K. suggested we meet and talk for this story in her home. Her little dog did a great job of announcing my presence. K. was raised by her grandmother in Southern Chester County. Even though K. was aware that her mother was taking drugs, she was shocked when an overdose of heroin took her life. K. admits she was not especially close to her mother, but nevertheless her death sent K. into a “deep depression that lasted more than 3 years.” K. lost her job of 15 years and began using drugs. She says of this time, “I just gave up on everything.” During this time, while living in Philadelphia, she eventually sought help from a methadone clinic, but when her boyfriend agreed to set fire to an abandoned apartment next to her home, endangering herself and her children, she decided it was time “to go.”
She returned to Southern Chester County, the area she was raised in, to live with her sister. But K. has 3 children and her sister’s home was small. She felt a lack of pride in not being able to provide a home for her children. “I just felt worthless.”
A friend told her about Family Promise, where she stayed as long as she needed to find the best job to support her family and find the right home. She received help with a car and many hours of friendly support from staff as well as volunteers. “I got to meet so, SO MANY people—I just couldn’t believe people were like that; so helpful and willing to listen. It was like God sent a whole bunch of people to help us. It was a great experience.” K. admits that there were times at Family Promise when she just wanted to give up, but people kept encouraging her to keep her mind “to it” and reminding her of goals. Just as important, K. states that Family Promise helped her gain back her confidence and believe in herself.
K. keeps a beautiful tapestry of her mother’s image in her living room. As we sat in her comfortable and pleasant home, K. admits where she is now is a far cry from some of the places she experienced while struggling with depression. She has learned from her past and looks forward to what the future holds.