Updated: Apr 15, 2020
From Surviving to Thriving—The Mary Parrish Center When women and their children arrive at the Mary Parrish Center, they are survivors. Pummeled repeatedly by domestic violence and sexual abuse, wounded emotionally and physically, they have nevertheless found a place of shelter and hope. They have escaped. The beater has been beaten.
But now what? How do these women and their children move from merely surviving to truly thriving? They do so with the help of the Mary Parrish Center and its many volunteers.
Located in a 12-unit apartment building in Nashville, the Center provides rent-free housing for six women with children and for four women alone. One unit is the office and the other is the community gathering space. Being a "cluster site" gives the women the wrap-around services and supportive community that help them stabilize and begin to thrive.
Although those services include up to two years of housing rent free, the average stay is only one year, a testimony to both the strength and desire of the women and to the other services of the Mary Parrish Center, such as individualized case management, housing advocacy, budgeting, employment assistance, and therapy.
Additionally, volunteers share their skills, interests, and caring through art, crafts, cooking, event planning, teaching and playing games, and so on. These enrichment activities bring not only fun and new skills to the residents but also a sense of support for them to continue their journey on to thriving.
Volunteers who have interest in making a difference in the lives of these survivors need only contact the center for a personal conversation with Mary Katherine Rand, the volunteer coordinator. Her focus is on matching the strengths of the individual (or group) with what the residents would find helpful or enjoyable. All ideas are welcome.
When the survivors arrive, they soon learn the story of the ginko-leaf logo of the Mary Parrish Center. The beautiful ginko tree grows upright, reaching for the sky. Also a survivor, the ginko is able to withstand the harshest weather extremes and even a nuclear blast and keep on growing. This gift of nature is a symbol of hope for the women to know that they too can survive and indeed thrive.