This is the first in a three-part series of articles originally published in our print newsletter. You may download the full Summer 2020 newsletter here.
By Laura Johenning
I was a single mom of a baby boy years ago. I was young, and at first I did not think of how this would affect me: how much diapers cost, formula, clothes, etc. However, I knew my son was now my everything, and I needed help. That was hard to ask for as such an independent person. I was recommended to come into Choose Hope Women’s Center. Once I was there, the volunteer listened to me and provided me with diapers, formula, and baby clothes. I did not for a second feel judged.
Two years later I was pregnant again. Just when I did not think things could be any worse, they were. My dad was dying from cancer, I lost my job, and I was in an emotionally abusive relationship. I did not want to go on. I was super embarrassed, and it was all too much. I had to get my mind right, my situation, my heart, my faith, and focus on the kids first. I went back to Choose Hope Women’s Center, and again there was no judgment, just love and support. My volunteer, Capri, always remembered our conversations.
I am 34 years old now; my boys are 8 and almost 11. I know my kids are way above age to get help at Choose Hope Women’s Center, but I still receive letters and Mother’s Day cards from the volunteers. I have made it my responsibility to give back to them for all the years of their dedication to me. I have done the mommy bags, a diaper drive, baby bottle money donations, and I plan to be a volunteer one day!
It took years for me to be at a point where I can help others and talk about it. Today I have a job I enjoy, my kids are healthy and getting big, and recently I was approved for a house through Habitat for Humanity. I have a great support system through my friends and church. I am involved with my kids. I am happy, and I have a much better outlook on life.
If I can make it through these tough times, I feel like anyone with a little hope and help can too. To any moms or dads who are going through a difficult time, talking to someone is one of the best ways to bring yourself back up. We cannot keep our emotions, anger, stress, sadness, and regrets bottled up inside. I promise you will feel like a new person! Choose Hope Women’s Center’s volunteers will celebrate your victories with you. They want you to succeed; they want you and your kids to thrive and live your best life. The support, love, and joy was unconditional every time. Coming in those doors was one of the best decisions I have ever made and I will be forever grateful.