After the death of her mother, Natisha was overwhelmed with stress. She began experimenting with drugs and settled on meth to mask the pain. Over the course of her 10-year addiction, she lost her job and her apartment and was living in a tent by the river with two of her three children, Daeveon (8) and Jasmine (6) and their father. CPS eventually intervened and removed the two children from their custody, leading Natisha to Saint John’s, and her boyfriend to an outpatient rehab. After putting in the hard work necessary while at Saint John’s, Natisha was reunited with all three of her children, who joined her during her final months at Saint John’s.
“My older son, Trevonte, had been living with his abusive father since he was nine, when I became homeless,” reflects Natisha. “When he was 12, he escaped and hitchhiked – by himself! – to Sacramento to find me, and for a time, he stayed at the Winters Shelter for runaways. When CPS returned my two younger children to my custody, Trevonte was able to come too.
Saint John’s taught me how to be a mother again, and they provided me with the skills I needed to have a career.
“I was beyond grateful to Saint John’s – without them, I never would have been reunited with my children,” adds Natisha. “They taught me how to be a mother again, and they provided me with the skills I needed to have a career.”
Natisha now works in Environmental Services at UC Davis Medical Center. She loves her job, has recently remarried (to the father of her two younger children, who is now also sober), and together, the family has established a healthy, happy lifestyle.
By Sue Cawdrey, Grants & Communications Manager, Saint John’s Program for Real Change