Aravind kumar KWUD 69y84 unsplash

Imagine eight little eyes looking at you as you pack all your worldly belongings into a U-Haul. Four little voices asking, “Mama, where are we going? Where will we sleep tonight?” And you not being able to give an answer, because you don’t know.

Imagine being turned down from job after job, even a cashier at a grocery, because you’re overqualified, and you wanting to scream, “Please just give me a chance! I have hungry children to feed.”

Imagine living in a shelter with many other families, no rooms of your own, no one but you willing to clean the disgusting bathroom – for months and months on end, with no hope in sight for a way out.

You don’t really know what the phrase “rock bottom” means until you hit it.

I used to work at a great job, until the company moved away. I didn’t want to move so I got a severance package and thought I’d find a new job. God knows I tried; but one thing after another cascaded upon me. I’d get a job interview, but one of the kids would get sick. One child developed asthma, another diabetes. I’d get more job interviews but would get no offers. I lost our health care. I discovered my youngest son, Steven, has autism. Soon we lost our home. It was like a slowly creeping nightmare coming true.

All the while, trying to be strong and positive, with eight little eyes watching you, sensing your fear, trying not to let your fear turn to panic.

Finally, the shelter referred us to Homestretch. That was the happiest day of my life! Once we got it, I swore to do everything Homestretch would ask me to do; I can’t go back. And I did work hard.

Dania got Steven 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. And my other children are also doing so much better than before.

As for me, everything started to turn around. With Soneli’s help, I finally found the right job, one where I am valued, where I’m earning a good income and where I can move up the ladder. I plan to get my PMP certification there and become a Business Analyst.

I will finish my degree in Business Administration at NOVA in September.

Thanks to Heather, my credit score went from 462 to 610. With her help, I plan to become a home owner within the next two years.

Through all this hard work, Homestretch took care of us, telling me that if I focus on changing the course of my life, my children will be taken care of – and was that ever true! Homestretch was the family we needed.

I remember the feeling of wanting to give up. I remember the fear and the panic. But now, my kids say to me, “Mom, you’re so smart.” Yes, I am. I know that now. I have learned to overcome incredible obstacles.

They say, “When writing the story of your life, don’t let anyone else hold the pen.” I hold the pen to my story, and it’s got a happy ending.