Christina* had a tough start in life. She was the 5th child of a young single mother on welfare, and abuse in the home ran rampant. The family constantly struggled with poverty: “We basically lived in the projects,” she remembers.
She knows that her mom did the best she could under the circumstances, but Christina quickly fell into the chaos that surrounded her. By age 12, she was smoking marijuana. By age 13, she was using crack cocaine. Drug dealing followed. By age 16, she was being prostituted. It wasn’t the life she had pictured for herself, and by the time she found out she was pregnant, she knew, it definitely wasn’t the life she wanted.
During each of her pregnancies, Christina maintained sobriety. After her baby was born, she’d convince herself that addiction was behind her. “I’d think I was fine and for a while, I would be. Then, as soon as it was quiet because the kids had left for school, I’d fall again.”Walking the streets alone
Christina did go into a recovery program — but once she returned, her partner became violently abusive. He didn’t like the change in her and felt he had lost control.
She did her best to hide the abuse from her children, but eventually, he began attacking her in front of the kids. Her face bears the scars of his final attack — the one that prompted her to leave forever.
After fleeing, she struggled to find a place to live — she and her two children moved from place to place. Again, she tried to protect her kids. She sometimes went without a safe place to sleep, but they never did.
A new baby and a new start
When Christina realized she was pregnant, she knew she needed help if she was going to make her sobriety last. That’s when she called Shepherd’s Gate.
“There are so many things I love here. I love the structure, I love the stability, I love the peace that it brings to my children.They feel safe and they’re starting to trust people again . . . that’s what keeps me going. And the program . . . the program has truly healed me in ways I never would have been able to find on my own.”
What a difference you’ve made in the lives of Christina and her children — and in the life of her new baby, born just recently! Your compassion and your generosity have changed their future for the better. “My children wouldn’t have been able to make it without people who give. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”