My name is Tracey, a mother of six beautiful children, a daughter to a mother of three, and a sister to many.
Before Casa Teresa, I was a mess. I was deep in my addiction, in an abusive relationship, and far away from my family and friends. I soon ended up living on the streets, drowning in a pool of emotion, pain, and lies. In the midst of all of this, I found out I was pregnant. I was scared, lost, and didn’t know what to do or how to get out of this mess. The thought of ever being a mother again pierced my heart. So, I searched many shelters and called many, but only one stood out to me…and that was Casa Teresa.
On March 20th, I arrived at Casa Teresa. Entering, I was nervous, scared, and hurt. I remember walking into Casa Teresa with my mother and immediately feeling the love and warmth in the home. Everyone was so welcoming and kind-hearted. I could see in my mother’s eyes that she was finally at peace. My mother was able to go home and have a sense security for once, knowing her daughter was safe. Casa Teresa provided a safe haven for me. I was in shock that a shelter could be so beautiful. They fed me, clothed me, loved me, supported me, and believed in me. Wow! How that touched my heart and gave me hope. Being at Casa Teresa, I saw that I wasn’t alone. There were other women that I could relate to. My roommate even had the same birthday as me.
At Casa Teresa I was able to focus on my health and pregnancy. They guided me
toward each step I had to take in order to become a stable mother for all my children. I was referred to a six-month outpatient treatment center to educate me on my addiction. I took parenting classes that showed me the areas I needed to work on the most. I attended bible study every Tuesday, and continue do so. This strengthened my relationship with God. I attended classes that helped me set boundaries and build healthy relationships. I also attended the High School Equivalency Academy through American Career College to obtain my GED. Something I had tried to accomplish in the past but was never able to complete. Everything I thought I was incapable of accomplishing, Casa Teresa proved me wrong! They kept me busy, focused, and showered me that anything is possible.
On July 30, 2018, I gave birth to my son Mekah. He was 7lbs and 21 inches long. I was full of joy and excitement, yet I was anxious knowing there was a chance my son may not be able to go home with me. I had two prior CPS cases that I did not succeed in. A few days after my son’s birth, a Social Worker came in and gave me the news I had dreaded. He would be placed into a foster home until the courted deemed me a stable, sober mother and that I would continue to do so. At this time, I felt hurt with a million emotions running through my mind and body. I didn’t want to think of my son being out of my sight or reach. The old me would have ran, seeing this situation as permanent, thinking I would never get him back. Casa Teresa was a ray of light on a cloudy day. Because of Casa Teresa, I had hope. I knew this was only temporary and I continued to attend my classes and follow the court’s orders to get my son back. Casa Teresa encouraged me to not give up and continue fighting for my son.
On September 25, 2018, my son came home. This was a miracle. I was told the judge didn’t have to see my case because of my prior CPS cases. These are usually open and shut cases in which they don’t see the parents as being fit…ever. But they saw my work and effort at Casa Teresa. Casa Teresa didn’t stop there. In October, I transitioned to T1, which gave me my own studio apartment to live in with my son. I was able to show responsibility and growth in areas I lacked before. They showed me how to manage my time and keep up with a set schedule every day. I was able to go back to school to get my GED and completed it in November 2018. I also enrolled in a vocational school to become a Dental Assistant in December 2018.
On January 25, I was transitioned to T2 which blessed me with a two bedroom apartment. This was another step toward my ultimate goal to have all my children under one roof. Now my children are with me every weekend. Now I can be the mother I’ve always wanted to be for my children and provide a safe, loving home for them.
Everything I was able to accomplish would not have been possible without Casa Teresa and the wonderful staff. I can truly say that waking up every day is like hitting the jackpot. I am safe. I am loved. I am supported. They have been able to provide everything I ever needed to succeed and get back on my feet. Thank you Casa Teresa.
-Casa Teresa Alumna, Tracey