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…

Ambrose’s Story

When Ambrose was growing up in Lindsay Heights, the community had its challenges. But his dad was a good man who stressed education, church and hard work. Ambrose has carried those values throughout his entire life. “Lindsay Heights lost some of those values over the years,” Ambrose says. “Drugs, gangs, violence, unemployment, immorality, disintegration…

Shaquonna’s Story

When Shaquonna came to the Milwaukee Rescue Mission, she was crying out for help. In some ways, she’d been crying for help her whole life. It was in Joy House, our shelter for women and children, that she finally found a loving community eager to listen—and she was determined to use the help she…

Phillip’s Story

It all happened so slowly. Day by day, drink by drink, Phillip’s life was slipping away. But he couldn’t see it. Or he didn’t want to see it—until one morning last winter when he looked in a mirror and didn’t recognize the man staring back. What happened? “I was raised by godly parents who…

Shawnna’s Story

Tragedy, chaos and homelessness followed Shawnna for much of her life. Disappointment and heartache were all too familiar. It didn’t start out that way. “I had the best mom ever,” she says. “Homemade meals, she protected me, every day she said she loved me, she was awesome.” But Shawnna’s self esteem suffered as she…

James’ Story

Last March was the lowest point of James’ life. He had just been released from jail and had nowhere to go. It seemed like no one wanted him around anymore. So he went to the beach to spend the night, only to lose his balance and fall into the frigid water. Though he was…