[box type="shadow"]My story starts off like most others. I was seventeen and still in high school. I did well in all my courses, had a stable home environment, had a supportive social group, and ultimately had goals for who and what I was going to be in life. That all changed when I had my first ‘relationship’. With nothing to compare it to, I thought that mental, emotional and physical abuse could be tolerated. When I was eighteen I became pregnant with my son, Nathaniel. I immediately wanted to protect my son so I went into isolation and endured my pregnancy completely alone. I became depressed and had lost myself up until the moment he was born. From that point everything had changed and I wanted to start a new life. I enrolled in a local, private college to study nursing. Nathaniel was only 5 months old. The pressure from a heavy course load, lack of social support, and the transition into being a new, young, single mother was too much for me to handle. I became ill and could not continue with my studies which then denied my eligibility for future funding through student aid. With the lack of financial stability to support me through school I sought employment. The moment I felt like I was saved again was when I found Alder Gardens. Tension was rising at home as well as lack of living space (I was living with my mom and sister in a small basement suite) so I jumped at the opportunity to send in an application and was thrilled when I was accepted.
The staff on-site would have to be the biggest perk to living at Alder Gardens. They have been genuinely supportive and understanding to what I, and the rest of the women, are going through. In addition to the YWCA staff, we are provided a safe, secure environment and have received generous donations from those who are truly there to help. I couldn’t be more grateful for the Cause We Care Christmas and Mother’s Day hampers. I received fresh produce, basic living essentials (toilet paper, soap, toothpaste, etc.), products for Nathaniel’s needs, and more. I can’t even begin to express the appreciation as during that time, for once, I didn’t have to worry about whether or not I had enough in my budget to purchase these necessities. I think it’s safe to say on behalf of the other women at Alder Gardens that these hampers were put to very good use and they made a huge difference – not just financially, but mentally and spiritually. It’s uplifting to have people who care and I can safely say that I finally feel like I am the strong, independent and determined woman I aspired to be. Thank you to everyone at Cause We Care Foundation.
As of right now, I am currently employed to save money for nursing education tuition, as this is one hope I could never give up on, and am looking for volunteer opportunities to put my time to good use.[/box]