A ROUGH START TO LIFE
She had a rough start.
At 14, Jasmine witnessed the murder of her mother. Left traumatized, her early teen years were a blur of evictions, homelessness and fear.
Thanks to the power of a strong grandmother, Jasmine graduated high school determined to break the cycle of poverty and violence that bound her history. She put herself through college and graduated with a bright future.
However, like many with extensive childhood trauma, Jasmine married a successful but abusive man, whose cruel violence would leave her in tatters.
Her husband routinely beat, ridiculed and systematically disempowered Jasmine. All in front of her toddlers. Violence and homelessness are a tragic and all-too-common pairing. More than 92 percent of homeless mothers have experienced severe physical and/or sexual abuse in their lifetimes. One of four homeless women became homeless because of violence committed against her.
Jasmine eventually fled into homelessness rather than stay for another round of abuse. She and her young boys landed in the safety of the Center for Transforming Lives housing program.
Victimized, homeless women (like Jasmine) receive immediate aid to overcome crisis situations, a safe and private room, or home, and intensive case management. Women are provided with clothing, household items, job preparedness and support to set up new, successful lives in the community.
Today, Jasmine and her boys are safe and stable in a new home.Jasmine is providing for her family by working full-time while her youngest attends the Center’s Child Development Center.
Center for Transforming Lives
“I WISH I COULD GIVE THIS FEELING
Working two full-time jobs and attending college, it was probably just a matter of time before Derrick’s schedule got the better of him. “One night I was getting off work and I fell asleep behind the wheel,” he tells
us. “My car flipped over and I broke my neck in five places. I was in a coma and I was paralyzed for about three weeks.”
It was a miracle that Derrick survived… and that he was eventually able to walk again. But when he left the hospital, he had to move in
with his mother to complete his recovery. Unable to return to school or work, Derrick says, “I got extremely depressed, so I started getting high. I got into trouble and got locked up. While I was locked up, my mom died. They took the house and all my resources.”
With nowhere else to go, Derrick came to UGM-TC. “I had never been homeless before. This place gave me an opportunity to reconstruct myself and reestablish myself in society.”
Through UGM-TC, Derrick enrolled in the Goodwill Job Resource Centers and is taking classes to renew his commercial driver’s license. “That’ll put me back financially where I was,” he says.
However, Derrick has learned that money isn’t everything – and that just might be the second miracle of his life. “Before I came to UGM-TC,
I drove a Range Rover and had a four-bedroom house, but I was empty. I didn’t know God,” Derrick says. “Now I don’t have those things, but I’m spiritually full and I feel great! I wish I could give this feeling to everybody!”
Union Gospel Mission
“ARLINGTON LIFE SHELTER GAVE ME AN
OPPORTUNITY AND A CHANCE."
Carolyn has a bright and friendly personality. To meet her, you’d never know how much she’s been thorough. For 15 years she worked in the finance department for the state government. But her whole world changed when she was rear-ended by an 18- wheeler.
After the accident, she endured multiple surgeries and her doctors told her she would never be the same. She was suddenly disabled and out of work. Carolyn eventually lost her home and was forced to live out of her truck, moving from church parking lot to church parking lot trying to find a safe place to sleep. It was the darkest time of her life, and she didn’t see a ray of light until she learned about the Arlington Life Shelter.
Carolyn’s in pain most of the time, but she was determined to follow the Shelter’s program and find a new job. When she learned about an opening with UTA’s janitorial team, she jumped at the opportunity even though she was told her degree and experience made her overqualified. She said, “That doesn’t matter, I’m here to work.” The hiring manager called her the afternoon and asked her to start the next day. And although Carolyn’s leg swells up from problems caused by her accident and multiple back surgeries, and people would ask her how she was still standing, she kept going. Carolyn found a position in customer service after a month at the shelter. Even though she had been through so much that she had absolutely no control over, she keeps smiling.