Ellen has set up an Educational Scholarship for women who have escaped abusive relationships in honor of her mother. 


My mother Gladys was a shy, dreamy romantic, intelligent Oklahoma daughter of the Great Depression.  During those years of uncertainty, Gladys found solace in books and the dream of “one day attending college, studying in the library, and surrounded by all those books!”  But poverty thwarted the college dream. “I went for one year while I lived with my biological father and his family when I was seventeen.  Then…well, I don’t want to go into that.  Suffice to say I left Oklahoma to join Mother and the rest of my family in Monterey, CA.”  

Another dream birthed through those years of poverty, uncertainty, and damaging family dynamics, was Gladys’ dream of a safe and secure home “with six children running through the house.”  Her first marriage, while in her early twenties, almost destroyed faith in such a want: Gladys was a battered woman…but not for too long.  She, with her 10-month old son in her arms, fled.  Into the throws of the 1940s stiff social norms she went—a single mom working, supporting her son.  “I felt as though I were wearing a scarlet letter A across my chest in those days. I was ashamed of being a ‘divorcee,’ but I valued your brother’s life…and mine. I had to leave, regardless the social stigma. For the next seven years I held onto the hope a nice man would appear and be a good husband to me and a father for your brother,” pause, “then your father came along,” she smiled.  

Before she died, as I sat at her bedside and listened, Gladys whispered, “Sadly, life is pocked with unfulfilled dreams.  For me it was college, then becoming a teacher and a writer.  At least I had part of it,” she smiled above the cancer-induced pain, “my column in the local paper of the town I love.  If I had stayed in that first marriage” she turned her face from me, but I saw the tears in her eyes, “what a mess my life would have been. God help every woman to leave such abuse—leave and never look back.”

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Note: When donating under "Additional Information" click on "I would like to dedicate this donation to someone" and enter: Gladys Ellsworth Silman Scholarship

Cityteam House of Grace is a unique program where addicted, abused or homeless women can rebuild their lives, without being separated from their young children. This long-term, addiction recovery program addresses chemical dependency, abusive relationships, and other self-destructive behaviors. It is a place where women are mentored and taught how to rejoin the mainstream of community life and become productive citizens supporting themselves as well as their families. We also have a nursery onsite so that the young children (newborn to 5 years old) have a safe and caring environment.

The women who come to House of Grace often have stories of homelessness, addiction, jail, lost jobs, and broken families. When they graduate, their stories are redeemed with reunited families, steady employment, a pursuit of higher education, a desire to help others, and great faith in God’s grace. Our alumni program shows an 85% success rate in helping transform their lives. More Info