Joyce, a Boardman, Ohio native, had to travel across the country and back before she found her way to Beatitude House. Following her abusive husband to Washington, she was soon ensnared in a cycle of violence, abuse, and despair. With four small children, she felt trapped and helpless against her husband’s tyranny, losing hope every day.
With the last of her courage, Joyce decided to leave her husband and return to the Youngstown, Ohio area where her parents resided. Her oldest, Candace, was only six years old, but Joyce was forced to rely on her for help along the way as she tried her best to look after a five-year-old, a two-year-old, and a ten-month-old. A nearly 62 hour bus ride, spanning 2200 miles, brought her back across the country to her roots and a support system she prayed could get her out of this rut. But after returning to the area, Joyce found her family unable to take her and her four children in.
With $180 to her name, no place to stay, and only the clothes her family wore across country, Joyce was left unsure and depressed. She lost custody of her four children as her family was torn apart by the instability and stress of homelessness. Children’s Services stepped in at this time, pointing her toward Beatitude House. After counseling sessions, parenting classes, and extensive goal-setting as part of the transitional housing program, Joyce slowly overcame the obstacles blocking her path to success. As part of her newly formed education plan, she enrolled in classes at Eastern Gateway Community College and began working for Beatitude House Green Clean. With the support and stability Beatitude House brought to her life and the continual encouragement of Joy Peterson, her Children’s Services case manager, Joyce was able to regain custody of her children and reunite her family once again.
Joyce and her children worked through many struggles while in the transitional housing program, and eventually their hard work and dedication transfromed their home, allowing them to live as a healthy happy family. She continues to work for Beatitude House Green Clean and attend college on a full time basis; she graduated from Beatitude House's transitional housing program and has moved her family into their own home where they continue to thrive and move forward with bright futures ahead.
Nicole, mother of three, was running out of days in an emergency shelter for domestic violence with nowhere to go. Then one of the other residents told her about the transitional housing program at Beatitude House. She applied.
“We were going to be homeless again. I would not let that happen to my children.”
Not fully realizing what would be expected of her in the program, she moved in when an apartment opened up. She and her children felt safe and secure for the first time in a long time.
She could never have imagined then that as she set goals, learned management skills and received counseling that she would be going back to school. She completed the LPN program at Choffin Career Center. “It is hard work,” she says, but she is doing well. She and her children have their own house and she looks forward to the day she will work toward becoming a registered nurse.
As she looks back on the challenges and joys of her two years in the housing program, the enrichment programs she could enjoy with her children stand out in her memory. Concerts, programs at the Chevy Center, their participation in the Beatitude House choir and so many other outings that Nicole could not have provided on her own were good experiences for the kids, she said.
“Beatitude House is a very good place, but you have to be willing to help yourself. Then you can be and do anything you want if you are willing to work for it,” she said.
From homelessness to permanent housing and the first step to a nursing career, Nicole is a shining example of the success that comes with courage and great effort.
When I first came to Beatitude House, I had a one-year-old boy and I was expecting my second son. I was living in a roach-infested apartment, barely able to afford the bills. The landlord had turned off the electricity and had taken my refrigerator from my apartment when I wasn't home. I had not been talking to my mother at the time. I had been getting beaten by my ex-boyfriend and had no one else to turn to. I moved into Beatitude House. I got started at YSU, and it gave me a new outlook on life.
Beatitude House gave me the chance for a new beginning away from all of the hurt and pain and struggling. She gave me the chance to be myself, and accept myself and try to better myself for my children and myself.
Beatitude House program is truly a blessing to me. The program offered a safe place for my child and me to live. I didn't have to settle for living in an unsafe housing complex. I could continue attending college. I was able to address painful situations that had affected my life as a child. Beatitude was a safe haven for my daughter and me. I thank God that He blessed me to meet Sister Margaret and become a part of the Beattitude House program.
Before this program, I wasn't sure how I was going to make it. I received everything from food, personal hygiene items, clothing, Christmas gifts for the children and household items. The emotional support was the greatest. They were there. All these women changed my life. Today, I hold a full-time job with a major health insurance company. I completed a full-time comprehensive office training course, in which I maintained an “A” average throughout the program. I have now obtained my property and casualty license in insurance and have also become a notary for the State of Ohio. Not bad for a single mother with cancer, no self-esteem, and limited education.
Thanks to the Beatitude House Program, I have made it!