Angelia lost her apartment in 2008 and floated from friend to friend before ending up at a local Houston area shelter. However, she quickly realized that wasn’t the place for her and her 2-year-old son, Jeremiah, when they told her she’d have to quit her job in order to stay.
“I knew my job was the one thing actually going right in my life, and I wasn’t about to quit just for a temporary roof over our heads,” said Angelia. “I was thankful for that particular shelter, however, because they were the ones who referred me to Gracewood.”
Angelia moved in at Gracewood in July 2010 and the residential ministry for single moms and their children not only gave Angelia a home, it also gave her the independence she needed to make her own life decisions.
“I never felt ‘homeless’ at Gracewood. I agreed with the rules and curfews we were required to abide by, and I was thankful for the personal, spiritual and mental counseling we received,” said Angelia.
Gracewood provided Angelia with an opportunity to learn stewardship, learn to save and become more mindful of how she spent her money. In areas such as shopping, she learned to differentiate between luxuries and necessities, to coupon shop, and to buy in bulk. She also was able to quit paying for certain services and learn to do them herself, such as cutting and styling her and Jeremiah’s hair.
“My case worker, Brandi, was amazing. She was always ready with a listening ear and sound advice, whether it was about money, parenting, or my job,” said Angelia. “I am now teaching my son that he can’t have the world. I didn’t make the world, so I can’t give it to him.”
Gracewood taught Angelia how to keep her house in order and her son on a schedule, which she continues to practice although she is no longer living at Gracewood.
“It is always an encouragement to our staff and a testament to our ministry to see the success of a former client such as Angelia,” said Gracewood Executive Director, Debbie Rippstein.
Angelia lived at Gracewood for just shy of a year and moved out in June 2011. She and her now 4 year-old son are financially stable and no longer living paycheck to paycheck. Angelia has continued in her job as a file clerk at a local dentist's office, but has been able to provide security for both she and Jeremiah through saving.
She is also stronger in her faith, more confident in her role as a mother, financially secure, and has continued in the habits of saving, scheduling, and getting involved in her local church, all of which she learned at Gracewood.
“I always felt safe, secure and loved at Gracewood,” said Angelia. “I am so thankful that I had the privilege to be in the company and learn from Gracewood staff.”
Angelia has made a point to keep up with the relationships she built at Gracewood. She has lunch with Brandi once a month and stays in touch with the other moms she met there. She looks forward to Gracewood events, such as the annual Christmas party, so she can help encourage other moms living at Gracewood.
“For me, Gracewood was the most wonderful place on earth; I will be eternally grateful for the experience and time I was given there,” said Angelia. “It is a privilege to share my story and experience.”