Carrie and her daughter, Angela were two of our first residents who moved into the Vision House family program 21 years ago. The family became homeless through a series of events that were no fault of their own. Carrie writes, “Never, not even in my worst nightmare did I think that Angela and I would become part of the homeless population. I lived in terrible fear that someone would find out and take my Angela away from me. I moved into Vision House and only then was I able to release my tears.”
Carrie took full advantage of her time at Vision House to focus on education, get crisis support and counseling. She graduated from Northwest College Summa Cum Laude, the top 2% of her class. She received the Diligent Christian Leader Award, the highest award which is presented to only one outstanding student every year in each college. It was difficult, but she did it!
I had the opportunity to spend the afternoon with Carrie’s daughter Angela. Now at age 27, Angela can articulate some things she remembers about being homeless as a child.
• She described when she had to leave her home. She remembers the chaos and the police officer. But what stuck in her mind was that she was unable to return to her home to retrieve a special toy and she couldn’t understand why.
• She described the isolation she felt from all of her moves and changing schools.
• She remembers feeling lonely.
• She also was able to articulate the difference between the “bad” stress of homelessness and the “good” stress that her mom was going through when she was getting her degree. She knew the good stress was happening to make a better future for her.
• She was afraid that she would be known as one of “those” kids from the local shelter… but instead Angela felt accepted, loved and cared for at Vision House. She developed friends quickly and felt part of the community and part of our family.
Angela was raised by a mom who decided to fight her way out of homelessness and to a better future for her and her daughter.
Angela in turn grew up to be a beautiful young woman, graduated from High School, pursued higher education herself, later chose to marry her HS sweetheart – a man who treats her with love and respect and dignity. The couple recently started a family of their own and have an adorable busy toddler girl who is loved and cherished by everyone in the family.
Carrie and her daughter Angela’s story is an example of a family breaking the cycle of poverty and homelessness. They are a family who ENDed the cycle of homelessness.