I had came back into El Paso from Chicago. I was bouncing from friend to friend's house and I even slept in my car pregnant with my three girls ages 9,6, and 4. I first heard about the YWCA TLC from my sister who had been a participant at the shelter before. When I first applied one obstacle was in my way, an outstanding warrant that I was not aware of. I was informed of the warrant by the staff at the YWCA TLC. I first procrastinated in getting it resolved but knowing that the warrant was keeping me from getting into the program I decided to go to the sheriff department. After going throught that process I returned to the YWCA TLC to update my information and my application. I was then accepted into the program. I have been a participant in the program since May 2010. I have participated in the Life Skills classes, attend case management, and parenting classes, consumer credit counseling session. Day care as been provided to me as well as a participant in the program. My children participate in the YZones activities, girls scout, and tutoring that is available at the YWCA TLC. Since being here at the YWCA TLC I have found that I am more motivated and a clearer mind in regards what I want to do with my life.
I was left totally alone after my one contact and source of living here in El Paso passed away. A friend referred me to the TLC and I was warmly welcomed and sent on a wonderful healing journey. My case worker has helped me to overcome a deep depression and has helped me to feel that even at age 75 there are goals to keep. My English skills have improved greatly and I now feel strong and independent enough to be on my own. I am terribly greatful to all of the staff at the TLC for their wonderful support.
As part of my stay here at TLC my boys and I have found friendship, tranquility, and security. My boys are doing great in school and I have been able to feel that we are all accomplishing our goals. In 6 months that I have been here, I have been able to attend school, improve my English with ESL classes and look for work without feeling so stressed. My new found friends have helped me to see what's out in the community and my boys have someone to play with.
After having lived in Juarez, one of the most violent cities in Mexico, I was fortunate enough to come to El Paso and be accepted into the Transitional Living Center. My children and I lived without the basic necessities. Here, the children are able to go to school, and experience such enriching things as going to the zoo. The children learned about how beautiful a celebration like Christmas can be. I am very grateful to the TLC because without them I would've had to work and forget about going to school. With daycare and basic living taken care of I can dream big and think about such things as a degree in business administration.
After struggling for over a year in the El Paso area, after having left a violent family situation in Garden City, KA, to the point of having to live in my van with my three children, I was able to get approved for the TLC program and improve our life. Not only am I grateful to the YWCA Transitional Living Center for providing my children and me with food and shelter, I am also grateful for their help in allowing me and my children to have a safe and happy environment, attend school and make a better life.
After 10 years of domestic violence, my 3 children and I were able to move to the Transitional Living Center and begin a new life. I will be forever grateful to my case manager for helping me to organize my life, set goals, and move toward independence. I was very depressed, not really thinking about what to do with my life and she helped me to focus. To date, I have improved my English skills tremendously. I now have my GED and am making plans to continue my education. Teresa helped me to learn the real meaning of two very important words: determination and attitude and this is what has helped to keep me fighting towards a better life.
TLC GIVE ME A OPPORTUNITY FOR MY DEVELOPMENT IN EACH ASPECT OF MY LIFE, SUPPORTING ME AND MY SONS WITH A PLACE WHERE LIVING IN HARMONY.
Not what I expected as transitional housing. I am a bit hesitant to reveal all the details of my previous life. I will say that I was living in Atlanta, GA. I had a secure career with at a staffing agency with vacation, annual/sick leave, 401K and I lived within walking distance. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, I found myself 9 months pregnant with 3 children at home and not knowing where our next meal was coming from or where we would sleep once when the next month came. I could not return to work after FMLA leave because I had no one to care for my children. I could not afford to pay full-time daycare fees for 3 small children. Forced to quit my job, the future looked very dark and gloomy. I felt isolated. Like no one in the entire world could possibly understand what I was going through. A friend suggested I move to El Paso, TX where there are better social services available. So I conjured up the nerves to chuck it all and just pack me and my 4 kids in the mini-van and hit the highway. Here I must mention that I believe that I invoked this change in my life one Sunday morning while watching a minister on t.v. He was talking about "abundant living" and how we can never imagine all that God has in store for us. So I asked God to come into my life and reveal to me His purpose for my life because if what that minister was saying was true, I wanted to have access to the abundance. I arrived in El Paso in March 2008. I-10 goes right through the city. So I stopped at a pay phone outside a grocery store and began to call the Salvation Army.(brought the number with me) I met a stranger (angel)who seeing me and the kids and our van overstuffed knew we were in a desperate situation. Approached me inside the grocery store to give my kids ice cream that she had bought. She and her mother and sister invited us to stay with them until we could get a bed at the Salvation Army. They gave us a private room with a bed for each of us with access to showers and 3 meals today. I was so grateful. Yet I knew that I had to hit the ground running. I contacted the Opportunity Center for the Homeless. The veteran representative referred me to the YWCA Transitional Living Center. After I called and scheduled an interview, he escorted me to the location one day and made the request in person. A few days later I got a call from them to come in for the initial interview. I applied for an apartment or a family room. Then about 4 days after the interview I got a call to come and bring my belongings with me. Totally elated but a little hesitant because I did not know what I was walking into; I prayed and went to look at our new home. When I arrived the staff was so courteous and professional, almost as if they were happy I was there. After completing intake and initial orientation, they escorted me to an apartment that was so beautiful and fully furnished to my eyes I thought it was just a model. As I began to ask if my apartment would have any furnishings and household items, the caseworker said, "this is your apartment"! From that moment I dedicated myself to my goals. I endeavored to complete my AAS, Business Management and become a teacher. With the support of my caseworker and counselor in 2 weeks, I was able to go to work in a call center making $8.00 an hour. My oldest son never missed a day of school in the transition and my little ones were accepted immediately at the YWCA day care center for the homeless (Mi Casa). I worked all summer diligently to save money for my return to school. It was not easy. I had a mini-van but only the front passenger side door opened, no air and only one window would open. I sacrificed for my education and many times I had to refresh my promises to my children that our lives would not always be that way, that it was just the interim and the means to an end, and I really impressed upon them the blessing of this place existing. My son made some lifelong friendships there. I was busy going to school full-time and working part-time(30-35 hours a week). One day I realized that I was missing the best days of my kids' lives. I hesitantly approached the new TLC director with my idea to take some time off from work and continue school full-time, and he said, "I can't think of a better time than now for you to take a break, you're always running and you are taking good care of your children." You can imagine my shock! Then I spoke with my employer who said I could make it effective immediately and they would leave me eligible for rehire. They did and I did return briefly. Finally my last 2 semesters of college arrived. After 1/2 years of homelessness I just began to feel overwhelmed and wonder if I would actually be able to secure a job; with only an Associates degree, that will provide enough income to support me and 4 children. I cried out and God's favor rained down like never before. My caseworker called me into her office one day and explained to me a new government grant program, HPRP,(homeless prevention and rapid re-housing program) that would assist with rent for the first year. Of course, my immediate and greatest reservation was my unemployment and possible underemployment after graduation. So I started applying for the jobs I really wanted. To my surprise, the very first federal job I applied to interviewed me immediately and made the job offer practically on the spot. Since it was a federal job, I had to wait for confirmation from the department. Finally it came in February 2010 right after I moved to my new apartment. Monetary need was increasing; so I returned to the full-time job in the call center. I only had to stay for 2 months before I started to work with the Department of Homeland Security. What did the YWCA/TLC do for me and my family? EMPOWERMENT that I can pass on to my daughter. The invaluable lifeskills and compassion for one another that were embedded in me will be passed on from generation to generation. "The Task Before me is NEVER Greater than The Power Behind me"