For years, Tiffany Nemo strived to do it all — hold down a full time job, earn her degree by taking a full course-load and care for her young son. All while suffering at the hands of an abuser who hurt her physically and robbed her of dignity and self-respect for years.
One day, Tiffany decided it must change. “That was when I said, ‘no more.’” She took her son and left.
It wasn’t easy at first. Tiffany was burdened with a tremendous amount of debt and couldn’t secure housing, so she and her son lived out of their car, moved around shelters and every once in a while, slept on couches and floors of their friends and family.
Fortunately, she discovered Gilead House in Novato. For the first time in months, she and her child had their very own warm beds to sleep in and place to feel entirely safe. Over the course of several years while living at Gilead, Tiffany was able to pay off a substantial portion of her debt, save money, and rebuild her confidence. She landed a position with a local nonprofit focused on helping women struggling to break free of abusive relationships. And remarkably—she purchased her own townhome and is living a fully independent life with her son.
Carrie Schrimshire, the executive director of Gilead House, says Tiffany is a shining example of what’s possible for all fraught single moms. “Gilead House empowers these moms to take their lives back, obtain an education and get a decent job with a good salary.” The idea for Gilead House dates back to the late 90s, when the founder of the organization befriended a homeless woman living on the streets. When she discovered the woman had a daughter, it moved her to find a place where homeless, single moms and their kids could feel safe and thrive.
Over 25 years, and Gilead House has housed more than 100 women and their children in Marin striving for personal and economic stability, even during the pandemic. “We are 100% privately funded, but we’ve had little access to many types of grants during the past two years,” said Schrimshire. “Nevertheless, we knew we had women counting on us, so we found a way to keep our services going during the pandemic, thanks to our wonderful community to whom we are eternally grateful.”
How you can support Gilead House: On May 14, Gilead House will host its annual Mothers Matter fundraising event along with an extensive online auction that ends May 20. Items include a dinner personally cooked and hosted by a Gilead House mom, an autographed Joe Montana 49ers jersey and a Zip, Sip and Dine zipline tour in Sonoma County.
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Donna Berry Glass is a freelance writer, editor and communications professional in Marin. When she’s not writing, hiking up steep hills, driving her kid to sports practice or whipping up her famous banana bread, she and her family spend time in their cabin in Lake Tahoe. She avidly supports the California Academy of Sciences, a world class science museum and research institution, and Cedars which is heart, home and family to many of Marin’s developmentally disabled adults.