Following the death of her beloved mother and having her son survive a stabbing that left him permanently blind in one eye, Jennifer found herself homeless at 40 years old, and suffering from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). She became agoraphobic — afraid of stepping outside– and afraid of even letting her daughter walk to school by herself. Jennifer and her young daughter resorted to wandering the streets of Sacramento, sleeping in her car, using hotel vouchers and camping in parks.
“When you have a mental illness, you don’t know how to ask for help,” says Jennifer.
But hearing about Saint John’s caused her to muster up the courage and the wherewithal to do just that. For the first time in her adult life, Jennifer was expected to be sober. “It was very scary at first. I was scared of changing my old ways – the ways that were comfortable for me. Coming to Saint John’s means real change. It means looking at yourself in the mirror and facing your fears. It means saying ‘I have to do some real soul searching,’ not just for me but for my daughter as well.”
Today, Jennifer works at an apartment complex in Sacramento, helping people move into their own homes. She credits the computer classes at Saint John’s for helping her hone her technology skills to land her first job in years. To the women who are entering the red doors of Saint John’s, Jennifer’s advice is to stay, don’t be afraid of change, and stay encouraged. “They gave me courage,” adds Jennifer. “Saint John’s gave me strength.”
Blog by Guest Writer Robin Epley, robinepley.strikingly.com
Saint John’s Program for Real Change Volunteer