St. Vincent de Paul Louisville’s newest Board Member Donna Russell has lived experience.
Russell was a single mother raising her two children, who were in high school at the time. She had her own housing challenges because of the pay cuts she took after her bank’s department phased out. In order to avoid eviction, Russell was able to get an apartment at the Beecher Terrace Housing Projects through Louisville Metro Housing Authority. After six months, LMHA approached her to move to scattered site housing, where she and her two children lived for the next nine years.
In 2006, Russell worked in the Jefferson County Child Support Division and saw clients who didn’t receive the resources that they needed.
She decided to return to school to become a social worker and graduated from the University of Louisville’s Kent School of Social Work with a Bachelor of Social Work in 2012 and a Master of Science in Social Work two years later. In 2015, she purchased her own home through the LMHA Family Self-Sufficiency Program.
“I didn’t have anyone to really help guide me,” Russell said. “I used a lot of the resources at the school that were very helpful at the time … I just kept moving forward. I can tell you it was not easy.”
Russell works as a Clinical Therapist at the Volunteers of America Freedom House, which is a long-term women’s recovery center for new mothers.
Russell a guest on SVDP’s Podcast
Russell is the latest guest on SVDP’s monthly podcast, “With Arms Wide Open.” Her episode will be released on April 15. To listen to Russell’s conversation with CEO Dave Calzi—or any of the previous podcast episodes—visit www.svdplou.org/podcast/. This podcast shares stories of people and programs in the Louisville community.