From the time she was a child, nature was calling Terri. While in high school, she volunteered at summer camp and later became a camp counselor. She was a Girl Scout leader before her daughter was born. Through her scouting experiences, her world expanded.

“If it weren’t for the Girl Scouts, I never would have traveled,” she says. During high school, scouting took her to Ports Island off the coast of Bermuda, and to Washington, DC. “I loved camping and loved the sisterhood.”

As an adult, her love of the outdoors led her to study at Quinnipiac College to become an enthusiastic outdoor education professional. Through her own outdoor education, she learned how to deal with people.

So many good things in her life, but tragedy as well. Early in life, her fiance was hit head on by a truck and died. A few years later, her next boyfriend was killed in an automobile accident. Yet, she persevered.

For 20 years, Terri worked as a secretary in an accounting firm, raising her daughter and supplementing her income by working as a sales associate in a local retail business. And then it happened…life took a series of unexpected turns.

She had been living with friends, assuming the role of caretaker for their property and their animals while working two jobs. Her friends needed to sell their property rather suddenly. At the same time, Terri’s car broke down; repairs were too expensive. Far from any public transportation, she could not get to her jobs and she was soon unemployed and stranded. She was 60 years old and, for the first time, could not see a way forward.

“You never know what life is going to throw at you. Not all people who have no place to go are bad people. They are just in bad circumstances. There but for the grace…”

As homelessness loomed, she prayed for direction.

Then she found Renewal House.

Today, Terri is in her own apartment. She is a cancer survivor – a battle she faced and fought while a resident at Renewal House – and has COPD. Despite her health challenges, she says she is “pretty independent”. She is able to do her own shopping because a fellow Renewal House graduate provides transportation. Public transportation is not an option for her. She plays an engaging game of cards with residents in her building, reads volumes of books, keeps in touch with family through facebook, and, when the weather permits, she walks to keep herself active. Although she no longer works with the Girl Scouts, Terri still gives back. She serves on the board of a local nonprofit organization and is about to lead an exciting new project that will add to the already well-documented history of Danbury. She supports community projects that Renewal House sponsors. For the past three years, Terri and her daughter have participated in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. This year, Terri will be a Team Captain.

What does Terri want us to know?

“You never know what life is going to throw at you. Not all people who have no place to go are bad people. They are just in bad circumstances. There but for the grace…”

“Renewal House gives you the tools to get your feet back under you, so you still feel like the person you were before.”

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About Renewal House Danbury

At Renewal House we are devoted to rebuilding older lives by restoring independence, one life at a time. We do this by providing transitional housing, case management, counseling support, and life skills enhancement tailored to the unique needs and aspirations of each resident.