Barbara Roth has been told on numerous occasions, “You don’t look like you belong here.” She becomes tearful as she explains, “People who say that… don’t know my story.”
Barbara moved to Western North Carolina in 2007 and, shortly after her arrival, she experienced domestic violence that “forever changed [her] life.” The abuse imposed on Barbara’s life took away her freedom and financial stability, resulting in medical issues, hospitalization, and homelessness. Unable to survive independently, Barbara humbly reached out to area community resources and faith congregations. Barbara describes this period in her life as a time of hardship and spiritual growth; she believes that the resources and people who came to her aid served as angels for her.
Now, almost 13 years later, Barbara resides in the Vanderbilt Apartments, a housing development in downtown Asheville that offers government subsidized low-income housing to seniors and those with disabilities. Barbara has made the choice to give back to the community that saved her life. She currently spends her time assisting fellow residents with housekeeping, cleaning, laundry, and companionship through the Senior Companion Program. The Senior Companion Program is a federally funded volunteer program sponsored locally by the Land of Sky Regional Council. Active in community programs and engaged with the Services Coordinator from the Council on Aging, Barbara contributes to the well being of her neighbors at the Vanderbilt and Battery Park housing complexes. Barbara concluded by saying, “I want to help others like I was helped.”
By: Vance Goodman, Services Coordinator at Vanderbilt Apartments