SUISUN CITY — There’s a sign hanging inside Princess House that reads, “Count your blessings. Recounts are OK.”
It’s blessings that have kept Princess House, a Christian-based transitional house for women leaving prison or jail, up and running. Those same blessings helped Princess House founder, evangelist Robin Weidman, hold it together as times got tough.
Weidman is the recipient of this year’s Ruby Award, given by Soroptimist International of Central Solano County. In fact, she said, it was Soroptimist who sought her to apply.
“Sometimes you feel like you work hard and no one acknowledges what you do,” Weidman said. “It’s great that Soroptimist acknowledges the work being done by women in their communities.”
Princess House runs on donations and fees from the residents, and Weidman’s own pocketbook. The home opened in 2007 and since then, Weidman estimated that about 200 women have called Princess House home.
Most women stay between six months and a year. They cook and clean as well as attend classes and daily devotions. The goal is to get the women on their own and back in school and/or working.
“We teach them life skills and how to live life on life’s terms,” Weidman said of the clean-and-sober facility. “There are things they have to learn all over again.”
Weidman spent five years in and out prisons in the early 1990s. After one release, she had no place to go and ended up in a crack house. She wanted women in the same situation to have another option, such as Princess House.
Through the years at Princess House, Weidman has witnessed many happy endings, and some not-so-good endings. While she believes in second and third chances, Weidman has had one woman come through the house six times. There won’t be a seventh, she said.
She’s also allowed a few homeless women and a few pregnant women, with no place to go, to shelter at Princess House.
Taking care of others took a toll on Weidman. She said there was about a year during which she struggled to find the fire within. The Soroptimist award has helped reignite her passion.
“I was overloaded,” she said. “It was a learning lesson.”
With prison realignment – releasing low-level offenders back to their communities – Weidman expects to see all six beds full at Princess House.
Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.