The Prayer Garden was once the hotel's swimming pool.
Continuing from yesterday and the day before:
During most of my visit to the Walter Hoving Home I followed Associate Director Teresa Wolf from room to room while she described the program in detail. She also showed me her own apartment, which looks out over the Prayer Garden (though not from the spot shown above). Like many of the staffers, Teresa is a graduate of the program, who found her calling there and stayed.
I talked to some of the residents, without asking details of what had brought them there. But when Teresa and I got back to her office, her story came out. She says she has no qualms about sharing it.
It took her five attempts to complete the program. She wasn't getting it. Every time she'd leave she'd end up on the street, using drugs, drinking, and worse. Every time, she'd find her way back to the Home. The last time, she found her way instead to a downtrodden hotel on Pasadena's east side, drunk, beaten, raped and waiting to die.
That story, times 50.
Teresa says she was carried out of that hotel by Elsie Benton, co-founder with her husband, John Benton, of the Walter Hoving Homes. When Teresa was 19 days sober, the Walter Hoving Home offered her a job. She grabbed it like the lifeline it was.
If you need help, call toll free and find out if the program is right for you: 1 (888) 4-Hoving or (626) 405-0950
The Walter Hoving Home accepts collect calls from jails or the streets.