This place saved my life - Annette
“When I came to Elena’s House I was living in an overwhelming situation. I needed a place of peace. This place saved my life. I felt safe. It was a home away from home where I was surrounded by love in a community of friends I came to depend on.
Things happened here that changed my life. I didn’t know how to accept things from others. I didn’t think I deserved things. I met people who were in situations that were similar to what I had been in and now I was in a position to help them. It was God’s way of showing me I could make a difference.
I had never experienced anything like this in my life. I saw the strength in people who overcome so many illnesses and trials. There were great volunteers that I met who entered my life. Mr. Phil was one of them, he made the best meals ever”.
AIDS will change your world - Jim
“AIDS will change your world. I know. It has changed mine in so many ways. It isn’t just the physical challenges and insults of a serious and progressive disease. Then there are the “side effects” – the medicinal ones [which, trust me, you’d rather not hear about] but also the side effects that arise when your doctor says: “I think you should apply for disability”.
Sure, I was unable to work, anxious, frightened and horribly depressed - but “disabled”? I had always liked believing I was self-sufficient. Admitting I was disabled meant I would have to look to others for help. That’s what brought me to Elena’s House.
This nondescript ranch-style home in Wauwatosa exists because of the hard work and compassion, the tears and dreams, the generosity and determination of countless volunteers, residents, friends and supporters. This community of caring is what created Elena’s House – and what keeps it going. I feel I can speak for the many who have lived at the house when I say:
I'm now a changed man & I take my meds everyday - Brandon
“Well, it’s so, so hard to put in a paragraph the things from Elena’s House that has made me the man I am today. I was so deeply sick and needed a warm kind and friendly place where there's people on board just like me.
I was a little scared at first but after just a few days it became so easy. Mary Ellen took me under her wing as if I was her son that really broke the ice for me.
The bad thing was taking that DAMN MEDICINE.... That in itself was such a challenge for me, but after fussing with Mary Ellen, her staying on me telling me that I could do this made a world of difference. I went from 22 t-cells to 200 in about 2 months. I couldn’t have done any of this without my wonderful medical team Dr. Ian Gilson and my amazing nurse Mary Busalacchi OMG the best nurse in HIV medicine on this side of heaven.
I'm now a changed man I take my meds everyday. Being at the house really gave me another chance at life. The laughs and the tears at Elena’s House was all worth the struggle of trying to get better, although tomorrow isn't and never will be promised.”
Elena’s House was a Blessing In disguise for me - Ronnie
“Elena’s House was the home I always dreamed of living in. There was unity in the environment and peace of mind knowing there was a Spiritual essence to reflect on.
This new found housing prepared me for the world out side of its fortress. I became more confident in my actions and I paid close attention to my appearance. I was finally able to eat healthy meals, and arose usually with smiles and good mornings from residents.
All activities are planned for the welfare of each soul with experiences you wouldn't probably consider otherwise. Our outings were planned in advance which taught us how to work with others. It also helped us to get more acquainted with each other through same experiences, so it felt like family which many of us didn't really have. One of the focal points was no one treated anybody as though they had the Plague, every person is a loving soul. With all the positives, and a Super Director we were able to become Assets to society. Staying at Elena’s House was a Blessing In disguise for me, as you see I had no self worth and feared I was doomed for life. This environment made me feel wanted all over again. And SAFE.”
Elena’s House became my home away from my home - Charles
“Coming to Elena’s House I was able to work on and reach all my goals set by myself. I learned the importance of what a non-traditional family is. I was taught by others suffering from HIV/AIDS the way to overcome sadness and depressed feelings by sharing my needs as well as my wants with others.
Being a part of a community knowing that I was not the only one with HIV/AIDS concerns was great support to me. Elena’s House staff helped me to work through my hurt and pain of family. Elena’s House became my home away from my home. Everyone opened up their heart to me without judging me. I can honestly say and admit that my experience at Elena’s House has been a positive road upward. Now I teach the importance of sharing new ideas and that thinking positive produces betterment in my spirit.
Overall, if I did not have Elena’s House to be a supportive system and home to come to, I would be on the street begging for help and lost.”
Elena's House Tour - BRIX
On Friday, April 14, 2017, the BRIX website redesign team from Waukesha County Technical College met with Mary Ellen Huwiler to provide her with a progress report regarding our redesign of the Elena’s House website. During our meeting, Mary Ellen took us on a tour of the facility. As a team, we were very impressed. It has five bedrooms, living room, kitchen and a small dining room. The basement area is quite large and fully furnished. It is used by residents for all sorts of activities, i.e., arts and crafts work, game room, etc. From outside the house, it doesn’t look very big, but inside, it’s very spacious. Also during our meeting, Mary Ellen introduced us to a number of residents, who appeared to be very grateful to live there. Over all, we found Elena’s house to be a very warm, peaceful and special place in which to live.
As team, we enjoyed being of service to Elena's House.