November 24, 2021
Dear Haven House supporter –
Nighttime was a time of anxiety and often of terror for our family in the mid-1990s. That’s when our teenaged daughter, Mimi, would flee the house into the dark. She had become a habitual runaway. And sometimes, in order to get away, Mimi bullied her little sister into silence by hurting her.
We didn’t know what to do or where to turn. We had worked with therapists and counselors and with inpatient hospitalizations when necessary. Nothing seemed to encourage Mimi to want to be at home with us, her family. It was tearing our souls apart.
One night, in desperation, I looked in the phone book under “youth services” and “runaways,” and that is where I found the phone number for the organization that would change our lives: Haven House Services. I took my younger daughter, and we drove that very night to talk with a counselor about how terrified we were that Mimi would leave us forever or seriously harm one of us.
Haven House sent a counselor to our home as part of their in-home therapy program. The counselor drew the whole family into the process of remodeling our relationships with one another and as a family. The problem, we learned, wasn’t Mimi; it was our fractured family. By pulling together over many months, we adopted togetherness activities such as family game night, mom and daughter breakfasts, dad and daughter dance classes, and date nights for mom and dad.
It wasn’t always easy. But over time, Mimi made a name for herself as a talented ballet dancer, enrolled in the U.S. Navy’s Junior Reserve Officer Training Course, and graduated high school on the A honor roll. I’ll never forget how proud her dad, her sister, and I were when we stood in the stands to watch Mimi graduate from U.S. Navy boot camp in 1999. The commanding officer of her ship, the USS Pearl Harbor, later told me that Mimi was “the toughest five feet of sailor the U.S. Navy had to offer.” A decorated radio officer who served courageously during wartime, Mimi personally received a challenge coin from Gen. Henry Hugh Shelton, a North Carolina native and Chair of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff at the time.
Tragically, Mimi passed away unexpectedly in February 2020, leaving behind a teen daughter of her own and a young son. We miss her every hour of every day. Her daughter is in college studying architectural design. Her son lives with me and his auntie now. He just turned 14 and is, like his mother, a talented ballet dancer and an honor roll student in middle school. Both of them have Mimi’s smile and her mischievous laugh.
Mimi’s sister and I easily adapted the lessons we learned through Haven House for our new family. We have family game night, we picnic at a park and dance together whenever we miss Mimi, and we have special “family brinners” (breakfast for dinner). We all take care of one another, especially during the times when it seems toughest to do that.
So here we are, more than 25 years beyond the time Haven House reunited a fractured family, using the same tools our counselor gave us to build a home of love and care for a new generation.
I don’t have much, but I’ve been a donor to Haven House for many, many years. I cannot imagine a better steward of my contributions. How many families like mine have been saved? How many young men and women have found their way to a better life with their help? How many times have they been there when needed the most — night or day, 365 days a year.
This holiday season, I ask you to make more stories like my family’s possible by making a year-end gift to Haven House. Your gift matters. I know first-hand that it helps changes lives. Thank you.
Wishing you a safe, happy holiday,
A Grateful Mother and Grandmother
P.S. Please visit havenhousenc.org/impact to read Haven House’s 2021 impact report and learn more about how your past support helped Haven House serve more than 1,200 youth in need last year.
Donations can be made online here.
Financial information about this organization and a copy of its license are available from the State of NC Solicitation Licensing Branch at (919) 807-2214. The license is not an endorsement by the State.