• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

'Secret Millionaire' season finale helps Venice non-profit

April 10, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Sunday's season finale of "Secret Millionaire" brought Ali Brown, a successful local entrepreneur, together with those struggling on the streets just blocks from her home.

The show pulled its surprise visit almost a year ago. When Brown volunteered to help the struggling mothers living at Venice's Harvest Home, it didn't take long for the millionaire to realize she could make a difference in their lives.

Brown gave Harvest Home $50,000.

"I mean, I was completely blown away," said Harvest Home Director Jennifer Jenson. "It's kept our doors open. Really that's how substantial the gift has been for us."

Inside the large house, homeless pregnant women are welcomed into a warm, supportive environment and given the tools they need to change their lives. There's room for eight women and their infants.

"We really have a variety of backgrounds," said Jenson."Women who've been abused and there's no one else for them to go to, that's why they call us."

"Pretty much it's like a family," said Harvest Home resident Alisha Chaney. "A small family. We all have chores. We all have our little things to do, and we have dinner every night at 6 o'clock."

"This was the first time that I had a baby," said former Harvest Home resident Monica Youngblood. "And to be around other women see what they're going through, to have that kind of feel of community, it helped me a lot."

Youngblood's life has completely turned around. She gave birth to her baby at Harvest Home but is now living in a dorm at Cal State University Northridge. She'll graduate next month with a degree in psychology.

Some of Brown's donation has being used for education. Resident Helen Baker is studying for her GED with a tutor who visits a couple times a week. Baker gave birth to her daughter Harmony three months ago, the youngest of her seven children.

"Probably by July or August I should be finished here," said Baker. "And on to another housing that will help me and my kids to be reunified and have a job."

A portion of money will also replace old refrigerators with broken shelves with a brand new model. Youngblood was forced to do a lot of walking when her car broke down.

"From the daycare to my school," said Youngblood. "From my school to the daycare back home. I was walking about 3 or 4 miles a day and it was really tough."

Harvest Home used some of Brown's money to surprise her with a special gift. They surprised her with a car.

"I just started crying," said Youngblood. "Because I felt at that moment God had heard my prayers. It's such a new beginning to start your life over and I feel like for me this program really meant that my life's changing again. My life's starting again."

Load Comments