Families Together provides transitional housing for single mothers and their children who are experiencing homelessness due to domestic violence. The program offers a safe and stable living environment while they work to overcome the trauma that led to their homelessness and return to independent living. To shine a light on Domestic Violence Awareness Month, one single mother shares her story and struggles in her own words and how people like you made a difference in her life.

My name is Kim, and I am part of ACH’s Families Together Program. I have been a part of the program for 5 months now.

I would like to thank every volunteer, staff member, case manager, supervisor, support specialist, social worker and, last but not least, every donor who gives donations to our program. My family and I wouldn’t be where we are today without the help I have gotten from such wonderful people.

My story is probably unfortunately similar to others in the same situation. I had to grow up fast, in part due to the fact that I got married and had my first child by the age of 18. At first the marriage was good, to a degree, but quickly turned violent after I had my son. It went on for a couple of years, and then there was a silent period for about 10 years.

Over that time, I had 4 more beautiful children, and things were better. About a year and a half after my fifth child was born, the abuse started back up. I felt trapped and like I had nowhere to go, especially with as many children as I had.

I stayed and tried everything to work through it all for the next 6 years, but as everyone probably knows, you can’t change anyone who doesn’t want to change themselves.

I got beat down as low as a person could go. In November of last year, I had enough and had a nervous breakdown. I felt I didn’t want to go on.

Throughout those nine days at the JPS psychiatric ward, something happened, and I found myself again. I don’t know if it was because I put my life on hold and actually got a chance to think. All the fights, the yelling, the belittling, and the abuse were really affecting me and my children. I had to make a change.

The doctors were excellent at helping me find the right medication for my anxiety and depression. That was only the first step with what I had to deal with when I got back home.

As soon as I arrived back and was stronger, the abuse got worse. He stated that he thought the doctors were trying to make me numb, but that’s not how I felt. I felt ALIVE.

As the months passed, I grew even stronger. I worked harder and harder to try and find a way to get out of the situation. Luckily, God was on my side.

I had an interview with ACH on March 29, 2018, and my life changed forever. They sat there with me as I explained my story and my goals for the future. They told me I was accepted into the program and could move in the following week.

I was utterly shocked. All the years of waiting and praying for an out, it finally happened for me and my children. Two people changed my life that day: Ms. Olga and Ms. Belinda. I had hope, something I hadn’t had for over 6 years. I was free.

All I had to do was pick up the phone, and I immediately had 5 of my friends and my mother at my home helping me pack up everything we needed in just two hours. I could hardly think or move during the whole process because I didn’t know that many people loved me and the kids. I was overjoyed to say the least.

We moved into ACH the following day. I will never forget that day. From the moment I moved in, I realized things were going to be okay. A big sense of relief from being safe had overcome me, and I could finally relax and enjoy my kids without all the animosity.

At ACH, myself and the other families attend weekly group classes that focus on parenting skills and life lessons. They teach us how to not only teach our children how to recover from our situations but also ourselves as well. This aids in our children being happier, healthier, feeling safe and, as an overall family, closer. We’ve had yoga classes once a month and added our case manager into the mix.

I also attend weekly sessions with my therapist, which has helped me tremendously with maintaining a positive outlook.

Since being at ACH, I have accomplished a lot. I have gotten a new vehicle, saved money each month and maintained my 70-pound weight loss. I also graduated with honors from Ladder of Alliance’s six-month computer skills training course, earning a free desktop computer.

My immediate goals are to find an administrative position using my newly acquired computer skills either in the school system or the medical field.

My long-term goals and aspirations are to become a registered nurse and lactation consultant. I want to work in the maternity ward and be there for new mothers in that magical moment. To educate and help them with their nursing experience as soon as their baby is born is a dream of mine.

I am not saying it’s going to be easy as I have already had some bumps in the road. But I know even when you fall you can always get back up.