Before and After

4/15/2023 – Welcoming Event – Marin County

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Home 1 is Esme’s; she was referred to us by Homeward Bound of Marin. She and her sixteen-year-old son lived in several shelters over the years before finding transitional housing and then finally moving into permanent housing. It is a relief for them to feel safe and have a place to call home. Esme came to the United States from Guatemala. Soon after, her husband left her and her son, who was one year old at the time. Esme was recently employed at a grocery store and had to take a leave of absence due to illness but plans to return soon. She aims to finish her GED, attend college, and obtain her nursing degree. We have no doubt she will! Her son enjoys school and plans to become an engineer. You’d agree that’s an excellent choice after seeing the detailed and intricate Lego structures he has built! He also likes exercise and nutrition, and until he outgrew his bike, he rode to school. Both mother and son have expressed much gratitude for your help in giving them a real home.

Olivia and her teenage sons are in Home 2 and were referred to us by North Marin Community Services. During our initial visit we learned that they had endured many years of violent domestic abuse. Actually sitting opposite her, listening to how she risked her life and the lives of her children to escape the situation is very sobering. For the three years they have been here, they have been living with her sister in her small apartment, but as the boys got bigger and needed more space, the situation became quite fraught and they were eventually asked to leave and find their own place. Their relief at finding this small apartment is immense. This journey has understandably left the boys very traumatized. We commonly ask families what colors they like, but on asking Olivia if she would like the vibrant colors of her country, the tears started rolling down her cheeks and sadly she said no. She wants no reminders of what they have left behind. This is a fresh start. She is working as a cook in a restaurant and has regular hours. She actually feels a sense of peace now; she’s not scared anymore and she’s amazed and truly thankful that our community would come together and help to create a safe and comfortable home for her family.

Precious lives in Home 3 and was referred to us by Homeward Bound of Marin. Originally from Michigan, Precious moved to the Bay Area decades ago with her parents and three sisters. Tragically, she was the victim of sexual abuse. After graduating from high school, she gave birth to her first child at the age of 18. Over the next 10 years she would go on to have six more children: three boys and three girls. She fell on to difficult times in her late 20’s and had to give up her children to relatives and foster care. Then she set her mind on regaining her life and became a Certified Nurse’s Assistant, finding employment in a Sacramento hospital, where she worked for four years. Now, at age 59, Precious has nine grandchildren. Finding herself homeless for a brief period at the end of Covid, she discovered Homeward Bound, a shelter and permanent housing program in Novato. There, she earned a certificate in culinary arts. Now, as she settles into a one-bedroom apartment, she hopes to find a job as a caregiver – which she has done before, putting her new culinary skills to good use, while enjoying her grandchildren and her new life. As she muses, “Everything’s a journey, and I have learned that everything in life is a test.”

Mercedez’s (Home 4) story is, unfortunately in our experience, a familiar one: a single mom with four kids doing her best to provide for them in a safe and loving home. With a Dad now gone and unable to provide full support, two teenagers at 17 and 13 plus a 10- and 7-year-old, Mercedez has her hands full. The family of five lives in a three bedroom apartment, but two rooms have been rented out because Mercedez can’t afford the unbelievably high rent without doing so. Both she and her young son have asthma, making things that much more challenging for this family. But family is at the heart of everything for them. Mom hopes to get a collage-style picture frame(s) to put her cherished family photos on display. They are all super excited about finally getting some help to make life at home just a bit easier in these trying times.


Apr 15 2023


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