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A Mother's Strength; Marissa's Journey

“Mama… What do we do now?” asks 7-year-old Darren just after getting in a car accident. Marissa closes her eyes, wishing it wasn’t real. Angela, age 17, holds Darren as her mom calls, texts, and sighs in need of help. “I don’t know baby, but we will figure it out.”

At this time, Marissa and her two kids were living in an emergency shelter with little to no funds. A single mother of two, she was working as a teacher aide in a local school. Marissa was taking classes to finish college and fulfill her dream of becoming a full-time teacher. The family was settling after their recent move from Pennsylvania, to live with Marissa’s best friend. It all changed in an instant when they were kicked out of their home and forced to live in a homeless shelter. Priorities shifted as Marissa had to protect her family and drop out of school to find new housing. With a wrecked car and no transportation, it was very difficult to search for affordable housing.

Marissa was losing hope, until she found Dawning Family Services. With one of our Rapid Rehousing Case Managers by her side, Marissa could finally breathe again, while they worked closely together searching for affordable housing. They developed a family budget and applied for other community resources, as well.

Because of the security she felt in our program, Marissa was able to focus on saving money, finishing her degree, and getting services for her autistic son, Darren. She worked tirelessly to get speech therapy and other services for Darren. He is now excelling in school and Angela, her oldest, has enlisted in the Navy and will start basic training soon. Marissa has enrolled in a First Time Buyer’s course with the goal of purchasing her first home next year. She has also re-enrolled to start college courses again this Fall.

“We’re going to be alright after all.” Proud tears well in her eyes as she hugs her kids.

“Dawning Family Services helped me believe that everything will still work out, despite the challenges we have faced. The care I received helped me believe in myself and my family’s journey.” – Marissa

Moms like Marissa show us the resilience, strength, and power that mothers hold. She stopped at nothing to ensure a successful future for her family.

Written by Tori Calandro


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