Sheila’s Story

On the surface, Sheila always “had it together.” She was intelligent, ambitious, a loving mother and enjoyed a successful career as a Certified Dialysis Technician. But lurking deep beneath that surface lived a frightened little girl.

“Growing up, I had trouble trusting anyone,” she says. “And I was always afraid — afraid of success, afraid of myself, afraid of life.”

Sheila’s parents, who suffered from drug addictions, abandoned her when she was just 8. She spent most of her youth in orphanages and foster care. The instability affected the rest of her life — especially her relationships with men. “I never felt loved,” she recalls, “so I always chose older men, hoping they’d rescue me. I wanted them to give me what I never got from my dad.”

By the time she was 29, she had four children with four different men. Despite her struggles, she was always able to provide for her kids — until her last job ended in March 2013. She soon found herself penniless and homeless. That’s when she and her kids came to Joy House.

“I only expected to be here for a few weeks before I found a new job. But I stayed for almost two months. This program changed my life,” she says. “They helped me reconnect with God. They taught me how to rely on God instead of myself. They also showed me how to trust people again. The people here became my family.”

Today, Sheila is working again, living in her own place and she has enrolled in college to obtain her Pre-Med degree. And she’s determined to keep God at the center of her life.

“My life changed here at Joy House and I’m forever grateful,” she says. ”Everything Joy House gave me has prepared me to move forward — but now I’m moving forward without any more fear.”