A teenaged orphan in Kenya, Marion met an American woman who promised her a chance to attend college in the United States. Rather than being flown to a college campus, she was dropped in a brothel in Mexico where she was forced to work. After ten months, she escaped. She stayed in a Mexican shelter for a few months but while there she was raped by a shelter worker and became pregnant. She was forced to leave the shelter due to her pregnancy. She underwent an arduous trek into the United States, having her baby along the way; and was then raped again. By the time she got to Homestretch, she had become accustomed to the brutality of men.
Over the next two years, Marion blossomed. She learned English, got her T visa, went to school to attain a medical assistant certificate, followed by a nursing assistant certificate, and finally a degree as a registered nurse. She did all of this while working full time at a variety of jobs and complying with all of the demands of our rigorous program. She took advantage of a gym membership through our program and became much stronger physically, which she would need to be a nurse. With her two beautiful children, she is now a proud American citizen.
Anna delivered the thank you card one night after our Life Skills classes. Due to graduate from Homestretch, she wanted to express what being in Homestretch had meant to her and to her son. On one side of the thank you card she had drawn a scroll, and hand-written inside the scroll were these words:
“Dear Homestretch: Honestly, I don’t know how to express my feelings because there are no words to match my gratitude, however much like Shakespeare I might write. Above all else, you’ve shaped my attitude, nurturing me with discipline and light. I will always remember the hard work that you did for me and my son. How you do it, we don’t know, but from the bottom of my heart, thank you for being simply the best.
Love, Baby Miguel and Anna.”
When Anna came to Homestretch, she had no high school diploma, the only work she could find was an occasional housecleaning job, and she had a 3 month old son. She started studying for her GED, which she earned within a few months. Soon after she was pursuing an associate’s degree at NOVA, thanks to a scholarship we helped her find. She also worked full time, earning only $7 an hour at first but eventually going up to $15 an hour. She worked closely with our Credit Counselor to restore her credit, and by the time she was ready to graduate, she had saved almost $10,000.
Margaret was referred to Homestretch by Children’s Hospital when the nurses discovered that she and her two daughters had been sleeping in their car. She was at the hospital because her oldest daughter had developed cancer and she was in serious condition. Soon after the diagnosis of cancer, Margaret’s husband (and the father of the two girls) abandoned the family, and Margaret was left to make it on her own, working at various part time jobs. But even with four part time jobs, she just couldn’t pay all the bills and they became homeless; this occurred at the same time as her daughter’s admission to the hospital.
At Homestretch, Margaret worked hard to develop skills, attending business and college classes and landing a good full time job. Her younger daughter, with tutoring, saw her grade scores rise, and her older daughter’s cancer went into remission. Both girls flourished, even learning to play guitar and violin. Margaret not only paid off all her debts, but she saved and within two years of graduating from Homestretch, she was able to become a first time homebuyer.