{Local Cause} The Drake House: Providing Hope and Opportunity

by jana on February 29, 2016

One of the most rewarding parts of the Listen To Your Mother Show is being able to give back to a cause in our own Metro-Atlanta community. Ten percent of ticket sales will go to our local cause this year, as well as any donations made on show night. As a national organization, LTYM shows across the country have given over $80,000 to local causes over the past 6 seasons.

We are excited to introduce you to our 2016 Local Cause for Listen To Your Mother: Atlanta.


Close your eyes and let’s play a little game.

Wait. Open them back up, but pretend they’re closed… you have to be able to read this.

Imagine yourself a single mother. Maybe you have one child. Maybe you have four.

Imagine you have a rough go of things and find yourself on the receiving end of an eviction notice, or worse, come home from your job and find your belongings on the sidewalk because you’ve been kicked out of your apartment or home.

Imagine night after sleepless night of you and your children attempting to sleep in a car or in a weekly-rate motel or on the streets.

Imagine that, on top of being in a bad situation, your son, if he’s over 12, is separated from you when you arrive at a women’s shelter. He can’t stay. No men allowed.

No men allowed. He’s 12 years old. Your baby.

He’s sent to the men’s shelter where he is treated like a grown man, not a tween or teen who likes Minecraft and YouTube videos.

Imagine that for just a minute.

Is your heart racing now? Have you caught your breath? For some people, this isn’t a little game.

Here’s the deal.

Homelessness knows no race, religion, social status, or even income level. It can happen to anyone, like cancer or a heart attack, and many of us are closer to homelessness than we think on any given day.

How does a family regain their footing after finding themselves without a place to lay their heads at night? How does a mom relearn the skills she needs to shelter, clothe, and feed her beautiful children? How does this cycle get broken?

The Drake House in Roswell is bridging that gap between fear and adversity and hope and opportunity.

Hope. Opportunity. Those are beautiful words, aren’t they?

In 2004, the North Fulton Chamber of Commerce Leadership Program determined there was a need for emergency housing for homeless mothers and children in the North Fulton community. This area — Roswell, Alpharetta, Johns Creek, Sandy Springs, Milton — has for years been known as a more affluent area, but the harsh reality is that over 25% of students in North Fulton qualify for free lunch and the number of single moms is the fastest growing homeless population.

The group quickly identified a 16 unit apartment complex and, with the help of HomeAid Atlanta, had the complex gutted and completely refurbished.

In June 2006, The Drake House opened its doors to women and children with 15 apartments — some one bedroom and some two bedroom. All are beautifully and simply appointed and ready to live in if all the family has is the clothing on their backs. Each unit is sponsored by a local organization and between families, or as needed, these groups come in to clean and spruce up and refurnish their adopted apartment.

Since opening its doors in 2006, over 365 families, including over 690 children, have been served. And being served at The Drake House is way more than simply receiving an apartment to call home for 90 to 180 days.


Miranda and I recently spent a few hours with Kathy Swahn, the Executive Director, and Karen Pye, the Development Director, and were quite literally moved to tears at times while learning the ins and outs of how The Drake House bridges hope and opportunity.

When serving a family — a mother and her children — the Drake House does much more than provide emergency housing.

Upon arrival at The Drake House, women are assigned a Family Assessment Manager who helps develop a personalized plan to empower them. Together, they set goals for their family, identify specific needs, and start a path toward financial savings. Alongside a Career Coach, job placement is one of the first orders of business if the mother isn’t currently employed.

The mothers attend weekly workshops where they receive instruction and guidance in personal finance, health, organization skills, parenting, nutrition, and even boundary-setting. While the mothers are in their workshops, the elementary and middle school-age children receive tutoring and the older children participate in Teen Life Skills curriculum.

Mothers and children 5 and older are all paired with a trained and screened mentor. These mentors fill many holes which may be missing in these families’ lives. They provide support, help with family needs, and even friendship.

More than anything, these mothers have been given hope in the future because they’ve been empowered to provide for their family and the opportunity to begin again.

This is so far above and beyond a simple place to live. It’s a community. It’s a new start.

It’s truly amazing.

Hope. Opportunity. You can almost feel it, can’t you?

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