“When I came to Calvary, I knew this was my chance to better myself.”
Monica moved to the Washington, DC area with her sister, but after a death in the family, she was left alone. She explains, “I just wasn’t prepared. I didn’t have any money saved.” Monica had never been on her own, and she tried to stay with friends, but felt like she was imposing. She stayed a few nights in emergency shelter, but didn’t feel safe. That’s when Monica found Calvary.
She did an internet search for women’s housing in the area and the first on the list was Calvary. She remembers her first night, talking with her case manager, and thinking, “I can see myself here.”
With the support of her case manager, Monica worked to improve her health and to start saving money. She attended life skills classes that helped her learn how to budget and manage her income. She also participated in on-site therapy where she was able to work through the trauma she had experienced. She says that the thing that helped her most was the safety she felt at Calvary. Once she knew she was safe, she was able to start making real changes in her life.
While at Calvary, Monica says she was motivated by her nieces and nephews. She beams when she describes her dream of having a spare bedroom for them to stay in. She has plans for game nights and movie nights. “I have to make a home so they can come visit me,” she says.
Monica’s love of children led her to her current part-time job at a preschool. She describes the amazing changes she sees in children as they learn to say the alphabet or write their name. “I feel honored just to watch them play,” she explains. The children inspire her to keep learning and to keep playing. “I guess I love it so much because I’m just a kid at heart,” she says.
Monica is busy making plans for her future. She has successfully moved out of Calvary into an independent housing program. From there, she is working towards her goal of having her own apartment, with plenty of room for her nieces and nephews to visit. She is continuing to build her job experience so that she can work full-time in education. She is most proud of the new level of independence she achieved. She smiled when she said, “Even one of the other ladies here told me she was proud of me.”
During her time at Calvary, Monica worked towards her goals and took the critical first steps toward independence and stability. “It wasn’t always easy,” she says, “but I stuck it out. Calvary gets you where you need to go.”