Choosing Hope: Shamaine’s Story

Choosing Hope: Shamaine’s Story

STORIES OF CHANGE

Shamaine

Shamaine

Photograph and Article by Maggie Lynn

For many, family is an incredible blessing in times of struggle. When the family itself is in crisis, the comfort of home can quickly transform into a battlefield. For Shamaine, fighting that battle threatened  not just her stability, but also that of her four year old son.

The grandfather who raised her passed away and her grandmother was diagnosed with dementia soon after. Shamaine quit her job to help provide family care, and though she was surrounded by family, she found herself all alone. The burden of caregiving, combined with the damaging habits of those in her family, took a heavy toll on Shamaine and her son.

The final straw came when family members refused to care for her grandmother for a few hours so she could sign her son  up for pre-kindergarten.

“He’s been picked on the lottery,” she told them. “If I don’t go sign him up, they will give his seat away.”

No one showed up and her son lost his space in the Pre-K class.

“I couldn’t keep doing it,” she said. “I had to get my life in order for the sake of my child.”

With her family spiraling out of control, she moved out of her grandmother’s house and moved in with her brother. But her brother’s house was no place for a young child and Shamaine then reached out to a friend she describes as like a sister to her. She was living with her friend when she learned about Union Mission.

 

Shamaine At Work

When Shamaine called to learn more about Magdalene House, she learned  about  the Culinary Arts Program . She applied and was accepted into the eight-week program, which put her on track to obtaining real-world kitchen skills and  a Serv-Safe  certification. It also put  her  one step closer to her  dream of someday opening  her  own  restaurant.

“Union Mission gives individuals a chance to relive a dream again,” she said. “It’s given me the strength to know that everybody will overcome obstacles but it’s up to you – you have to push and take the initiative.”

Shamaine’s next goal is to find a job, after which she hopes to go back to school, get her GED, and study business management. At Union Mission, she learned the skills to take on the challenges she’s facing – skills that will help her win her fight against homelessness.

“I’m going to fight in a different way. I’m going to fight with success,” Shamaine said.

Shamaine’s next goal is to find a job, after which she hopes to go back to school, get her GED, and study business management. At Union Mission, she learned the skills to take on the challenges she’s facing – skills that will help her win her fight against homelessness.

“I’m going to fight in a different way. I’m going to fight with success,” Shamaine said.

STORIES OF CHANGE

A Place to Rebuild: Jennifer’s Story

A Place to Rebuild: Jennifer’s Story

STORIES OF CHANGE

Jennifer

Photograph by Maggie Lynn, Article by Andrea Six

Motherhood is a balancing act. Keeping everything going, even when things get rough, is just part of the job description. When Mom gets sick, it can be a real challenge for the family to keep that balance. When the illness is prolonged and Mom is sick for months, that balance can disappear completely, along with the family’s stability. That’s what happened to Jennifer and her two children. 

“Once I become ill, it takes about nine months for me to fully recover,” she explained.

She’d faced similar challenges in the past but this time was much worse. Despite her illness, she wanted to ensure her children had what they needed.

“Having children and being homeless is more overwhelming. It’s more stressful because, as a mother, you want to protect your kids. You want their feelings to be protected, you don’t want them to be so concerned about what’s going on. You don’t want them to try and mature too quickly,” Jennifer said.

She turned to her family for a helping hand but that only led to more instability and, eventually, Jennifer and her kids were back on the street. With her support system gone, Jennifer knew she needed more than just a shelter. Looking for real help to rebuild her life, she found Union Mission’s Magdalene House.

 

Living at the Magdalene House with other single mothers helped Jennifer provide her kids with some stability – a safe place to rest, recharge, and rebuild. It also showed her that change was possible. With Union Mission’s help, Jennifer has not just found a place to stay, but a program dedicated to providing her the help she needs to take those next steps.

“I think the most positive thing is that you have someone there working with you that’s able to obtain resources along with you. Right now I am working on getting a job. I’m actually working on three things: one is a job, the second is a place of my own, and also insurance for myself and my children,” Jennifer said.

Union Mission exists to help mothers just like Jennifer rebuild their lives and leave their homelessness behind. Your support means hope for a better tomorrow for homeless mothers and children. Thank you for sharing hope and help in our community!

