CaDori Marshall is the founder of CaDori Helping Hands, a non-profit charity to help people in need. She had to live in a temporary shelter and knows firsthand the struggle of depending on good-hearted people.
This Q&A is part of the Plaid Doing Good Series. A new series in which we are focusing on highlighting women doing good in our communities. Because we know women doing good improves the lives of other women and future women leaders.
Q: You are the eldest of 13 siblings. Tell us a bit about that:
A: Almost, almost as soon as I can remember, probably age six or seven I was helping to raise kids. A lot of my younger siblings look at me as a mother figure. My older brother and I were like parent figures and oftentimes left to help raise the kids.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your name. I understand it’s not your given name, how did you get this nickname?
A: I wanted to have something different than everybody else has. There’s a thousand Cathy’s, my name is Cathy and it’s spelled with a C. I combined my name with my mother’s name, which is Doris and then my son.
I lost my oldest son to a motorcycle accident in 2010. We called him Dougie so I just kind of combined the three names and came up with CaDori.
Q: Your run a nonprofit organization CaDori Helping Hands. What’s your mission and how did you even get inspired to start something like this?
A: I was once homeless years ago before I became a registered nurse. I wanted to start it to help people in need.
I started in July 2017 and the first project I did was, I provided some backpacks filled with school supplies to some local children who lived in a shelter. From there I went on to do some other things, like help out people in hurricane Harvey as well as a lot of single moms. I’ve provided personal care items, diapers and things on a continuous basis.
Q: I can imagine being homeless is so scary and then you lived in a shelter. Can you tell us a little bit more about that? How did you come into that circumstance and how did you lift yourself out?
A: I always tell people anyone can possibly be homeless depending on a certain set of circumstances that happen back to back. At that time, I had not become a nurse, it was over 25 years ago and my finances had plummeted.
I was just working like basic jobs, like secretary jobs and I lost the job, got behind on my bills and I didn’t really have a lot of family support so just kind of got behind. And once you get behind, it’s really hard to catch up if you lose a job. So, I ended up getting evicted because I didn’t have the money to pay the room.
I had a couple of friends who live far away from my children’s school, so I couldn’t really stay with them because I didn’t have the transportation to get back and forth. So, I ended up having to go and stay at a shelter. We went there for about a week, but it was long enough for me to see the difference, you know, how you’re treated versus having your own place and stuff.
They were nice to us, but that particular shelter, every day you have to leave by 10:00 AM and you can’t come back until five. I understand a lot of them work like that. I don’t know why, because it’s like your just kind of roaming around libraries or wherever you can go because you don’t have anything.
My mission is to open up a shelter that has a lot of resources so people can actually get back on their feet rather than just go right back out. Between the children one week and then staying with friends and other people like that, I didn’t have my own place for probably about three months until I got back on my feet.
I know what that feels like to not have things, you have to pretty much rely on people for everything to survive. And then a year or two after that is when I went to nursing school and became a nurse.
Q: Share with us about your book.
A: The book is “Women Put Yourselves First and Be Happier.” I wrote the book to encourage women to take care of themselves first. Our entire lives we are caregivers and at some point, we can be put out and not take care of ourselves. If you don’t put yourself first, no one else will,” as I did for many years.
In recent years, I started taking a ME day once a month. I take time to go to the spa for myself, just for me.
I make sure when I go into department stores, I think about myself first because for years I didn’t want to buy myself anything. I felt like every time I went to shop, I had to for my kids or somebody else and I felt guilty if I bought myself something. So as soon as I go on the department store, I make sure I do something for me first.
I meditate every day, pouring into myself and then I take time every year, at least two times a year to try to do a get away with girlfriends. So, it’s purposeful. I make a purposeful effort to do things for myself before I start giving and giving myself to everybody else and now I’m happier. I’m able to actually give more freely because I’ve actually pulled into myself first.
Ladies you are hearing it here, “Put your oxygen mask on first so you can take care of others.” To take time for your self register for this year’s www.nomeangirls.com conference and to nominate others for Plaid Doing Good, email the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.