Finding a Safe Haven: Sally’s Story

“I felt like a bad mom.” Sally* shared that after she left an abusive relationship and had to rely on family and friends for a place to stay. She and her boys would spend a month or more with a family member or friend until the living situation became to difficult, and they would ask her to leave.

After exhausting her options with the people she knew, Sally came to Opportunity House with her three young sons, ages 3, 1, and 4 months. “If it were not for Opportunity House, we would have been sleeping on the street,” said Sally. “It was difficult to come to the shelter and ask for help.” As a mom, she knew she needed to put the care of her family as her top priority. She was thankful to have a roof over her head, clothing, and diapers for the children, and food for the family.

Adjusting to Life at Opportunity House

Adjusting to life at the shelter was challenging for Sally and the boys. “I cried a lot when I first came here,” she admitted. Everything in their lives was in a state of upheaval. In the shelter’s family room, there were big changes for her and her sons. “It wasn’t easy for us,” she said.

Having to conform to the schedule at the shelter was especially challenging with three small children. Mealtimes and bedtimes were challenging as her toddler and infants were not accustomed to the new routines at Opportunity House. Sally’s boys felt isolated and confined in their small living space at the shelter. Things as basic as having to ask for diapers and wipes for her babies added stress to her already stressful situation. “I couldn’t provide for my children and that made me very depressed.”

Her Case Managers Were Here Support System

At Opportunity House, Sally received support and encouragement from her case managers. “Kim and Julia helped me take the steps I needed to change my life,” she added. “They were there for me. They didn’t give up on me.” As she moved forward, Sally experienced obstacles that she didn’t expect. “I found a job, but the hours didn’t work for me. The job required me to work weekends and I didn’t have daycare for my kids,” added Sally.

Sally’s case managers. Kim H. and Julia encouraged her to keep moving forward with her goals. She knew she needed a job to support her family. She needed childcare. She needed a place to live.

Her case manager helped her connect with a local facility that needed personal care assistants. Sally applied and was hired. She was able to enroll her sons in the Second Street Learning Center while she worked. At the learning center, the boys enjoyed interactive lessons and play time while the staff prepared them to be life-long learners. Sally was relieved that her children were safe and cared for while she began creating a new life for her family.

Each day, she walks from Opportunity House to West Reading, where she continues to work as a personal care assistant. “I feel like I was meant for this job. I know I make a difference in the lives of others,” noted Sally.  Her clients appreciate the personal attention and care she gives to them.

An Opportunity for a Bright Future

Sally has been able to save money and get an apartment for her and the boys. Living in her own apartment is like a dream come true. The budgeting skills she learned at the shelter helped her save money and find an apartment for her and her family. Today, they enjoy meals at their kitchen table. The boys have room to play and relax. Sally sees the changes in her boys. “They enjoy the flexibility of mealtimes, bath time, and playtime,” noted Sally. With months of hard work, determination, and the support of a team of people at Opportunity House, Sally is ready to take on this new chapter of her life. With a newfound confidence, she finally feels like she is the mom her kids deserve.

Donate to support families like Sadie’s so they have a place to call home.

*Name changed to protect confidentiality.


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