Resident Stories

Future Full of Hope

 

Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know well the plans I have in mind for you,” says the LORD, “plans for your welfare, not for woe! Plans to give you a future full of hope.”

 

Evora, a single mother of three young girls, once wondered if she had a purpose. She asked God, “Why am I still living?” A car accident that left two of her daughters in the hospital was her wake up call. During her daughters’ miraculous recovery, Evora realized she had to “spend more time with God through God’s word, prayer and journaling” to regain her purpose. As a result, she pursued a strong calling to write. Evora faithfully wrote late into the evenings (after a full day of work and time with her children) until she had an entire book. The main character ran homes for women who needed help rediscovering their purpose. Amazed by her own foresight, Evora explained, “I was writing about transitional homes before I even knew they existed. I never imagined I would find myself living in one.”

 

Her daughters fully recovered and life continued as normal until Evora’s income could no longer keep up with living expenses of raising three girls alone. With a “step of faith,” she found herself on the front step of Catherine’s House. Confused by how familiar the building felt, Evora reviewed her journal and realized that she had seen Catherine’s House before in a dream. Her admission was an “overwhelming and humbling experience.” She explained, “My mother passed when I was 18, and my father isn’t close, so I have always taken pride in being able to provide for my children on my own. I learned quickly that if you are too prideful, you can miss blessings.”

One of her blessings at Catherine’s House was the meditation room, a quiet space for residents to be alone for prayer and reflection. Evora was committed to daily prayer and would wake as early as 4:30 AM to visit this room before her busy day of work, parenting, and program classes.  Three nights a week, Evora attended case management, a practical skills class or counseling group at Catherine’s House. Evora said, “I learned how to better communicate and be more considerate of others. The budgeting assistance was also helpful. My financial priorities had to change. I learned how to prioritize my expenses and the difference between a need and a want.”  Evora maintained full-time employment and contributed regularly to her savings account. Mid-stay, her aging car died. Catherine’s House gave her a donated car, preventing many potential setbacks including the depletion of her savings. Evora was able to save a total of $1,600! As a result, she and her three children moved from the bedroom they shared at Catherine’s House to a three bedroom home.

 

A Letter From Bev

Catherine’s House is not just a house; it was my home. I walked through the door after being discharged from a medical facility. I had been in an abuive marriage for 17 years. During that time, I was a financially secure stay-at-home mom until my divorce 14 years ago. I suffered from clinical and situational depression. I had no job, no money, no food and no place to live – other than my car.

At admission to Catherine’s House, I was given a beautiful room, access to bathroom and kitchen facilities, and food to prepare for myself. That took care of my basic immediate needs. Most importantly, I was given the emotional and educational support I needed to start my life anew. The opportunity to meet with a licensed social worker helped me to see how the choices I made affected my life and why I made those choices. Previously, abusive relationships destroyed my self-worth and my ability to make good decisions. The counseling sessions, case management and group sessions gave me the necessary tools to become independent. I learned that I am a strong, hard-working, and a compassionate person.

The most important practical skill I learned was time management and budgeting, specifically how to determine financial needs verses wants. Now, I am paying all of my own living expenses! I am also gainfully employed, and working with a former Catherine’s House resident who also successfully completed the program.

I will tell you one thing that you must know. There are women from all walks of life that pass through Catherine’s House. Some will take full advantage of the opportunities given to them. Others may not, but I guarantee that those who don’t will come back to the lessons they learned at Catherine’s House during some point in their lives.  Lastly, special thanks to those who have donated to Catherine’s House. Please know that you have touched someone’s life and helped to make it so much better.

Ruth Reunites with Faith and Family

 

This month resident Ruth moves into her own apartment and looks forward to reuniting with her children.  Ruth has much to celebrate now, but she didn’t always.  In the process of leaving an abusive husband and being hospitalized for severe depression, other living arrangements were made for her children.  Ruth, unemployed and homeless, found short-term solace in a new relationship that also turned violent.  After finding refuge at the Domestic Violence Shelter in Gastonia, she was referred to Catherine’s House.

