JoAnn and her three children were living in a homeless shelter for nearly two years before she came to Restored Hope, as she tried to escape a life filled with abuse, trauma, and chaos.
JoAnn was raised by parents who were both addicts. She experimented with drugs as a teenager and struggled on and off with addiction for 30 years. The biggest struggle in her life was the relationships she chose. The father of her oldest child was violent and very controlling. JoAnn stayed with him because she thought that’s what love was – she didn’t know any differently. When she became pregnant with her second child, she wanted to leave the relationship, but he wouldn’t let her. Eventually, JoAnn was able to leave him with the help of family, but the next five to ten years were aimless and spent in her addiction.
In her early 30s, JoAnn reconnected with her high school sweetheart. While that sounds romantic, it didn’t turn out that way. He seemed like Prince Charming…until they got married. After the wedding, JoAnn’s husband started drinking, became abusive, and gradually became more and more violent. Shortly after she had the courage to leave him, JoAnn’s husband ran her over with his car, in front of her children. “Luckily, I had no broken bones, only tire-tread bruises up the right side of my body,” JoAnn said.
Over the next year, JoAnn and her children moved from place to place, living with friends and family. While living with one of those friends, JoAnn felt like she was finally making progress in her life. Her boys were in school and in Cub Scouts, and their lives had a sense of normalcy. But then there was a house fire, which left the family with no place to live. They were truly homeless.
After going to a shelter, JoAnn qualified for assistance to obtain an apartment, but couldn’t keep up with the rent. She and the kids ended up being evicted, and eventually found themselves back at the shelter.
Since coming to Restored Hope, JoAnn was able to secure a job, and has maintained full-time employment (for the first time in eight years)! She’s saving 30% of her income, as required by the program, and says it’s exciting to see that balance grow each week. Her children love it here. She says her boys are doing exceptionally well in school, and her daughter loves playing with “a whole troupe of three-year-olds here.” The rules of Restored Hope allow JoAnn to set healthy boundaries in her relationships, ones she hopes to carry forward with her, after she graduates. JoAnn also enjoys the life skills, cooking and Bible study classes she takes at Restored Hope, as they give her time to connect and share with the other moms in the program.
“Restored Hope has given me the chance to build my confidence and prove to myself that I have what it takes to support my family. I’ve had time to heal from hurts and traumas, and see myself as able to make good decisions for myself and my family,” JoAnn says.
Stories like JoAnn’s are not uncommon. Many moms at Restored Hope have similar experiences, and feel the same gratitude for an opportunity to succeed.
Will you please consider making a gift to Restored Hope, so we can continue to support JoAnn and her children, and others like them? Your donation brings stability to the lives of women and children, while providing the counseling and skills they need in order to break their own cycle of poverty. Please click HERE to give.
On behalf of JoAnn, her two sons, and three-year-old daughter, Erin, thank you for improving the lives of single moms and kids in our community.
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