Shelton-based nonprofit plans home for single mothers in Derby

Ruth's House Founder and President Jeanne Korman readies silent auction prizes for Monday's Ruth's House Charity Golf Classic fundraiser at her home in Shelton, Conn., on Thursday, May 5, 2022.

Ruth's House Founder and President Jeanne Korman readies silent auction prizes for Monday's Ruth's House Charity Golf Classic fundraiser at her home in Shelton, Conn., on Thursday, May 5, 2022.

Brian A. Pounds / Hearst Connecticut Media

DERBY — Jeanne Korman live in Shelton, but she is looking to buy a house in Derby. The house isn’t for her, but rather for people in circumstances that she herself has experienced.

Korman is the founder and president of Ruth’s House, a nonprofit organization that will assist single mothers facing difficult situations and give them a leg up in leading independent and successful lives, she said.

She’s intimately familiar with their struggles, having once been a single mother herself, and having known other women in the same situation.

“Close to three years ago, I had a single mom come to live at my house with her two-year-old,” Korman said. “They lived with me for 10 months. And through that process of being able to help her we were able to understand more what we needed to do to be able to help other women.”

Then, Korman said, three single mothers crossed her path. All were in danger of losing their homes.

“And it just hit me, I could get a house for them,” Korman said.

Now her nonprofit is raising funds to buy a home that will give mothers a place of refuge and a chance to grow, guided she said, by Christian teachings.

As of now, the nonprofit has raised half of the nearly $500,000 needed to buy the house. Kormann said an upcoming golf charity event on May 9 will help the organization raise more money for a planned June purchase date.

“The golf tournament was completely sold out. We’ve just had so many people wanting to be a part of it,” she said.

Ruth’s House was founded in 2019 according to Toni Pensiero, a member of the board of directors. Pensiero said the nonprofit had been looking at a Derby property for a year and recently came up with half of the funds needed to purchase it.

“That $250,000 was really what we needed to secure this home in Derby that we’ve had our eyes on for about a year,” Pensiero said. “We’ve been in communication with the homeowners for quite a while, because it appears to be a very good home for our needs.”

Ruth’s House, once it actually has a house, will offer a variety of services to single moms, including help getting out of abusive relationships and making ends meet, among others.

The house will offer counseling, classes and an opportunity to connect religiously, although the religious aspect of the charity will be optional, Korman said.

“In my own personal experience, if I didn’t have Jesus in my life, then I wouldn’t have made it through,” she said. God ... has healed me, in so many ways, physically, emotionally. And I know that he’ll do that for others.

The main goal, Korman said, was to give women a safe place to escape abuse.

But the home won’t do all the work she said, and mothers are expected to show initiative in seeing through their goals.

“We are not looking to enable anybody, they have to be really willing to commit to the program and do the work and do what they need to because they’re the ones that ultimately have to do it, so that they can go out and live independent lives,” she said.

And though the house will be a private and secure location for the women’s safety, Korman said she doesn’t want it to feel like a shelter.

“I want it to be a home with community with relationships and a whole lot of love,” she said.