Your support at work: Pregnant, alone, and living on the streets, Jennifer thought she had nowhere to go until your giving provided help

This story comes courtesy of Jacquelyn Williams with YWCA. Names and images are changed to protect privacy.

Young, pregnant and suffering abuse from her boyfriend, Jennifer had no one to turn to and nowhere to go when she was introduced to the safety of a shelter at the YWCA, part of United Way’s network of care.

“She really had no place to go. Her mother was on drugs,” said an agency counselor, “her grandmother and grandfather tried to help, but they just had no room for Jennifer and her future child.”

Jennifer was very unsure of herself and really did not want to be in a shelter. She was confused about what she should do, so she left the shelter later the same day she entered it, thinking that was the best way to create distance with her abusive boyfriend. She found herself living on the streets or with friends – and sometimes even with strangers.

“After three weeks of running, she finally gave birth to her beautiful baby daughter. That’s when she realized that she needed the help and support of the shelter again,” the agency counselor said. “She made that crucial call that could affect the rest of her life and our staff gladly accepted her back.”

Jennifer’s situation had not improved. She still had nowhere to go, and no one to turn to for long-term help. She had no employment, only a minimal education and no work experience. But she did have one thing working for her – she was determined to succeed. With the help of the shelter and its programs, Jennifer was able to turn her life around. While receiving ongoing support from staff, Jennifer obtained stable, full-time employment, later signed a lease for her very own apartment and enrolled in community college.

Jennifer’s story is only one of many. Your giving makes a difference in people’s lives every day, improving education, income and health across our region.

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