In the wake of the holiday season, and in the midst of challenging times, Lena’s story is a real reminder about what a difference it makes to be surrounded by kindness.
Lena* and her four-year-old son live in House of Ruth’s supportive housing for mothers and children recovering from domestic violence. She says her first visit to House of Ruth just “felt so right.” She loved her apartment and remembers everyone was so welcoming.
Lena says House of Ruth is with her 100%. She does not have much family behind her, and family trauma has made past holidays hard. She doesn’t remember the last time someone gave her a Christmas present, but this year, she said House of Ruth made her feel like part of their family during the holidays. Lena said the festive food at Thanksgiving, the presents at Christmas, and the kindness surrounding her really “made my heart warm.”
Lena has goals and is committed to achieving them. She is working and saving money, making plans to move into her own apartment when the time is right. Next month she will receive her GED, and will enter the management program at her place of employment after obtaining her diploma. This accomplishment was realized while she managed working and caring for her young son. Lena’s son is in pre-kindergarten, and she coordinates overseeing his virtual learning, brings him to his paternal grandmother’s house in the afternoons, works, and manages to complete her own coursework. The pandemic brought changes to her work schedule — her hours have become less regular, and that has decreased the time she is able to spend with her son. This has made Lena very intentional about their time together, and she makes sure they have a chance to play and just have fun.
Lena is also prioritizing her mental health. She is going to counseling at House of Ruth’s Domestic Violence Support Center, and she also relies on our housing staff for caring support. Lena says thanks to House of Ruth, she “always has someone to talk to,” which is a big change in her life. If she is feeling overwhelmed with all that she has to manage, she can talk to staff without judgement, and count on encouraging words. She knows her case manager will always tell her, “you’ve got this!”
Our staff has had the privilege of watching Lena grow in self-awareness and confidence as she recognizes her own strength and finds her way to independence. We are honored to support Lena and her son on their journey.
*Name has been changed.