STORIES OF CHANGE

STORIES OF CHANGE

Home Safe: Logan’s Story

Home Safe: Logan’s Story

Logan and her children

Photograph by Maggie Lynn

STORIES OF SUCCESS

Home Safe: Logan’s Story

Homelessness can happen for many different reasons. A victim of domestic violence, with no network of support, can quickly find she’s exchanged one perilous living situation for another. Bravely leaving behind an abusive relationship, Logan knows all too well that the best choice for a family can be the one that leads to a homeless shelter.

After finding help at Magdalene Project, she also knows that having support can make a big difference. The support she received from Union Mission gave her the tools to rebuild her life.

“Having grown up in foster care, I don’t have any family or anything like it,” Logan said. “So that was the reason I stayed so long … not having that support system.”

With no support and nowhere to turn, she knew she needed tools to leave homelessness behind and move her family into safe, stable housing.  Union Mission’s emergency shelter for women, Magdalene Project, gave her those tools.

“It was important because I needed time to get back on my feet,” Logan said. “Magdalene Project gave us a safe place to live where I could care for my children while I got back to work.”

Being homeless with children is a difficult situation but trying to overcome homelessness while parenting a child with special needs an be overwhelming. Logan has two children – a son who is 8 years old and a daughter who is 14 years old and has Autism Spectrum Disorder. Magdalene Project provided Logan with the ability to take of her children and meet their needs.

“It promotes family. It keeps women with their children,” Logan said.”I needed help – help I couldn’t get anywhere else – in order to be successful and to provide.”

Union Mission gave Logan the ability to keep her family together while she found work and a new home for them to call their own. Thanks to those who continue to support Union Mission, families like Logan’s will find the support they need to rebuild their lives.

Building a Brighter Future: Greg’s Story

Building a Brighter Future: Greg’s Story

Greg

Photograph by Maggie Lynn

STORIES OF SUCCESS

Building a Brighter Future: Greg’s Story

Working your way out of homelessness is not an easy task, and nearly impossible alone – especially when you’re also dealing with problems with the law and drug addiction. Too often, these challenges lead to a cycle of homelessness that can be hard to overcome. Thanks to your support, Greg was able to find a helping hand to break the cycle of homelessness and rebuild his life.

Greg was someone who found himself stuck in this loop of hopelessness, ending up in prison time after time with nowhere to go when he was released. Living in small town far from help, Greg couldn’t find the resources he needed to break this vicious cycle. Over 30 years of homelessness and addiction, Greg cycled from marijuana to cocaine and crack. Despite a strong aptitude for cooking, he was unable to find and keep a job without access to a strong support system.

“I thought once I quit doing drugs everything would be ok. But the drugs weren’t the root of the problem. The root of the problem was I didn’t know who I was, I didn’t care about who I was, and didn’t know who I was supposed to be,” Greg explained.

“I thought all missions were a place to eat and sleep, but no; the two I’ve dealt with, there’s so much more inside the mission,” Greg said. “If you get into the programs, they offer a way out, show a way out and then they walk you through.”

In the Culinary Arts Training Program, Greg developed his cooking skills and obtained a ServSafe Certification. This certification helps give him an edge in the competitive culinary field in Savannah, where Greg hopes to find steady employment.

“I like to cook and I’d like to stay in the mission.” Greg said. “I’d love to be able to go back to my hometown and work some type of mission. To start some type of mission to help the other people there, because there’s not much help there.”

 

 

With the help of Union Mission, Greg is ready to rebuild his life after 30 years of homelessness. He’s looking forward to giving back to the community that has given him his second chance. Thanks to those who give generously to Union Mission, the help Greg received is still available to others working to leave homelessness behind.

Help Create a Brighter Future at Union Mission

Your donation can help someone like Greg choose a life of hope and help them leave homelessness behind. Your gift today means a brighter future for those we serve, their families, and our whole community.

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Choosing Change: Stephanie’s Story

Choosing Change: Stephanie’s Story

Stephanie

Photograph by Maggie Lynn

STORIES OF SUCCESS

Choosing Change: Stephanie’s Story

Drugs. Disability. Domestic violence. Each is a cause of homelessness – all three together can lead to a life of hopelessness. Thanks to those who give generously to Union Mission, help was available when Stephanie was ready to choose change.

