Our average client is 34 years old and has two children, 47% of whom arrive at our doors suffering from depression and anxiety as a result of their homelessness. Many of these children have been raised in an environment rife with drugs, alcohol and domestic violence, and have endured uninhabitable living conditions, with no awareness that this is not normal, nor acceptable. At Saint John’s, we know that treating our children is equally if not more important than providing all of our wrap-around services to their moms. We work with the children in a safe, developmentally appropriate, stable environment to address children’s social, emotional, physical, logistical and educational needs.
Shawntee P. arrived at Saint John’s in 2016 with three of her four sons – all were broken and traumatized from a lifetime of couch-surfing, addiction and domestic violence. The boys had grown up listening to and witnessing their mother’s screaming as she was repeatedly abused.
“We were all a mess when we arrived at Saint John’s,” comments Shawntee. “There was no positivity. We were broken and traumatized.”
Throughout the course of their year-long stay at Saint John’s, the boys were provided with the stability, the counseling and the support they so desperately needed! Jenhi, who eventually joined his mother and three brothers at Saint John’s, graduated from high school and is now studying kinesiology at Sacramento City College; Malik, a sophomore in high school, is making good choices in school and is dedicated to football and basketball; Nehemiah, a freshman in high school, also plays basketball, and Robert, the youngest, is a leader in his middle school’s student government, is involved in their “No Bullying/Red Ribbon” initiative, and serves as a mentor to new students. And Shawntee, now working part time for Acrobat and attending school, will complete her associate’s degree in Substance Use and Disorder Counseling this spring, and plans to help others like her affect Real Change in their lives. The family is now living together in their own apartment.
“Saint John’s opened so many doors to me and my boys,” adds Shawntee. “We are now all confident and stable. I can’t imagine how we would have survived if it were not for Saint John’s.”