A teenaged orphan in Kenya, Marion met an American woman who promised her a chance to attend college in the United States. Rather than being flown to a college campus, she was dropped in a brothel in Mexico where she was forced to work. After ten months, she escaped. She stayed in a Mexican shelter for a few months but while there she was raped by a shelter worker and became pregnant. She was forced to leave the shelter due to her pregnancy. She underwent an arduous trek into the United States, having her baby along the way; and was then raped again. By the time she got to Homestretch, she had become accustomed to the brutality of men.
Over the next two years, Marion blossomed. She learned English, got her T visa, went to school to attain a medical assistant certificate, followed by a nursing assistant certificate, and finally a degree as a registered nurse. She did all of this while working full time at a variety of jobs and complying with all of the demands of our rigorous program. She took advantage of a gym membership through our program and became much stronger physically, which she would need to be a nurse. With her two beautiful children, she is now a proud American citizen.
Anna delivered the thank you card one night after our Life Skills classes. Due to graduate from Homestretch, she wanted to express what being in Homestretch had meant to her and to her son. On one side of the thank you card she had drawn a scroll, and hand-written inside the scroll were these words:
“Dear Homestretch: Honestly, I don’t know how to express my feelings because there are no words to match my gratitude, however much like Shakespeare I might write. Above all else, you’ve shaped my attitude, nurturing me with discipline and light. I will always remember the hard work that you did for me and my son. How you do it, we don’t know, but from the bottom of my heart, thank you for being simply the best.
Love, Baby Miguel and Anna.”
When Anna came to Homestretch, she had no high school diploma, the only work she could find was an occasional housecleaning job, and she had a 3 month old son. She started studying for her GED, which she earned within a few months. Soon after she was pursuing an associate’s degree at NOVA, thanks to a scholarship we helped her find. She also worked full time, earning only $7 an hour at first but eventually going up to $15 an hour. She worked closely with our Credit Counselor to restore her credit, and by the time she was ready to graduate, she had saved almost $10,000.
Amy worked at a great job, until the company moved away. She thought she would find a new job. She tried; but one thing after another cascaded upon her. She would get a job interview, but one of the kids would get sick. One child developed asthma, another diabetes. She would get more job interviews but would get no offers. She lost her health care. And she discovered her youngest son, was autistic. Soon she lost her home.
Finally, the shelter referred her to Homestretch. Once she got into Homestretch Amy worked very hard.
Homestretch got Amy's son into an autism program, and he is doing so much better! Another daughter got an IEP and was finally provided the right kind of school for her needs.
As for Amy ,everything started to turn around. With the help of the Homestretch Employment Counselor, she finally found the right job, one where she is valued, where she is earning a good income and where she can move up the ladder.
Thanks to the Homestretch Credit Counselor, Amy's credit score went from 462 to 610.