“I can’t believe I did this to myself, again.”
This was the thought of Torielle, a young, single mother just trying to get by while caring for her then preschool-aged daughter.
They had been in shelters before – ones that were dirty, unsafe places filled with ex-convicts, child abusers, and others that unsettled Torielle.
“We had to share a bathroom with men we didn’t know, and my daughter was only four at the time. It was very scary,” she said.
While not all shelters are like this, Torielle definitely did not want to raise her child in that kind of environment. Unfortunately, their alternative turned out to be yet another unclean and unsafe situation.
Right before coming to Home of Hope, the pair found themselves living in an overpriced, roach-infested hotel.
“It was all just devastating. Because I didn’t have savings, I wasn’t able to pay my rent, keep my car, or keep my child in her school. I just couldn’t help but feel like I failed,” she remarked.
But then, she moved into Home of Hope on Halloween night.
“When I got here, my room had a bed set for me and my daughter, toiletries, and even a Halloween costume for my baby,” she said. “It almost brought me to tears. I wasn’t as worried about where we were going to live as I was worried about her trick or treating – having normal, fun life experiences.
“When we came back that night after trick-or-treating, it was a relief.”
Other holidays were made more joyful because of Home of Hope, too.
“Our Christmas was so beautiful, and our Thanksgiving was so nice,” she remarked. “ I like that everything is always out of the box here. It’s almost like a surprise. ”
Torielle has a new future ahead as she’s working hard at a new job, learning how to manage her money, and saving for the future.
She wants to own a home and go back to school, but more than anything, Torielle wants to share those dreams with her daughter.
“I feel like many women get stuck in a mindset of, ‘I’m strong; I can handle it all. I don’t need anyone.’ They end up not asking for help,” she said. “ I want my daughter to grow up knowing that as long as she budgets, has savings, and keeps herself employed, she’ll be alright.”
Not only is this mom gaining greater financial security, but she has also regained a confidence in herself that is priceless.
“It’s nice when someone does something for you, but when you’re able to do it for yourself, you appreciate it more.”
Something Torielle loves about Home of Hope is her conversations with the staff.
“I got to know myself a little bit better, and I just feel like they listen. The Home of Hope staff don’t care what you did, they just care about your wellbeing and your children’s wellbeing.”
She also appreciates the secure location of the shelter keeping her from things that led to her difficulties before Home of Hope. She says, “This place is clean. It’s gated. It’s safe. You have to know about it to know about it.”
So what does Home of Hope mean to Torielle?
“Everything. It’s a roof over our head. It’s food.
“Before I came here, I was mad. I was sad. I was depressed. I was heavier. If it weren’t for Home of Hope, my daughter would probably have to live with her dad, and I’d probably have to leave the state, because I have no family here.
“This is a place that’s safe and supportive, that will help you get to work, get your children in school, and that actually cares about you and tries to build a relationship with you individually. Home of Hope means everything to me.”