Stephanie had a major stroke at the age of 18, just three months after graduating high school. As she recovered, she struggled with the physical and emotional pain of her disability. Her violent marriage and many failed pregnancies only compounded her pain.

To ease her suffering, Stephanie began to use drugs. On the streets, her disability made her a target for assault and the injuries she suffered would lead her right back to using drugs to dull the pain. This vicious cycle consumed her life.

 

Stephanie can still recall when she hit the darkest part of her road. In and out of prison, in and out of violent relationships, struggling with drug addiction and a positive HIV diagnosis, she lay in the dark and said, “Lord, this life is not getting me nowhere.” The next day, a woman was found dead on her doorstep and Stephanie knew it was a sign that she had to get help and change her life for good.

She reached out to her mother who helped her find her first drug rehabilitation support. Once she finished her in-patient recovery, she was accepted as a resident at transitional housing in Union Mission’s Phoenix Project. This program for people living with HIV/AIDS provided

Stephanie with more than just shelter. Through Union Mission, she also received food, counseling, and HIV medication management. She credits this comprehensive support with giving her the strength to cope.

“They have really helped me by helping me to help myself,” Stephanie says.

With the support of Union Mission, Stephanie now has a life filled with hope. She is four years sober, married, and she and her husband have purchased their first home.

Stephanie and her husband

Your support ensures our life-changing programs continue to be available to help people like Stephanie as they rebuild their lives and change our community for the better.

Help Change Lives at Union Mission

Your donation can help someone just like Stephanie choose a life of hope and help them leave homelessness behind. Your gift today means a brighter future for those we serve, their families, and our whole community.

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A Family’s New Beginning: Khadijah’s Story

A Family’s New Beginning: Khadijah’s Story

Khadijah and her son

Photograph by Maggie Lynn

STORIES OF SUCCESS

A New Beginning: Khadijah’s Story

Trapped in a cycle of violence, it can be difficult to see a way to a brighter future. As a single mother with no family support, the road can be rocky enough to make you feel trapped. But Khadijah was willing to do whatever she needed to do to build a better life for her son. Thanks to your generosity, Khadijah found hope and a brighter future here at Union Mission.

Abandoned by her abusive mother at a young age, Khadijah’s childhood was violent and unstable. She was later diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and hospitalized twice for bouts of depression so intense she attempted suicide.

When her son, Marquise, was born, she knew he deserved more than a life of violence. She left the gang-filled Chicago neighborhood of her youth in hopes of saving her son’s life.

“I can’t have him grow up here,” she remembers thinking. “He’s not going to make it.”

A family friend invited her to Savannah with the promise of help for a better life. But her safe haven was only temporary and soon, Khadijah was on the street with her 3 year old son, leaving behind what they could not carry on their backs.

She walked from Middleground Road to Bull Street looking for shelter but was forced to spend the night on the streets. The next morning, she used a library computer to find somewhere she and her son could get the help they so desperately needed. She found Union Mission’s website and was inspired by the stories of success she saw there.

“I saw the story of a mother and her sons who had been successful,” Khadijah said. “I knew this was the place for me.”

Khadijah and her son came to Magdalene Project, Union Mission’s emergency shelter for women with children. With access to Union Mission’s unique wraparound services, she was able to find a job within two days of entering the shelter. Now she’s working, learning to save and to budget, so that she can build a better life for herself and her son. She is looking forward to a life of hope and independence thanks to the investments you’ve made in Union Mission’s programs.

 

Now she’s living in her own apartment and her life has changed thanks to the skills she was able to build at Union Mission. Those skills, she says, are as important to her future as the shelter has been.

“Right now, I’m working to save – save, so we don’t go back again.Even though everybody comes here for different reasons, Union Mission is able to help you. You show us how to get to where we want to be so we won’t need the support of anybody. “

With the help of Union Mission, Khadijah is building a future of hope and independence for her family. Your generous support of Union Mission today will ensure that the help Khadijah received is available to those still in need of a helping hand.

Help Bring Hope to the Holidays

Your donation can help someone just like Khadijah rebuild their lives and leave homelessness behind. Your gift today can change lives and bring hope to the holidays for someone looking to come in from the cold.

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