Former Resident Works With Others Who Are Homeless
Spring reminds us of new beginnings, a time for a fresh start. It’s a season that in many ways is an apt symbol of the transformation and sense of renewal often experienced by our families. When Alejandra and her eight-year-old daughter arrived at Raphael House on Christmas day, 2014, after leaving an abusive home, they were scared and riddled with anxiety about their future. By the end of June, 2014 Alejandra had transformed into a secure, independent, and successful woman while her daughter blossomed into a smiling, social butterfly. “I can breathe, I can go to my own home, it’s like a total transformation,” says Alejandra today.
When Alejandra came to Raphael House with her daughter Amanda, she was exhausted. After having successfully completed a year-long outpatient treatment program for substance abuse she had been ready to reenter the job market and trusted her long-time partner to be supportive and help her focus on her recovery and reconciling with her family. But tragically that was not to be the case as her partner’s behavior soon became violent. She realized she would quickly need to leave for her and her daughter’s safety. Raphael House was able to offer them refuge in a safe and stable homelike environment where they could build new dreams and focus on achieving their goals.
Alejandra recounts the first words her Raphael House case manager spoke to her, “everything is going to be okay, trust the process.” These words became the foundation from which Alejandra began her transformation during her time in our Residential Shelter Program. She worked with her case manager on an action plan that included looking for a job, creating a savings plan, and fixing her credit. She learned how to manage her stress and anxiety through mental health counseling. Alejandra also reconnected and strengthened the bond with her daughter as she learned effective tools for communicating with her through participation in our Parent Empowerment Group and various other family activities.
Alejandra eventually applied for a position as an administrative assistant for the San Francisco Homeless Outreach Team. She was instead offered a position as a care management specialist. Today Alejandra works directly with homeless individuals in San Francisco; she finds that she can connect to them personally and feels grounded in her work. She’s proud that she can provide them with quality service. “When I meet a client I tell them the same thing my case manager at Raphael House told me: trust the process; I’m your support; utilize me; I’m here for you.” Alejandra and her daughter have their own stable home now and their future looks bright. They continue to receive supportive services through our Bridge Program to ensure they remain secure as they work toward achieving their goals and a life of financial independence.