Catina’s Story – “DuPagePads Saved My Life”
In 2001, Catina’s life seemed to be going perfectly. She was a life-long resident of DuPage County, had a house and car, was a member of the Parent-Teacher Association and had a wonderful family including her daughters Patricia and McKayla. When her husband walked out on her in 2003, her life began to change.
First she lost her home. Then she lost her daughters when her husband took them to live in Flordia. “I could not imagine a life without my daughters; something snapped in me emotionally.” She began pushing her family and friends away. Soon she was battling depression and self-medicating with drugs and alcohol.
With no one left to turn to, Catina found herself at one of DuPage Pads’ Interim (Overnight) Housing sites. She says that, “Although it was the most embarrassing and humbling night of my life, the staff was very helpful and caring; volunteers stayed by my side the whole night.”
Despite the support that she was receiving, Catina continued to battle her addiction to drugs and alcohol and was arrested in the spring of 2006.
“Getting arrested is exactly what I needed to happen. It made me serious about remaining clean and sober and getting my girls back,” she says. She again started working with a DuPage Pads’ case manager and put a plan in place. Catina was soon attending Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous groups as well as receiving individual counseling. “My case manager helped open many doors.”
Catina still remembers the day she moved into her own DuPage Pads Permanent Supportive Housing apartment. “It is so wonderful to have a place to call ‘home,’ and I will never take that for granted again.”
Working closely with the staff at the DuPage Pads Employment & Education Center, she was able to update her resume, search for jobs online, prepare for interviews and gain the confidence she needed to succeed.
Even with these successes, Catina still longed to have her girls back under her roof. After DuPage Pads linked her with legal aid resources, a long legal battle for her girls began. Nearly ten years after she had last seen them, Catina accomplished her ultimate goal and was reunited with her daughters.
Today, Catina owns her own cleaning business, is attending the College of DuPage for a Human Services Degree and is rebuilding her relationship with her girls. “I am proud to say that I am over eight years clean and sober!”
Catina says that, “I will always be grateful for all the services DuPage Pads offered me, but most of all, for their deep encouragement and for never giving up on me. DuPage Pads saved my life.”
When someone believes in you, everything can change.