(COLORADO SPRINGS) — For single mothers committed to building a stable life and career, Mary’s Home at Dream Centers has been an educational safe haven since 2015.

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“It was a life changer for me,” said Ashley Brownlee, a resident who is now the Admissions Coordinator for Mary’s Home. “If I didn’t come here, I probably would be in a very small little apartment working a minimum wage job full time, probably not being able to have enough time to go to school…”

Thanks to the faith-based nonprofit, Brownlee is getting back on her feet after a divorce, which left her in financial uncertainty. The Admissions Coordinator has been with Mary’s Home for the past three years and added she was able to follow her dreams while becoming “the best version and the healthiest, most whole version of myself.”

“It’s hard to live as a single mom in Colorado Springs,” said Sarah Knierim, Program Director. “It’s over $60,000 that a single mom has to make in order to live sustainably on their own.”

For single moms escaping cycles of poverty, abuse and homelessness, Mary’s Home provides coaching on job and life skills, codependency, emotional health, finances and more through its academy.

“It’s a time for women to get therapeutic services as needed… and to really determine what it is that they want to do and really receive healing for a lot of the traumatic things that some of them have been through,” said Knierim.

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Women entering the program will go through phases in their individualized exit plan, which aims to help single moms be fully prepared for life outside of Mary’s Home.

“We judge success by women who leave the program feeling safe, feeling stable, and also who are limited to no subsidies, and our success rate in that area is over 80%,” claimed Knierim.

According to Knierim, their chosen programming is based on 35 years of research and what has been proven to help individuals leave homelessness permanently.

“Mary’s Home makes it to where women who do want that dream of working and doing school and parenting and also taking care of yourself, going to all these appointments, having a social life– somehow outside of that – they make that all realistic and possible when in the real world, especially in Colorado Springs these days, it’s very, very challenging,” said Brownlee.