Meet our new Executive Director, Barfonce Baldwin

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Miriam

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I came from Morocco to join my husband in America, with our young son. But almost immediately, it became apparent that things were going badly. My husband cheated on me; and he was verbally abusive. He threatened to throw me and our son out onto the streets. It just got worse and worse, until I realized that I had to leave for our own safety.

We spent nine months in a shelter. I became very depressed. I did not speak English; I had no family or anyone I could count on. I felt very alone. I didn’t even know how to take a bus.

Finally, I was referred to Homestretch. And everything changed. I was able to get a job at a store, then eventually, with Homestretch’s help, at a CVS. Homestretch discovered that I had taken college courses in pharmacy school in Spain and asked me if I’d like to pursue becoming a pharmacist. I said yes, although I didn’t know how hard it would be or how long it would take.

I felt scared and sad and broken; but Homestretch saw me as someone capable of becoming a future pharmacist. Homestretch believed in me when I didn’t even believe in myself. And all along the way, they have helped me – with scholarships to take classes, to buy books – one cost over $900! Soneli helped me get my transcripts from Spain evaluated and translated. And they paid for all my exams. I got my pharmacy tech certificate, which Homestretch paid for. Slowly, surely, I have made progress toward becoming a licensed pharmacist. I have completed all my classes and my internship; and I am now studying for the final exam.

Homestretch helped me in so many ways. I had no credit when I came to America, and Heather taught me how to establish credit and how to manage my money. My credit is now well over 700. Homestretch also helped me with the right path for my son. After all the abuse from my husband, my son was doing really poorly. When Homestretch opened Kidstretch, their licensed preschool, they enrolled my son, and he flourished in Kidstretch. They diagnosed him with a mild case of autism and got him the care he needed. Knowing that he was happy and in good hands let me relax and study and concentrate on all that I had to accomplish. So many ways that they helped me – they provided me with a therapist to cope with all the violence and abuse I had gone through; they provided me with critical car repairs; they got me my own ESOL tutor.

If not for Homestretch, I doubt I’d be where I am today. Homestretch was my family when I had no family. Everything I know about how to succeed in life, I learned from Homestretch. You may come into Homestretch feeling lost and broken and damaged beyond repair. But that’s not what they see. They see you as someone with gifts and strengths and hope and capable of doing amazing things with your life. When someone else sees that in you, you begin to see it in yourself. Homestretch is a fountain of hope.

I look forward to the day – and I’m almost there – when, as a pharmacist, I can help others the way Homestretch helped me.