Paulette’s Story

"Joy House brought me back into the light."

“I was in a dark place, and I had just lost my mom. Everything was just dark for me then.”

Paulette had moved to Milwaukee to fulfill her dream of going to culinary arts school and becoming a chef. But her dream unraveled when her living situation fell through, leaving her nowhere to go.

Then, Paulette’s mom passed away, bringing up old, buried memories — memories of neglect, troubled relationships and sexual abuse at the hands of a family member.

Depressed, angry and homeless, Paulette tried living in her car — but soon realized that wasn’t sustainable. That’s when she turned to the Milwaukee Rescue Mission, where she found not only shelter, food and clothing in Joy House, our shelter for women and children … but also the support she needed to address old wounds.

“I believe that I ended up here for a reason — it opened the door for me to get back on track with God. Losing my mom was heartbreaking. Running into the issues I had with family was heartbreaking. But I feel like I had to come here to get my life back on track.”

Here, Paulette benefited from long-term care and resources like counseling, education, life-skills training and more.

“Joy House brought me back into the light from where I was. They gave me scriptures and gave me motivation to keep going and not to look at things like, ‘Woe is me,’ but do something about the situation in order for it to change. The first thing I had to do was get my life right with God. It was a domino effect after that,” Paulette explains.

“The more I attended class, the more I started reading my Bible … things just turned around, and I started looking at things positively instead of negatively.”

Today, Paulette is optimistic about her future. She has her own apartment, feels closer to God and is reconnecting with family. And, she’s still looking forward to culinary school.

To the generous donors who helped make her fresh start possible, Paulette says, “I thank God for you, and that this place exists for women like me. I thank you from the bottom of my heart; I’m truly grateful for everything!”