As Tamekia settles into her next art project, the words “Spread Your Wings and Fly” read across the page of her coloring book. She quickly chooses her colors and gets smoothly into the groove as she begins talking about her experiences at Water Street.
These days, it’s becoming easier to keep positivity in her life. Her upbringing had its ups and downs, but, she says, “it could have been worse. I’ve seen other people’s childhood that wasn’t really great at all.”
But no matter how you look at things, coming to a shelter is never an easy step. Her journey here brought her through domestic abuse and heavy loss, and yet, she arrived with a shockingly positive attitude, hungry for change.
Early on she saw some guests wearing “green tags” – a sign they are in our Residential Program – and immediately asked to find out more. Soon she was making her way through the residential program, and packing her schedule with every class she could take.
“I learned not to be afraid or ashamed of who I am,” she says. “Because I am a child of God.”-Tamekia
One class she found was art, and she quickly signed up. “I really didn’t know the outcome because I wasn’t really big into art,” she says. Over time she found it engrossing. “I just liked the fact that it just takes my mind off of the whole day. It just frees it up and just lets me be free.”
Painting, drawing and coloring all helped her relax, and get her mind around some of the big concepts she was studying in other classes. Classes like Faith and Finance, for example, taught her about budgets and encouraged her to pursue her GED. Another class, Safe People, focused on setting boundaries in relationships and helping her learn “how to take the mask off.”
But through it all, she learned maybe one of the biggest lessons to date. “I learned not to be afraid or ashamed of who I am,” she says. “Because I am a child of God.”
That newfound discovery has left Tamekia feeling like “a new person,” but, as she explains, that doesn’t mean she has all the answers. Instead, this news has lit a fire in her to learn even more. “I’ve been stuck ever since. But it’s a good stuck. I just want to know more. I want to learn more.”
Tamekia now says she feels completely different than she did before. “I’m healed to a point, because you’re never fully healed,” she says. “But I’m healed. I’m on a journey to seek more, more information.”
Thanks to your support, guests like Tamekia are becoming lifelong learners, and entering a new journey, this time knowing they are children of God. We are so grateful for your prayers over our community, as we see many take these important steps!