My name is Charlotte, and I am a survivor of domestic and sexual violence. My story is about what it means to have a safe place to stay.
One day I was at church and a representative of Vera House was giving a presentation and handing out resources. I took a flyer knowing in my heart that I would need it someday. There was something about the presentation that touched me. The day came when I had to leave my home and found that I did not have a safe place to go to. I was at my mother’s house and found myself in her basement calling Vera House. Even my mother’s home was not safe for me. I had remembered that I had Vera House’s flyer on me and called them to see if I could go there. They set me up to come in to shelter that night.
I was picked up by a very nice staff person, Karen. She spoke with me on the trip to shelter and made me feel so welcomed and comfortable. At that moment I knew this was meant to be. For the first time in my life I knew things were going to be good for me. I arrived at shelter and met my case manager Debra. She was so supportive and gave me great information and encouragement. She helped me to stay focused on my goals. For the first time I realized I had goals, and I was going to achieve them. I wanted my own apartment, a job and I wanted to raise my child in a good way.
I stayed at the shelter for 3 months and felt great when I left. I had a great home, and I was with my daughter. I knew that I had to give back in some way. I started to volunteer at the shelter. I decided that people’s first impression of shelter was really important. I wanted to be part of that. I began to help with cleaning the shelter, making all residents comfortable and welcomed. My volunteering turned into a job. I am now part of the shelter family. I am part of the mission of Vera House. I work with such positive people like Paul, one of our maintenance team members he really helps me to see life in a positive way.
I feel like I am getting an education every day I come to work. I want to continue to help everyone that comes into shelter.