Constance Collins could have continued her career as a successful developer. Instead, she used her professional expertise, talents, and resources to create and run Lotus House, a shelter for homeless women and infants in Overtown, a low income section of Miami. In the midst of abandoned buildings and lots, Constance has created an oasis for women in distress. I had the privilege of volunteering at Lotus House last year and am in awe of the concept and program Constance has created. For many of these women, this is the first time in their lives they are treated as sacred human beings. The approach is a holistic one - to heal the whole person. From clean, safe housing, to healthy meals, counseling, career development, yoga, creative writing and more, Lotus House provides a safe place for women to heal and develop their potential. This year our synagogue created a community garden to grow fresh organic vegetables for Lotus House. It is a joy and privilege to be associated with such a caring and sacred enterprise. Rabbi Jody Cohen
I have visited Lotus House on several occasions and have found the work that is done there to be remarkable. The pleasant surroundings, the obvious excellence of the many services provided and the very enthusiastic and optimistic atmosphere are cannot be commended enough. I visited Lotus House when I delivered donations of clothing on several occasions and then again with a small group from my synagogue to deliver the gift bags which were made as a project by the women of Temple Emanu-el on Miami Beach. The staff and the residents were so willing to share information with us about the program here and the variety of food, health, educational programs as well as the comfortable living conditions. We were all so moved and impressed by the quality of this program and hope to repeat the project next year.
Each day, i am blessed to share the amazing grace of the divine spirits of so many women and children who call Lotus House their home, until they have their own. Lotus House provides sanctuary, support, tools and resources for women and children who are homeless and in need of a safe space to transform their lives, to become who they were truly meant to be. With a holistic environment designed to heal, nurture, and support each woman in accomplishing her goals, Lotus House offers love and encouragement, compassion and understanding, and the support, tools, resources and time to truly heal, grow and transform their lives. Virtually every woman who enters our door has suffered traumas of body, mind and spirit. She is afforded an opportunity to heal, learn and improve the quality of her life on every level. She is empowered by access to medical and mental health treatment, pre-natal care and parenting classes, individual therapy and group counseling, intensive recovery support, job readiness training, day care and transportation assistance, health and wellness education, financial literacy and computer classes, social services support and housing assistance,to afford her an opportunity to discover who she is when she is not in crisis and build a safe, secure and better way of life for herself and her children. The enrichment activities at Lotus House, like art, yoga, aerobics, creative writing, book club, dance, body talk, music concerts, walking club, field trips and more, offer alternative pathways to healing and build long lasting shared community at Lotus House, both for those who live with us and the many volunteers who make these offerings possible. Lotus House offers a sacred space for each woman and child in need to blossom into who they are truly meant to be. In the end, what makes Lotus House special are the women and children whose paths cross our threshold and enrich the lives of all they touch with love, compassion, greater understanding,and enlightened consciousness. May it always rest on the firm ground of emptiness!