“You Changed Two Lives” – Leslie and Charlie’s Story
Recently Leslie shared her family’s story at our Wake Up Your Spirit Breakfast and moved the audience to a standing ovation. Read about her incredible journey here, in her own words.
From a pad on the floor…
Adding to the stress, I became a single mom, supporting my 7-year-old daughter, Charlotte (who goes by Charlie) after I left my abusive husband.
Soon after, Charlie and I lost our home causing us to stay at a shelter in the city or sleeping in our van.
One Sunday, I was talking to a lady at my church, Mary, who I had talked to many times before, and she mentioned that she needed a nanny for her 3 young children. This seemed like a great opportunity for both of us.
Mary and her family lived in Wheaton. Commuting from the city became challenging, especially with Charlie’s schedule, so Mary suggested Charlie go to school with her children in Wheaton. She also told us about DuPagePads.
The agency provides shelter, where Charlie and I could be safe and have great meals. I’ll never forget the kindness of the people we met there, from the scouts to the many volunteers serving through the night.
I was so surprised about the services DuPagePads offered.
In addition to the overnight sites, we went to the Client Service Center, where case managers would help us with every issue. They helped with my diagnosis of fibromyalgia and arthritis, depression and anxiety. DuPagePads helped me face my frustrations and work through my past abuse.
I attended many trainings and workshops at the Client Service Center: a financial fitness class, a woman’s workshop, a chronic disease self-management program and a housing class to name a few. One of my favorite groups was Harmony, Hope and Healing, where we sang, played instruments, and I could forget about all my problems. I could open up there and it felt so good to release my emotions.
I’m now working with DuPagePads Career Employment Solutions on completing my GED, and determining next steps for a new career.
One day last fall, Charlie and I were at the Client Service Center after school. At that point, we had been homeless for over a year and I had been having health challenges.
A case manager told us that they had an opening for us in DuPagePads Supportive Housing program.
As the words sunk in, I started hyperventilating. I truly needed to get some air.
Just the thought of having our own home again brought both Charlie and I to tears of happiness.”
…To a key in the door!
“Now we have been in our home for about a year, and I would like to tell you how life has changed.
I am working on my health issues, addressing each and every one of them, and live with a positive outlook for our future.
Before our home, Charlie was failing in school and especially struggling with reading. She was an angry child, not talking much to anyone.
Now Charlie is nine-years-old and doing much better in school. She talks to people and has friends. Inspired by the kind scouts that would serve at the overnight sites, she even became a Brownie last month!
When we were leaving Mary’s house recently with a plate of extra food, Charlie insisted on giving it to a person on the street who was homeless.
Lastly, here is a picture that hangs proudly on our refrigerator. Charlie drew this at school, when asked what does she want to do in the future. She replied, “Donate food.”
Without DuPagePads, we would still be homeless, and I would be getting sicker and sicker. YOU changed two lives, gave us hope, expert care and a new outlook.
You believed in me, and moved us from a pad on the floor, to a key in the door!!
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Wishing you all a very happy holiday! God bless.”