Two United Way funded programs, Children’s Inn Shelter and Inter-Lakes Community Action Partnership’s Heartland House worked together to help a domestic violence victim regain her independence and begin building a path to stability for her and her children. Here’s her story:
My kids and I walked in to the ICAP office on a Friday afternoon. I had no place to go and didn’t know what to do. I had just left my home I rented with my very abusive husband of 17 years, got into my car and drove around until I found myself at ICAP. I didn’t want to go back, but didn’t know what else to do. The ICAP staff helped me by contacting Children's Inn so my children and I would be safe until I found permanent housing.
We were able to stay at the shelter for 35 days until an opening became available and I was accepted into the Heartland House program. Many times during that month, I thought I was going to have to go back to my husband. I was so scared. When Heartland House called, I felt a sense of relief that I had not felt in years.
It was not easy being on my own and trying to take care of my four children. I had a lot of trust issues and wasn’t very forthcoming with my Housing Stabilization Coach for the first 3 months. I had no family or support system in the area and for so many years, my husband was so abusive that it was like he “controlled my every move and my mind.” I trusted no one.
Eventually I really came to feel that my Coach genuinely cared about me and my children’s well-being. I can remember my Coach and I met on a Thursday morning and I just started crying and couldn’t stop. Everything was so overwhelming. My Coach just listened to me for an hour as we went through everything. She was so nice about it.
That day was my breaking point. I figured that I could either go back to my old life or move forward. I decided to move forward.
I was able to find a job that I love and I can even budget my income. I wasn’t allowed to touch any of my money when I was with my husband. If I did or even suggested it, he would “punish” me. I had never felt so free in my life!
I seriously don’t know where I would be now if I had not left our house that day. Heartland House has helped me with my self-confidence so much and I know that I don’t have to go back to any situation like I had lived for the past 17 years. My kids are much happier and getting good grades in school. My oldest child said to me one day, “Mom, I am so proud of you.” That is the day that I knew that me and my kids were going to make it. Thank you Children's Inn and Heartland House for helping me “make it.”