Drugs and bad choices cost Claudia everything, including her children. Then, Hope Gardens Family Center gave her a second chance.
The memories haunt Claudia now. Memories of motherhood. Memories of five beautiful children — children who want little to do with her now. Her children are filled with resentment and anger, ever since all five were taken from Claudia because of her drug use and bad choices.
“It’s something I’ll have to live with the rest of my life,” says Claudia, now a guest at Hope Gardens. “The thing is, I understand how they feel. I grew up in a dysfunctional family. My mom hit me all the time. It was so bad, I was put in foster care when I was young. I wondered, why am I such a bad kid? Why can’t Mom love me? Why did God bring me into the world?”
Losing It All
Claudia was 18 when she had her first child. She moved in with the father and had three more kids with him before they separated 10 years later. But that’s when her trouble really started. “I started having relationships with men who weren’t good,” she says. “One tried to commit suicide in front of my daughter. After that, my ex got custody of all the kids. And when I lost them, that’s when I started using drugs. Crystal meth took all the pain and rejection away.”
Before long, Claudia could no longer afford a place to live. She had another child in 2004, but lost custody of her too.
Then she got pregnant one last time, in 2009, and gave birth to her son, Sebastian. But Claudia continued to struggle with drugs and bad choices. Sebastian ended up in foster care twice. But Claudia was determined to change this time. “I couldn’t lose Sebastian like I did the others,” she says. She got sober and in December 2014 she came to Hope Gardens, where Sebastian rejoined her a few weeks later.
Whatever It Takes
“When I came here, I was determined to do whatever it takes,” Claudia says. “I needed to find out who I was. I needed to learn how to love myself, and then love Sebastian.” She had a lot of support through it all.
Case managers at Hope Gardens helped field calls from Sebastian’s school when there were problems. Chaplains offered Claudia spiritual support when she struggled, and Sebastian’s school gave him the special attention he needed.
“Since I’ve been here, I’ve become a different person,” Claudia says. “I have a second chance to be a good mom. And thanks to Hope Gardens I am a good mom.”
Please share Claudia’s story with your friends today. It’s only through the generosity of friends like you that lives are transformed. Right now, we’re facing a $3.6 million shortfall but record numbers of women and children are facing homelessness. Give generously and DOUBLE your gift — up to $500,000 — by June 30.
How a Mother’s Love — And YOU — Saved Sebastian’s Life
Claudia is the first to admit that her 9-year-old son Sebastian has had a difficult young life. In and out of foster care because of Claudia’s drug use and bad choices, Sebastian was sad, angry, and hurt when he rejoined her at Hope Gardens in January 2015.
“I knew what he was going through, because I had been in foster care myself,” Claudia says.
“He was struggling behaviorally, at school and with me,” she adds. “When I tried to hold him, he would fight me, pinch me, and curse at me. At school, one moment he’d be fine. Then he could go from zero to 10 in a minute, angry, kicking in doors in a rage, or running away. Every day.”
Relief finally came in the spring of 2015, when Sebastian was diagnosed with ADHD and high-functioning autism. Through therapy, medications, the loving support he gets at Hope Gardens — and Claudia’s patience and love — Sebastian turned completely around, at home and at school.
“Now the teachers at his school just love him,” Claudia says. “He’s also started to trust me again, too. We’re so much more connected now, as mom and child.”
Today, Sebastian is doing so well at school they’re considering skipping him a grade. And he prays every day for God’s help.
“I love my mom,” Sebastian says. “I am glad that she’s here for me. Whenever I am down, she is always there to cheer me up.”
Thanks to a loving mother, Hope Gardens, and YOUR support, Sebastian has the chance to become the person God has called him to be.
Please share this video and remember to give now to DOUBLE your gift. You’ll help TWICE as many people as we face a $3.6 million shortfall. Thank you!
Thanks to Hope Gardens Family Center, Sebastian is getting the education and support he needs to grow into the amazing man God wants him to be.
The Family Program is designed to help single mothers gain the skills, support, and necessary resources to recover from past trauma — while planning for the future and preparing to maintain permanent housing. They receive the following support and services:
• On-site therapy
• Life-skills education
• Financial and job training
• Educational and social support
• Child care
• Three daily meals
• Access to medical and dental care
Giving is down but more people than ever need help!
$3.6 MILLION SHORTFALL —
DOUBLE YOUR GIFT THROUGH A MATCHING CHALLENGE
Thousands of precious men and women, and even families, are experiencing homelessness today. And we’re serving 55% more guests than last year but giving has declined. That’s why generous friends of Union Rescue Mission have offered to match every gift we receive — up to $500,000!
Every $1 you send will be DOUBLED immediately to provide twice as much help for hurting men and women. We’re facing a $3.6 million shortfall, so your gift, along with the match, is the miracle we need. This extraordinary opportunity is only available for a short time — the deadline is June 30!
Your most generous gift is critical to DOUBLE the help our hurting neighbors need.
Notes from Andy
They’re Thriving — Thanks to You!
I hope you’re encouraged by Claudia and Sebastian’s story, especially how they’re thriving at Hope Gardens. Claudia is such a loving mom today. It’s such a dream come true to see your child do so well.
Today, however, Los Angeles is exploding with single moms experiencing homelessness, just like Claudia. Some are struggling with drug abuse or mental health issues, but most are simply victims of financial stresses and skyrocketing rents they can no longer afford. Homelessness among single women is up 55% since 2013. And right now, 30% of the children experiencing homelessness are unsheltered!
The severe, devastating, long-term consequences for these kids are unimaginable — not only for them, for our entire city. We simply have to do more to take care of these women and children, right now!
Your help is critical as we face a $3.6 million shortfall. And refuse to turn a mother and her child away. But without your help, we won’t be able to meet the increasing need. Please give now and take advantage of a generous Matching Challenge to DOUBLE every dollar you give by June 30!
Union Rescue Mission continues to provide 24/7 comprehensive care to every family that comes through our doors. Thanks to your support, we’re doing everything possible to help moms and kids, like Claudia and Sebastian. Thanks to you, kids that otherwise would have no chance are thriving. And none of it would be possible apart from you. Thank you!