Finding Hope, Building Confidence

Last August, Karla’s world collapsed. She and her husband were living in the apartment complex that exploded into flames in Silver Spring, MD on August 10, 2016.

It was just another Tuesday night and Karla and her husband were watching TV and talking about how their day went. Karla was delighted because she’d recently started a new job as a housekeeper. She was so happy that she was going to be able to support her husband in paying the expenses that every household has:  food, rent, utility bills, etc.  More than happy, Karla was proud. Proud of learning new skills and meeting new people.

All of a sudden, there was a blast. It felt like an earthquake. Karla saw the flames and ran out of the apartment, but the hallway stairs were gone. She scrambled down a pile of debris, and finally made it out. Once safe, she saw the scene before her and gasped: friends and neighbors desperately looking for their loved ones, mothers screaming and hugging their children. They felt powerless and empty as they watched their belongings burn.

Karla and her husband were relocated to temporary housing. She focused on continuing with her routine, trying to keep her mind off the tragedy. It didn’t work. She couldn’t sleep, and the few times she was able to do so, she’d wake up disoriented and panicked, rushing straight to the window, frantically checking that everything was fine and they were safe. Even the sound of a siren would trigger a reaction of fear.

She needed to take her life back. Thanks to the support of Mary’s Center and its team of behavioral health specialists, Karla is now on the path of recovery.  It has not been easy, but with the help she is receiving from her therapist, she is stronger, and she’s learned that opening up about her feelings and struggles really benefits her.  Every day brings its own challenges but she’s working on staying positive and making the best out of any situation. Right now, getting her life back on track is her main goal, and Karla is determined to achieve it. 

“I have no resources to pay for what Mary’s Center has done for me.  I will never forget the professionalism and incredible compassion the staff showed to all us when we came in asking for help. Yes, we are victims but we are also survivors who will regain our confidence in ourselves and get back on our feet.”

Mary’s Center and its behavioral health staff are proud to support Karla and help her build a brighter and better future for herself and for her family. 

The Mary’s Center Behavioral Health Team works with each participant to increase life satisfaction and attain personal goals. Our qualified team of providers stands ready to share the services and tools needed to pave a path towards stability, based on the individual’s needs. In Karla’s case, she needed our support to cope with the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome she experienced as a result of the fatal explosion and fire that engulfed her apartment complex. 

Karla is not alone. Months after the fire, dozens of her neighbors receive behavioral health therapy from Mary’s Center as they too continue to experience fears and anxiety that impact their ability to accomplish their daily routine.

Your support allows us to give them a fighting chance and to make a difference in the lives of many adults and children who struggle every day to overcome. Your support helps Mary’s Center provide life-changing behavioral health services to 500 adults and children in DC and Maryland.

We are committed to responding to the needs of the most vulnerable communities in Montgomery County, Prince George’s County and Washington, DC.  Together, we can ensure that individuals like Karla are connected to wraparound services to address the full spectrum of their needs. 


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