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December 15, 2009

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December 15, 2009

I had a very rough childhood. There were five of us, three girls and two boys, and my mother was a drug addict. After a lot of problems, including when I missed a lot of school to take care of my younger brothers and sisters, we stayed with my grandma for a while and she adopted two of us. But me and my sister anded up going into foster care when she was 15 and I was almost 16. We moved from foster home to foster home and things were often really bad, but eventually I graduated high school and was emancipated at age 18. I came back to LA to live with my cousin, but then I got pregnant with my baby. I had no job and no further education and I had no one to turn to. After the baby was born, my cousin kicked us out and for two months we started going to different places to stay at different relatives and friends, for a night or a few days at a time. I couldn't just think about me, I had to think first about my baby. Eventually I was sleeping on the floor at my boyfriend's mother's house and I thought this was no way for my baby to live. So I went down to a mission in Skid Row, because someone told me they could help you. When I went down there, it was scary. It was horrifying. I couldn't go in and take my baby into this place with all these homeless men hanging around. I fled back to a friend's house, but couldn't stay. So the next day I went back and this time they put us into a hotel shelter for a while. All during this time I was feeling worthless and depressed and I had really bad anxiety. I felt lost, like no one wanted to help. Then, they sent me to Beyond Shelter and I enrolled in their Housing First Program. I met my case worker who said right away that she would help me get a Section 8 and help me to find an apartment. I had never had an apartment of my own, but I always wanted to be independent. If I hadn't found Beyond Shelter, I don't know where I would be right now. I don't even know where my baby would be. Beyond Shelter gave me motivation. They called me, came to see me, always asked what my baby needed. They made me feel that they cared about me and that they would help me make my life better. If someone says they're going to help you but they don't put the effort out, it's another downfall. You say Damn, I'm failing again. But with my case manager being there for me, I seemed to have more get up and go. I moved in on February 7, 2008. It's a beautiful two-bedroom apartment, upstairs in a four-plex. I have a living room and dining room area, with a laundry room as well. I live in a really quiet neighborhood and safe environment for me and my daughter. My life has changed. Now that I have permanent housing, I feel more confident because I don't have to sit up at night and worry about where I'm going to sleep, what is my baby going to eat, does she have enough diapers, and whom can I depend on. I have a roof over me and my daughter's head, clothes on our backs, and food on the table. I've been able to work at different jobs over the past year. In the future, my dreams are to go to college and major in Interior Design and one day to have my own business. I want to send my daughter off to college as well, to pursue her dreams and goals.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

My case manager visiting me, helping me move into my apartment. Beyond Shelter helped me furnish it and got everything I needed for the bedroom, kitchen and living room.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

I am so thankful for everything, whether it was major or minor: $5 for the bus or a pack of diapers for the baby -- or just moral support. Everything counts.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Caring and motivating to me.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Help a lot more homeless mothers.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

December 14, 2009

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December 14, 2009

I drank and used for approximately eleven years. I made my life and the life of my loved ones a complete hell. I lost everything, my children were taken away, my man left me, I lost my home along with all of our belongings and my family disowned me. As a result of all this I wound up sleeping in the park and doing whatever was necessary to survive. Eventually, I admitted myself to a recovery home for women, where I resided for five and a half months. I moved then to a sober-living facility where I commenced to get my life back. I got a job at a home health care agency. I followed the court orders in every way. I worked the 12-step program and I began to pray. The courts awarded me my children back. I was then referred to Beyond Shelter where I was assigned a caring and magnificent case manager who counseled me, helped me manage my monies and assisted me in housing. Today I have four years and three months clean and sober. I have a permanent full time job working in the entertainment industry, making a sufficient salary. I have a newly-furnished two bedroom apartment, and a good relationship with my family. I'm also engaged to be married. I am very grateful for my life today.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Getting back my life today.

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The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Always caring about me and my family.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2000

December 14, 2009

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December 14, 2009

I was Beyond Shelter's first program director, working with Tanya to build the program in its first years of operation. I love the concept of moving families into their home as soon as possible - the idea was truly an innovation in its time, when few were focused on the needs of homeless families.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

ending homelessness for families with children.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the creativity and flexibility used in addressing the problems of homeless families.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

very professional.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

do a lot of good!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

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  1. Sending an email to clients, volunteers, donors, board members, and other partners with a link to your profile page.
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3 hours of volunteer time for this nonprofit will...

From November through December, volunteers are welcome to assist in organizing and preparing toys, clothing and other holiday gifts for families. In South Los Angeles, Beyond Shelter's two Neighborhood Resource Centers have many different volunteer tasks and needs that could accommodate short-term projects. Volunteer