When Ellen Rush speaks, a bubbling optimism in her voice belies the barriers she faced as a young woman.
At 15 years old, Ellen became pregnant. After the baby was born, her father, a minister, threw Ellen out of the family home. Ellen had no home, no family, no money and no path to a better life for herself and her son. She says, “In every way, I was a broken woman. It’s easy to make poor decisions when you lose hope and direction.”
At 19, Ellen met the man who would eventually become her husband and the father of her daughter. He displayed abusive behavior from the start of their relationship, but Ellen stayed with him, not knowing better. After a year of living together, it had escalated into threats, intimidation and emotional violence.
One night, after her husband kicked her out of the home, Ellen decided not to return. After spending time with friends and then at a homeless shelter, Ellen and her children were referred to the YWCA Family Village in Redmond.
At Family Village, Ellen found a stable home in one of the YWCA’s apartments, as well as support and services from YWCA staff. They helped her overcome the effects of living in an abusive relationship, and supported through a three-year legal battle when her husband tried to gain custody of their daughter.
Ellen rebuilt her self-confidence. She has learned to set goals for herself and follow through on making them come true. She’s earned her high school diploma, and is taking courses at local community colleges.
She says, “I know I’ll continue to move forward in excellence no matter what obstacles I may face, because I now look at obstacles as opportunities disguised. They are a chance to become a stronger person. I want to give my children that philosophy.”