Last year, Julia shared her story of Thanksgiving after a visit to Crisis Assistance Ministry for help to keep her lights on. Yet, hidden in that one brief moment were so many more moments of loss, resilience, and hope.
This fall, Julia, stood and shared her journey with Crisis Assistance Ministry volunteers gathered for their annual recognition dinner.
Here, in her own words, is more of her story:
Good Evening everyone,
My name is Julia and I am here to share my story, my journey, and my truths.
In October 2015, my family decided to relocate out of Charlotte to Pennsylvania because of the barriers that we continuously faced that prevented us from having adequate housing. Due to my disability and a previous 10-year-old record, I was not able to secure a livable income either.
However, on March 13, 2016, not even 6 months later, my family suffered a tragic loss. My son, 19 years old with aspirations of joining the military died by suicide. My husband was critically injured while trying to remove the firearm. My husband was given less than a 15% chance of survival.
After several weeks in the ICU and intense care, he and I returned to Charlotte on April 9, 2016.
Once we returned, we were faced with even more despair. We were homeless and could not find any resources that would accommodate both of us. We slept in our car, against medical advice, but what could we do? After several months of being turned away from shelters and programs, my husband found work, once again against medical advice. We were able to save enough money to secure an apartment but barely had enough for the lights.
Then HOPE happened. I walked through the doors of Crisis Assistance Ministry defeated, broken, and stricken with grief. When asked at the window, what I needed, I just cried. I didn’t know where to begin.
Then a very special woman named Jackie Cunningham spoke with me. She “listened”. She then put me in touch with another special person, Tiffany Bost.
Tiffany listened too. She heard what I couldn’t even say!
Tiffany encouraged me and got me involved in the Economics Mobility program. I left that day with my lights paid and more importantly, I left with HOPE!
I received a phone call later saying that an anonymous donor had sponsored Thanksgiving dinner for my family. Again, there was that thing called HOPE. You see, since our tragedy, we hadn’t celebrated anything, but because of Crisis Assistance Ministry, we shared a Thanksgiving dinner filled with HOPE!
Crisis Assistance Ministry didn’t stop there! I was invited to be a part of the very first Customer Advocacy Training class led by yet another very special woman, Bonnie Tiernan. It was there that I found my VOICE! I found my purpose. I knew that there were many other families who had been through tragedies, felt stuck in poverty, and had lost hope. I knew this because we were that family.
Crisis Assistance Ministry is more than just a building. It’s a team of real people who treated me with humanity, dignity, respect, and NOT like a statistic. I found my true self through all the darkness because of this organization. I have made a commitment to be a VOICE for others who haven’t made it there yet.
So, I just want to say thank you to all those wonderful people who took their time, their hearts, and their listening ears. I want to say THANK YOU to Crisis Assistance Ministry! I also want to say thank you to my children and my amazing husband. ALL of you have given me HOPE!
I just want to be able to give to others what was so freely given to me.
For Julia, life will never be the way it was before. But, the help made possible through Crisis Assistance Ministry has enabled her to rebuild her family’s future, maintain housing, secure employment, and become an advocate for others who are going through difficult times.