Sandra Jackson honored as the 2020 John Thompson Jr. Legacy Award recipient

Sandra Jackson, the Executive Director of the House of Ruth, was awarded the John Thompson Jr. Legacy of a Dream Award during the 2020 Let Freedom Ring Celebration at the Kennedy Center on Martin Luther King Day.

The Award celebrates emerging local leaders who reinforce the university’s commitment to engagement within Washington, D.C., and identifies talent among the city’s most inspirational community leaders who are working to solve key issues that are responsible for shaping the city and the people who live in it.

The event featured award-winning singer Chaka Khan, the cast of Stirring the Waters Across America, and the Let Freedom Ring Choir featuring Georgetown students, faculty, staff and members of the Washington community. At the event, a video was shown presenting the works of Sandra Jackson and the House of Ruth. Numerous prominent figures including our very own, Darryl Christmon, showed their appreciation for Jackson’s work. As the crowd stood and applauded Jackson for her work dealing with issues of domestic violence and abuse, it was evident that Jackson truly deserved this award.

“I’m thrilled that this award will put the spotlight on the amazing work we do at House of Ruth on behalf of women, children and families,” says Jackson, a native Washingtonian. “I love working at House of Ruth because I do get to help people every day. “Domestic violence crosses all lines, and it is always something that happens to someone else – until it happens to you.”

The House of Ruth

The House of Ruth helps around 1000 women and children suffering from abuse every year. Created in 1970 with the help of Victoria Maz, a Georgetown sociology professor, the House of Ruth provides aid for women and children recover from the trauma of domestic violence. The organization is helps these families recover, heal, and learn various ways of living independently after experiencing such trauma.

According to the DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence, “there is a direct correlation between housing and domestic violence, in fact, domestic violence is a leading cause of homelessness both locally and nationally and DC has one of the highest homeless rates in the country.”

The House of Ruth offers a variety of services: supportive housing for families and single women in crisis, developmental day care for homeless children, and free counseling services to any victim of domestic violence. There are 14 Houses of Ruth in Washington, DC, seven for women and children and seven for single women, including a mix of transitional, crisis and permanent housing. The organization also has a child care center and a therapy center.

Serving the Underserved

Sandra Jackson’s work in the House of Ruth has brought tremendous strides for the organization. The organization has increased its service to women and children by 31% under her leadership. Jackson increased staff training, and created additional support groups and networks of agencies within DC. Jackson’s vision is to begin a donor-funded developmental child care center in Pennsylvania Avenue Ward 7 in 2020. The center, called Kidspace, will serve women, children and families who are survivors of homelessness and domestic violence.

“Through her transformational leadership at House of Ruth, Ms. Jackson has made a difference in the lives of thousands of families impacted by domestic violence in our city, connecting them with the housing, counseling, childcare and support they need to rebuild,” says Georgetown President John J. DeGioia. “We are deeply grateful for the opportunity to recognize her dedicated service and her far-reaching impact with this award.”

Jackson holds a master’s degree in social work from Howard University and has more than two decades of experience in social services management in the DC area, including work with the Child and Family Services Agency and Catholic Charities of Washington, DC. Georgetown University is proud to have Sandra Jackson as the recipient of the 2020 John Thompson Jr. Award.

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