When you’re a kid, riding a merry-go-round, going round and round in circles, is fun. But when your whole life becomes one long ride on that merry-go-round, it’s not so fun.
One year ago, I was 29 years old, with three children, and I had never had a permanent, full-time job or lived on my own. I had my first child when I was just 14, then two more in my early 20s. Despite my young age, I was a good mother. I don’t do drugs, I don’t drink, and I don’t party. But outside of raising my kids, I never learned how to live life outside of the control of my family.
Over the past 16 years, I lived with my mom, my auntie, my sister, my boyfriend, my biological father — round and round, living with whoever would take me and my kids, whoever would take responsibility for my life so I didn’t have to.
But last year, I took a hard look at my life. Me and my kids were sleeping on my sister’s floor. Worse, the constant moving took a toll on my kids — they’re behind in their education and reading skills. It was clear that nothing would ever change unless I changed. But if I left, I’d be homeless. I was scared. Yet I had no choice. I had to get off the merry-go-round.
So I found myself a temporary position as an office assistant, to start earning some money, then I moved to Union Rescue Mission’s Hope Gardens Family Center. Not only did Hope Gardens provide us with shelter and safety, they provided tutors for my kids. They offered me classes that taught me about relationships, gave me better financial skills, and even skills to make me a better mother. They’ve given me everything I needed to live life on my own.
A couple of months ago, my temporary job turned into a permanent one. My next goal is to find us a new place to live. And after that, I plan to attend college to earn my business degree!
Thanks to Hope Gardens, and caring people like you who support Union Rscue Mission, I’m escaping the merry-go-round. Thank you!
No One Deserves to Be Thrown Away
Notes from Andy
The face of homelessness is changing. It’s no longer just the single male, struggling with addiction. Today it includes mothers with kids.
Nationwide, family homelessness is up 13% since 2007 — and is still climbing. More than 3 million parents and children are on the verge of homelessness.
Every week, more families run out of options. They fall all the way to Skid Row. Now, so many are coming to Union Rescue Mission, we’re struggling to find room for them all.
Why are we a society that seems willing to throw our families and children away so easily? We must learn to care again, to make sure no precious human being is thrown away to the streets.
Rev. Andy Bales