Mary's Center Participants
Mary's Center participants come from over 110 countries and we project to serve over 70,000 in 2013. Read the personal stories of some of our participants.
My Name is Iane Campos and I am a Face of Mary's Center
By looking at her little Dunia, Iane Campos, feels blissful and relieved because the stormy days are in the past. The news of Iane’s pregnancy left her surprised and confused. “I didn’t think I could be a good mother,” Iane said.
When Iane came to Mary’s Center in 2005, she was five months pregnant and presented clear signs of depression. Part of the reasons was her difficulties as a child with her own mother and a weak and unsupportive relationship with the father of the upcoming baby.
Mary’s Center therapists worked with Iane using a strength based model helping remember her internal strengths and allies, her past successes, and bring them forward to do battle with the presenting crisis and despair. Step by step, the results of this work were reflected in an increased positive attachment toward her unborn child.
Today Iane’s story presents a new perspective. Iane married Dunia’s father, and their relationship continues to improve. Life is smiling at her and her family and she knows that regardless of what occurs, she will always have the support to take on the challenges of everyday life.
My name is Koudjouka Bislao and I am a Face of Mary's Center
When Koudjouka Bislao, also known as Jackie, from Togo joined Mary’s Center’s educational program in 2007, she discussed her personal goal with her teacher “I want to join the US Navy,” she said. Jackie had always been attracted to the Armed Forces, their discipline, and the commitment to serving others, but she had never imagined that she would be serving outside of her own country.
Jackie, her husband, and their four month old daughter came to the United States on a Diversity Visa Lottery program and were granted USA Permanent Residency right away. Once in the United States, they took full advantage of new opportunities. Jackie learned about Mary’s Center’s family literacy program through one of her friends and enrolled in the classes. She worked hard on her English and computer skills, and with the support of her Mary’s Center teachers, she completed the Navy application process.
A few months into the program, Jackie’s dream became a reality. She had been admitted into the US Navy as an Electrician Mate aboard the Navy ship USS Benfold. After completing her training, Jackie was deployed overseas for six months and she is now based in San Diego with her family. She is constantly leaving on missions that can range in length from two days to eight months and she is fully enjoying her new career.
My Name is Evelyn Sanchez and I am a Face of Mary's Center
"As a 17 year old girl who struggles with the issue of teen pregnancy, it is very uncomfortable when your peers ask you why you don’t have a boyfriend and why you are not into sexual relationships yet. For many of them to be sexually active is not a big deal and the last thing they think of are the consequences because they know if they become pregnant, someone in their family will take care of their baby.
But I can tell that life doesn’t get easier for them afterwards. I see them rushing to the daycare, shopping for diapers, dropping out from school and feeling frustrated when they want to hang out with their friends on a Saturday night yet they can’ t because no one can stay with the baby.
I’ve become part of the teen program since I was 12 and I can say that here I have learned practically everything: from the dangers of drugs or consequences of teen pregnancy or alcohol abuse to college applications and job skills. As a matter of fact, it was here where I received help throughout the college process for the career of Psychology that I chose to pursue and I was admitted in George Mason University.
I know there’s still a road ahead but the barriers and challenges I’ve found during these teenage years have made me stronger and have prepared me to achieve my goals, which are definitely not to be a teen mom.”
My Name is Thawan Phongsuwan and I am a Face of Mary's Center
In 2001, Thawan Phongsuwan, a native from Thailand and US citizen, suffered a heart attack. In 2005, he had a second heart attack and open-heart surgery, condition that forced him to stop working as a hotel chef.
By losing his job, he also lost his health insurance and for the following two years Thawan could not continue his appointments with the cardiologist, nor could he afford his medication.
“It was the worst time in my life because I needed my insurance more than ever before,” said Thawan.
A few months after Mary’s Center opened its doors in Montgomery County, Maryland, in June 2008, Zenir, Thawan's wife, heard about the Center from a friend.
“Our lives changed,” said Zenir. “Mary’s Center did all we needed. My husband now sees a cardiologist periodically and we both get our annual exams and regular check-ups here.”
Just like Zenir and Thawan, more than 3,500 Maryland residents are coming to Mary’s Center for services that they lacked for years.>