Justine’s Story

Raising kids is tough enough, much less as a single mom during a pandemic. Like so many others in our community, Justine and her kids faced many challenges last year. Then, the unimaginable happened. Justine lost her job, and the family was evicted from their home. Losing her job and her home was difficult…

Terry’s Story

“I should have been dead a long time ago,” Terry says. “I came to realize God’s been keeping me around for a long time. So, it was just time for me to give it back to him and make my life stronger than it was.” Terry’s life transformation has been decades in the making.…

Ashanti’s Story

One early morning last July, Ashanti was woken from a deep sleep by the sound of loud banging on her front door. It was the police, shouting for her to get her and her kids out because there was a fire in her apartment. “It was crazy,” Ashanti remembers. “My poor baby was just…

Patrick’s Story

There was a time in Patrick’s life when he was living a storybook existence. After a rough patch in his teens, Patrick was celebrating sobriety, was active in his local church and was married to the woman he adored. Life was good and peaceful. Then, after ten years of marriage, his wife unexpectedly left…

Ju Ju’s Story

“Dear loving wonderful family … You have been a blessing for me.” Grateful. That’s how Ju Ju felt writing a letter to Joy House staff after staying at the Milwaukee Rescue Mission’s shelter for women and children. For her entire life, she’s managed to keep a positive attitude, regardless of her circumstances. But life…

Terry’s Story

Years of alcoholism, drug addiction and anger nearly cost Terry everything. What started as the casual drink in Terry’s youth spiraled into alcoholism in adulthood. For a while, he managed to make things work—he met the love of his life, Taneka, and they started a family. But then, Terry’s drinking and drugs became too…

Danielle’s Story

For years, Danielle and her son, Jordan, were practically inseparable from her mother. “It was just the three of us since the day Jordan was born 10 years ago,” Danielle says. “We shared an apartment and everything.” So when her mom died unexpectedly, Danielle fell into a deep depression. She says, “I didn’t blame…

Lavonna’s Story

When Lavonna first came to Joy House, the young mother felt defeated and lost. She desperately wanted a better life for herself and her kids, but she had no idea what to do. “I grew up in a family with a lot of challenges.” Lavonna says. “I never got much support from anyone. I…

Berto’s Story

A family move can be difficult enough when you’re a kid. But moving from his childhood home in Puerto Rico to the huge metropolis of Chicago proved to be a bigger challenge to Berto than he could have ever imagined. “It all started when my family moved to Chicago,” Berto says. “I was 7,…

Malcolm’s Story

Malcolm never thought he was “conforming” to the world. Where he grew up, the worst thing you could be called was “normal.” Normal meant boring or square. Normal meant being like everyone else in society, working 9 to 5, going nowhere, being nobody. “I wanted no part of that life,” he says. “I wanted…