. I must say, they did not lie. I thought everything finally was going right for my family and myself. But let me tell you that was a fairy tale.


One day I wasn't feeling like myself, I started feeling tired all the time. Days became weeks, weeks became months and I was not getting any better. Then one day I went to the hospital got a complete work up, then a week later got a call for me to come to the clinic where I had my testing done. I was a little scared but I went and once there I found out I had AIDS, not HIV. I was full blown. I was devastated, but I acted like this could not happen to me and I went home and pretended it was not true.


Let me tell you that truth will make itself known and I got so sick I could not eat anything and drank only fluids. I went from 160 to 89 pounds. My sister picked me up and rushed me to the hospital - thank God - because I was knocking on death's door. I stayed in the hospital for over a week until they were able to get me stabilized. They sent me to a good clinic to help me get my meds, so now I take a lot of meds and because I waited my viral load is so low that it's going to be a hard and long road.


As I started getting better I still went through a lot of problems with my health. I was in and out of the hospital with rare pulmonary ailments that normal people would not get. I continue to have infections and pneumonia. I now find myself homeless and no one to reach out to, or to tell my suffering to, because I am still being judged and labeled.


I went back to a place where I have always gotten help and was not judged. Even when I made mistakes they were always nice to me and told me things I needed to do. Friendship Women's Day Center and their staff has helped me with places to go and agencies to see so that I hope to find housing and try to get healthy. I really appreciate all they have done to help with my meds and just someone to talk to who don't treat me any differently. As I close, the one important thing I want people to know is don' think this is something that cannot happen to you, you are no more immune than I am and you hear what has happened to me. Be careful and always get checked - it may save your life. 


LD - A Friendship House Friend

Pam Ray and Genell Walls
"Hurt" - A poem by Lyn Hayes



Painful growing up never being loved as a child

Got sick of the abuse and went buck wild

Chose a man over me and threw me in the street

With nothing but the clothes on my back

                              And the shoes on my feet

The only time you said I love you honey

Is when you knew I had and you needed money

I know you never wanted me

And I'm okay with that

Even though you wanted my life shortened

You should have chosen an abortion

Everything you did to hurt me

All of the ugly descriptions trying to defile me

You have no power of God therefore

You cannot define me

I still have to respect you because you gave me life

I still love you for you are my mother

Though we don't have the best relationship

I would want no other

If you ever need me I will always be here

You are my mother and I still hold you dear

The anger I used to carry I no longer do

I honor everything you taught me too

I respect what you underwent

I also went through something similar

I know you didn't have it easy

Having seven kids was not part of your plan

I only had 2 and no real help from a man

I just wanted you to understand even though

               You hurt me

I need to see you just one more time

To say that I truly forgive you


Lyn Hayes

A Volunteer's Perspective

We are all God's children, we come into the world in the same way, but that is where our likeness may end. Some of us may be born rich and some may be born poor. Some of us have never known hunger, homeless or poverty. Others of us have never known anything but. Jesus said, "The poor will always be with us," and that can be seen at the Women's Center.


As a volunteer at that Center for seven and a half years, I have seen many women come and go during that time. Each woman who comes in has a story to tell. Many clients have been there for a long time. Some of these women, through Friendship House, have gotten jobs and have been able to move back into the workforce. Others are not as fortunate. Some women struggle with drug and alcohol dependency and some have physical and mental health issues. These women are all God's children, and it is important that I, as a volunteer, remember that. 

Through the years, I have seen changes. There is now a computer lab at the Center, where clients may search for jobs and write resumes. There is a job readiness program to help women prepare to enter or reenter the workforce. Program workers help with this. As always, women can come in the morning to get coffee, and come anytime during the day to get off the street and get out of the weather, or to pick up mail, make phone calls, have copies made and faxes sent. All of this the volunteer at the front desk helps clients do, as well as buzz women in, answer the phone, alert program workers that clients need to be seen and keep order in the outer room.

The volunteer at the front desk is the first person  a woman meets when she enters, and it is important for the volunteer to remain welcoming, friendly and cheerful, no matter what the circumstance. To a client, the volunteer is the face of Friendship House, no matter the  circumstance that brings her to our door. Many times the circumstances of life are thrust upon us, may not be what we want, are beyond our control and extremely frustrating. A volunteer at the front desk of the Women's Center must never forget that. No matter what, we are all God's children.  


Pat Saunders - a Friendship House Volunteer

From our Staff
When I Grow Up ... 

I started at Friendship House last August. When I was 50 years old, I graduated from seminary and for nearly 10 years had been stumbling around trying to discern my call to ministry (i.e. what I want to be when I grow up). Being a church pastor was not for me, as my first pastoral assignment ended badly. I spent time in chaplaincy, which I significantly loved, but found myself caught up in the corporate model and downsizing issues that had terminated my first career.


During chaplaincy, I discovered that the part of ministry I was best suited for was pastoral counseling. I enrolled in a master's program for professional counseling and am just finishing that program. As I was looking for a practicum site to complete my requirements for this program, I learned of several openings at Friendship House.  Like many of the times I have made decisions of great magnitude, the timing and feelings toward this opportunity was a call from God that I could not ignore. I interviewed, was offered a position and accepted.


When I was in seminary, I did an internship at a homeless shelter, so I do have some previous experience; however, doing case management is quite different than chaplain work. I still do the same intakes and hear many of the same stories but it is very fulfilling to be able to work towards empowering the women to get to a better place in their lives, whether it is moving from a shelter to a transitional home, giving them a referral because their food stamps have run out or working with them through the Job Readiness program.


Of all of the empowerment services at the Women's Day Center, I am most proud of the successes in the Job Readiness Program. One of my first major projects at the Women's Center was to re-energize the Job readiness Program. After developing some templates and worksheets for the women to use in determining their strategy and generating their resume, I have seen women who most would consider very difficult to place find employment in a short amount of time. This includes women with felony convictions and/or very large gaps in their employment history. The focus of the program is to make sure that the clients have all the resources necessary for a successful job search, encouragement and guidance along the way, and help with the search. Once they have the job, making sure that they have a wardrobe that meets the dress code, the means to get to work until they get their first paycheck, and lunches that first week (if appropriate).


In the past few months, I have really discovered what a blessing working at Friendship House can be. My initial call to ministry was to do mission work, and I can see that mission work starts in the home community. Clients at Friendship House come from a variety of backgrounds and have a variety of situations. Working with women who are homeless (or on the brink of homelessness) entails working with a significant number of issues that many of us cannot begin to imagine. I have had to talk to clients on the brink of suicide, those who have just been released from prison and have no ID except from the Department of Corrections, women who have just lost their homes and women who have been homeless for years. Each one has their own story and each story is important.

Patty Gross - Program Worker
Thank you Sister Joan
After nearly five years of ministry at our Women's Day Center Sister Joan Koliss needed to retire this June to address some personal health issues and spend more time with her elderly father. During her time with us, Joan assisted more than a hundred families in crisis with emergency financial aid. Her professional experience and gentle heart will be sorely missed by her co-workers and our clients.
Thank you for your continued support! If you are interested in learning more about ways in which you can help Friendship House and our many ministries, please call us at the office: 302-652-8133. You can also visit our website for information or to make a monetary donation.

The Friendship House Team

Friendship House | | |
PO Box 1517
Wilmington, DE 19899