After years of uncertainty I experienced a glimmer of hope when, in the fall of 2008, my three children and I came to live at Good Shepherd Center’s Angel Guardian Home. I grew up in this area, came from a good home and many times passed Good Shepherd Center on my way to school. Admiring its beauty, I never suspected that it was a homeless shelter and never once expected that one day I would come to live here. I also never thought I would be a victim of domestic violence.
Violence was not something I was willing to tolerate, so in 1999, with three children to consider, I left my abuser. Although it wasn’t easy I managed to support us while earning a degree in healthcare management. But nine years later, after going on medical leave for depression and eventually losing my job due to widespread layoffs, I decided to reconcile with my children’s father once again. This time the abuse became more intense and fearful for my life and the safety of my children, we left once again. Without a job and means to support my family, I felt hopeless and depressed. I was reluctant to let friends know that we were homeless and so many nights we slept in our car. Parked in front of a “beautiful mansion” that I later learned was GSC’s Historic House, we felt safe.
Despite these challenging circumstances, my children continued to attend Our Lady of Loretto School and hid the fact that they were homeless. While visiting friends in the neighborhood, my oldest daughter Hazel, met Carolina, who was then a resident at Angel Guardian Home. It was through Carolina that I discovered the resources that were available for the homeless. I filled out an application and was accepted as a resident in the fall of 2008.
Our first Christmas at Good Shepherd Center was incredible! At an event called A Better Christmas, I stood wide-eyed with amazement. Sister Julia Mary asked me if I was OK and I fought back the tears as I answered “yes.” I was so incredibly thankful for the love and generosity that was being bestowed upon my children and me. It has continued throughout our stay here at GSC. The parenting classes, the events and workshops, the counseling and life coaching sessions are all part of the package called “Good Shepherd Center, serving with dignity and love.”
The support I received at Good Shepherd Center prepared me to seek employment once again and in 2009 I secured a job at an Imaging Center in Glendale. I was delighted to find work again in the medical field! However, one year later, while at work, I had a seizure and was again placed on medical leave. In 2011 I was diagnosed with a pituitary tumor and due to complications during surgery I was in a coma for a month. I am forever grateful to my sister and all of Good Shepherd Center for sheltering my children, both physically and emotionally, during this time.
It has been a difficult road but I have never given up. I know that I need to be strong for myself as well as for my children. During my time at Good Shepherd Center I have taken advantage of the many programs offered and have become stronger and more independent as a result.
In April 2012 I was able to return to work at the Imaging Center. My employer has been very supportive of me taking classes that enhance my career goals in nursing. My dream is to become a registered nurse (RN) but for now I am focusing on becoming a licensed vocational nurse (LVN). With the support of my Good Shepherd family, I know that I will be able to attain this goal and continue to improve my life and the lives of my three beautiful children.
I am grateful that my son now has a safe environment to live in and is enrolled in pre-K . He loves it here and loves the people.