Alicia needed a new beginning, a chance to start over. She’d already been knocked down several times in her life, but she always found a way to get back up before. Now, at the age of 56, her past was catching up to her.
“My childhood was really messed up,” she says. “There was violence and alcoholism. I went through a lot of emotional, physical and sexual abuse from family members. Then I had a nervous breakdown when I was 17.”
But Alicia got back on her feet. She survived two painful marriages, and after each one, she was able to rebound. In 1996, she married again. “I thought Rob was my savior,” she says. Then he died of a heart attack in 2006. “Those were the best 10 years of my life. I still wear my wedding ring. It took me two years to recover, but I finally did.”
Alicia got knocked down again in 2012, when someone close to her took everything she owned. She even lost her home. Worsening physical problems made it more difficult for her to work, and she ended up homeless, living in cheap motels. She just couldn’t get back up this time. She needed help—and that’s when she discovered our Door of Hope program in Joy House for single women like her who have no place to call home.
“The meals and a bed have been great,” she says. “But for me, the most important part is the spiritual, emotional help. They hug me every day here. It’s been a long time since I’ve been hugged. And they brought me closer to God. I get goosebumps when I think about it. Now they’re even helping me go back to college.
“In one of the darkest spots of my life, the Milwaukee Rescue Mission’s donors brought me back into the light. I don’t know where I’d be without this place. They gave me a reason to get up and move on. They really did give me the chance to start over.”