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Changing Lives One Step at a Time

“If you don’t like the way the world is, you change it. You have an obligation to change it. You just do it one step at a time.” – Marian Wright Edelman

Marian Wright Edelman is an American activist for the rights of children. She has been an advocate for disadvantaged Americans for her entire professional life. She is president and founder of the Children’s Defense Fund, known for her legal advocacy for African Americans during the Civil Right Movement, and is the first African American woman to be admitted to the Bar Association in Mississippi.

40 years ago, Marian saw a problem and one step at a time decided to make a difference in the lives of those most vulnerable…disadvantaged children.

As a black woman in the 1960’s working to become a lawyer and advocate for children, I can only imagine how tired she must have been trying to fight for the rights of so many. Yet she kept moving forward one step at a time.

I must admit that there are days that I am physically and mentally drained by the work we do at The Covering House. The limitless hours, the referrals we can’t take, the heartbreaking stories that we hear can be overwhelming. Then I think of people like Marian and how she paved the way for many of us, and I am grateful.

Recently we crunched our numbers from 2015 and found that 57% of our clients were private referrals.

What does that mean?

  • For the girls, it means a greater chance of healing, because they get to avoid the stigma of being in the “system” and wards of the State. Typically these girls are referred to us by Deputy Juvenile Officers, the Courts and parents.
  • For The Covering House it means that over half of the girls we helped in 2015 came with no funding source which means we have to find ways to cover the cost.

Confession time…I often dream of someone writing us a million dollar check so we can help more girls. (We are in the planning stages of determining ways to expand our services and number of beds) Reality check…that probably isn’t going to happen any time soon. So one day, I figured out that if we could get 1,400 people to give us $50.00 a month we could currently meet all our monthly obligations and all other money above and beyond this from events and grants goes into expanding services and helping more girls. This seems doable.

Here Is My Challenge To You!

  • Please donate $50.00 a month. (I know some can and will do more and some can’t do that much. I am looking for the average.)
  • Please give monthly. For any nonprofit, it is so important to have monthly givers for 2 reasons.
    • It helps us budget and plan. Imagine if you received a paycheck only occasionally. It would be hard to plan.
    • If one person stops giving, it doesn’t rock our world. I would much rather have many give some than a few give much.

Let me share what $50.00 a month will provide.

Reduce the Risk Program (our preventative program for schools)

  • 50 bracelets that say “I’m Covering”
  • 250 printed front and back bookmarks for students


  • One month’s worth of art supplies for Arts and Creative Expressions Class
  • A 2 month subscription to Discovery Education
  • Supplemental educational downloadable curriculum resources from Teacherspayteachers or similar websites
  • One set of books for literature circles
  • Approximately 5-7 books on various topics for our classroom library

Experiential Classes and Recreation

  • 3 weeks of nutritional snacks and supplies for our Health/Nutrition/Cooking Class
  • One experiential outing for 5 girls
  • 5-10 movies that can be used for Experiential character lessons
  • Gloves, kneeling pads, and hand shovels for our garden
  • 2-3 new basketballs, soccer balls, or volleyballs for recreation

Boring Basic Needs yet Critical

  •  One week’s worth of gas for our transportation to the doctor, dentist, and outings
  •  One week supply of paper towels
  •  One-two month supply of ink for our education printer
  •  One-two month supply of paper for the house

These are just a few items that $50.00 a month can provide us.

I want to leave you with a story about how your generosity is changing lives. This story comes from our Music Therapist.

“The girls are working on their “Authentically Me” original songs in terms of content, music/lyrics, and recording.  The purpose of this project is to increase self-awareness by identifying concepts of who they are, increasing self-expression by putting their style, story, and self into their original music, and increasing self-esteem by creating a piece of art that truly reflects them. We are really digging deep to identify and have authority over “who I am.” I get to see so many benefits of music therapy techniques on the healing process of these girls.  But every ounce of energy you (staff) put into reinforcing it, multiplies the results I see.  Just today, Beth (name was changed for privacy) stated that she doesn’t have nightmares when she plays guitar before bed.  Thanks for working with thesensory regulation techniques and instrument check-outs.  Thank you for your care!” – Courtney

Please consider giving to us on a monthly basis. Together we can make a change on step at a time.


Dedee Lhamon Founder and President


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