It’s been well over a decade since Betty Wright and her family came to the Franciscan Center for help, but she
remembers the day like it was yesterday.
“It was a Wednesday,” she said.
Having been down on their luck, Betty and her husband visited the Franciscan Center in November 2001 for assistance with their utility bills and to receive groceries from the Emergency Food Pantry. They met with a woman whose name – unfortunately — now escapes Betty’s memory.
“The one thing I really remember was how nice she was,” Betty said.
While names fade, the impact this woman made is forever embedded in Betty’s memory. The day after she received services from the Franciscan Center, tragedy struck Betty’s life – her husband passed away.
Betty openly admits she was not at the best place in her life after her husband’s passing. As she unexpectedly became a single mother of five children, she struggled with frequent marijuana use; her house was a mess and she felt lost. Betty contacted the woman who helped her family to tell her the sad news.
“Sometimes you need a person who can connect with you and understand what you’re going through,” Betty said, adding the four months following her husband’s death changed her life forever.
The woman from the Franciscan Center went over to Betty’s house to help wash dishes and do laundry. She prayed with
Betty and reassured her that everything would work itself out. She guided Betty and taught her how to fix her children a proper meal. The woman told her that if she did not get her life together, she could lose her children and the house.
“I promised her that if she helped me get out from under that rock, I would do better,” Betty added.
Day by day, Betty turned her life around and began moving past the grief. She learned to budget her money and eventually met a new man, giving birth to four more children. She wanted better for herself and for her family, which prompted her
decision to go to college. In 2011, she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Sojourner-Douglass College in Baltimore.
This past November, Betty found herself back at the Franciscan Center – only, not to receive assistance. She instead served as an intern while working toward her Master’s Degree in Human Services from Sojourner-Douglass College. Betty chose to return to the Center because she wanted to give back to the organization that pulled her out of darkness all of those years ago.
“What’s great about the Franciscan Center is you’re not just talking about it; you’re doing something about it. That
woman walked the last mile with me,” Betty reminisced. “Looking back, if she never expressed her love like that, I don’t know where me and my kids would be.”
In the future, Betty wants to work with people and hopes to open a teenage pregnancy center and write a book. She’s schedule to graduated and receive her Master’s Degree this summer.
“The struggle you are going through now does not have to be the struggle you go through later,” Betty said. “Every day is precious and some people need a positive role model.”