 

With “tons of encouragement and love from the staff,” Ruth created a plan focused on emotional healing in addition to economic independence.  She attended individual and group therapy sessions, started a new job, opened a savings account and saved enough money to buy a car.  Ruth said, “I learned relationship skills, time management, and budgeting.  I was helped with transportation to doctor appointments and the expense of medication, but I also learned about myself.  I began to believe that I could make it on my own.  Most importantly, I was able to reconnect to my Christian faith which I previously gave up for my husband.”

 

Catherine’s House is giving Ruth donated furniture and house wares for her new apartment that has enough room to accommodate her children.  She said, “I can’t wait to have a real home where I can re-create my own personal Catherine’s House.  I want our home to be for my children what Catherine’s House is for me – a safe place where they will always be welcome.”  As for her next steps, Ruth says, “I want to get more involved with my church, participate in mission trips, and I want to raise my children to serve Christ.”  Ruth is already making plans to volunteer and visit regularly once she is settled in her new home.

 

Resident Returns to Inspire Others

 

Many residents of Catherine’s House  became homeless when an already fragile living situation was threatened by illness or the need for surgery. Former resident Dawn’s story is one example. Dawn’s job was going well, however, she needed to have a total knee replacement.  The recovery from this surgery was more challenging than anticipated, and Dawn could not work for 3 months.  During this time she lost her job and eventually her housing when she could not make rent.  Increasingly, she also became concerned she might not regain full mobility following surgery.

 

After living in an emergency shelter with her thirteen-year-old daughter for one month, Dawn was admitted to Catherine’s House. She said, “First, I was relieved to know my daughter would have a place to sleep. I could sleep in my car, but I didn’t want that for her. Second, I could focus on healing and recovering fully from my surgery.” It was not long after recovery that Dawn secured a management position with a large retail company. Dawn’s case manager at Catherine’s House assisted her in creating a realistic budget and savings plan focused on her next goal - housing. Within the next month Dawn and her daughter moved into their own apartment.

 

Recently, Dawn returned to Catherine’s House to inspire current residents and reinforce the importance of budgeting and savings. She gave a class for residents on how to use internet tools for both preparing and staying on their budget.  The class was especially meaningful since it was provided by a former resident. Dawn credits a large part of her success to being “frugal and conservative.” She took full advantage of the food and personal items that were donated to Catherine’s House and passed along to her and her daughter.  She could thus save her income to secure housing.

 

When asked what impacted her most about her stay, Dawn said, “Every employee and volunteer believed in us. They encouraged us. That was something I didn’t have from my family.” The staff and volunteers at Catherine’s House consider Dawn and her daughter a part of our family, and we know she will continue to inspire others with her story.

 

Former Resident CeCe Clark

 


Congratulations DeAndra!

Originally from a small farm town in North Carolina, DeAndra came to the Charlotte/Gastonia region in search of “personal and professional growth.”  She developed a strong interest in medical practices after taking care of her diabetic grandmother who eventually lost her sight.  She enrolled in a local college’s Medical Assistant Program while working several part-time jobs.  Even though DeAndra excelled academically, the struggle to find affordable housing made her “want to give up.” As a single mother with no family to help her, DeAndra turned to Catherine’s House.

She met with the Program Director at Catherine’s House and prepared a plan for gaining employment and securing housing.  She soon opened her first savings account to save money for rent and deposits.  DeAndra participated in spiritual counseling and was known to spend time in the meditation room. “Catherine’s House gave me peace and security. I actually had time to go to God. I talked to him and I listened. I started making steps and progressing.”

DeAndra graduated with honors in July, and is now working as a Medical Assistant.  DeAndra tears up when she describes hearing her daughter cheer as she crossed the stage at the graduation ceremony.  When asked about her experience at Catherine’s House, DeAndra says, “I wouldn’t trade it for anything other than my own place.  It has been a big blessing to me and forever will be in my heart.”  DeAndra and her daughter moved into their own place.  Congratulations DeAndra!

 

 
Catherine's House Inc. ~ P.O. Box 1633, Belmont, NC 28012 ~ Phone: 704 825 9599 ~ Fax: 704 825 2734 ~ Site By: EyeBenders