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Motherhood & Mel

Motherhood. It’s an exclusive club with a lifetime membership. No trial period to opt out. No satisfaction guarantee. And for some, like Melanie Curtis, or “Mel,” as everyone knows her, membership can come with a steep price.

Deciding to leave home to keep her daughters safe was easy. Finding a place to stay was not. First, she “floated between houses” with two teenage girls, staying wherever someone had room. This was not the life she envisioned.

Soon, her girls were grown and gone, and a semi-permanent living arrangement with a friend abruptly ended. Someone reported Mel as an extra tenant. Alone and unwilling to allow a friend to face eviction, she left for temporary shelter at the YWCA, followed by a 3-month stay at a motel on Broadway in Everett. This was not the life she envisioned.

Shortly after Mel’s application to Maud’s House was accepted, her daughter Jessica returned as an echo of Mel’s past: a struggling single mother with two young daughters. Mel knew Maud’s House could help them, too, and there they were, side by side in a temporary shelter: a mother, a daughter, and grandchildren. This was not the life she envisioned.

Yet, Mel’s strength and resilience led to the role of Resident Advisor, a “house mom” of sorts, encouraging others in their path out of addiction, assisting with job searches and childcare, and looking after the house itself. The role suited her so well, she became an employee of Maud’s House, where she still works today, shepherding those finding their way.

“Good friends helped out. But there’s a limit,” Mel acknowledges. She could have scraped together enough “for a few weeks at a motel, maybe. I had no car. Nowhere else to go.” Without Maud’s House, she would have faced the decision to stay homeless or return to the house she fled. A house filled with fear and mistrust.

Mel now has a stable job and a place to call home. The support she received gave her a future, so she devotes herself to helping others do the same. Her relationship with Maud’s House and Program Director Belinda Richey has given new meaning to the word motherhood. Safe. Sheltered. Purposeful. This is the life she envisioned.

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