At the YWCA, we aim to give opportunity and agency to the women who find shelter here.
All testimonials are anonymous and are permitted to be shared:
“I think about the LONG journey I’ve embarked on over the past six years. Circumstances beyond my control left me sleeping on icy doorways and finding blessed places like the [Lighthouse Mission] to get me temporarily out of the cold. I slept on so many couches that I would wake up taking a full three minutes just to look about, get my bearings, and figure out where in the world I was.
I was fortunate enough to have someone give me their late father’s old car, so I at least had a roof over my head and a bit more warmth. I volunteered for a couple of churches, teaching Sunday school and, through those connections, I got warm socks, a sleeping bag, and a multitude of other gifts, not to mention a circle of loving, supportive, people who cared.
Now, I’m not complaining about my struggles. Struggle and strife come before success, even in the dictionary. All of the people I met, all the experiences I had, shaped me and bolstered my understanding and empathy (not sympathy) of and with others. It has shown me the kindness and strength that exist within the human spirit. It has shown me that often times those that have the least give the most.
What my story is leading to is the gift of my salvation through the YWCA. When I was finally afforded the opportunity to live within the comforting shelter of the Y, I felt like I was in heaven and it gave me great hope. I have a bed to stretch my legs out on, a window to open and close, facilities to utilize, a kitchen to cook in, and a fellowship of women to confide in and find strength with.
Now, I have my own room in a safe place where my feet can actually begin to become planted on the ground. It has allowed me to begin to work at, for now, short-term jobs — but that is leagues beyond what I was able to practically do without a home.
I know this is a temporary living situation. However, it is giving me the foundation to establish a more stable, permanent situation for myself. The YWCA has absolutely improved my life and opened up a plurality of possibilities for myself and others. Most of all, it has given me faith, optimism, and hope for the future.”
“In June of ’18 I was the victim of [sexual assault] . I couldn’t stay in my hometown because my attacker was capable of finding me. I couldn’t tell anyone in my family except my daughter. I felt it was easier to sleep in my car than to stay and fear for me and my family’s safety. I stayed at my son’s until it started to affect his housing; that was the beginning of trying to find safe places to sleep.
I spent several sleepless nights being afraid. One of those nights a sheriff came to where I was sleeping – it was behind a place where SWAT practiced. This officer told me about the YWCA and how they help women like me. I went the next day. That was in July, and by August I was in a room at the YWCA around many women that were going through the same things as myself.
For the first time in months I felt safe. I slept for twelve hours straight the first night. As I got to know everyone, the staff was there for me as if I was family, and as time went on that’s what I felt – like I had a family’s support. I went from nothing to now knowing I want to work with homeless women. I have watched how hard [the] staff works to find housing for the elderly who have slipped through cracks that need special care, both mentally and physically, and people who couldn’t be responsible for themselves anymore. The YWCA has taken these women and found them housing that fit their individual needs. I have such respect for each and every one of the staff. I was asked to fill out an exit survey about my time there, and it was so much more than their survey. Yes, I used the [Back to Work] Boutique and all the programs, but in my situation the YWCA was the stepping stone to housing, my moral support, and my family. To each of you, I thank you. There is no way I could have done it without you.”