As a young girl, Bonita Pritchette was captivated by the film, The Wizard of Oz. She found the film’s idea of home as a refuge particularly powerful, especially when Dorothy clicks her ruby slippers together.
“To me, it means everything to come home. Just three years ago, I honestly could not imagine having my own home again. I was once a successful chef. I had a beautiful apartment, a nice car, a closet full of clothes and shoes. But when I relapsed in 2015, I lost all of that,” she said “Above all, I lost my self-respect and my dignity.”
Bonita could not see how, at 53 years old, she would ever regain all that she had lost. But she would try. “I had to go back to the beginning and figure out what it was that was making me pursue something that destroyed me,” she said.
Bonita embarked on a difficult journey that led her to join over 1,000 people on the sidewalk along Fairmount Avenue on May 31, 2017, to submit applications for one of the 88 available units at Ruth Williams House at the Gene & Marlene Epstein Building.
“But I was not discouraged, and I told my case manager that I would be in my own place by Thanksgiving” she said. “I moved in on November 13th!”
Bonita has come a long way; she now works as a peer facilitator of recovery groups and recently completed her Certified Recovery Specialist and Community Health Worker certificate. Most importantly, she once again feels at home.
“Project HOME has not only provided me with a place to live, but it has given me the stability to be able to achieve my goals and care for others,” she said. “To put others before ourselves is a beautiful thing. It gives me so much joy that I am able to do that now. I am so grateful for the commitment of everyone who helped to make my dreams come true. There really is no place like this home.”