Throughout my life, I have struggled with addiction, emotional issues, and bad relationships. It was not until 2015 that my addiction and bad choices caused me to have a run in with the law and I was entered into the Benton County Adult Drug Court Program. This was an alternative to jail and a way to get my record expunged as long as I could stay clean and fulfill the requirements of the program. This program for me was a curse and a blessing wrapped up into one. A curse because I, at the time, had to sacrifice a lot of my ways of thinking of people, places, and things and a blessing because it brought me to the Center for Sharing (CFS) and the Tierra Vida community.

As soon as I was accepted into the drug court program, I found out I was pregnant. It was not very long that drug court put a no contact order against the baby’s father and ordered that I find a sober environment to reside in which ended up being the Union Gospel Mission, where I ended up staying for three months. I was all alone and it was at this point in my life where I started to rely more on God and started to seek his guidance. It was shortly after staying at the mission that I was directed to go to Goodwill and seek employment and after doing so was entered into the Center for Sharing’s Work Readiness Program at the Collegium Café.

I remember coming in to my interview not knowing what to expect and worried that I would not be accepted and judged; I was pregnant, trying to apply for a barista job, living at the mission, and in a drug rehabilitation program with a history of addiction. I remember sitting in the boardroom with the leadership of CFS, explaining my story, and feeling relieved because instead of giving me looks of disappointment and ridicule they accepted me and welcomed me. It did not take long for me to feel like a part of their family and to feel supported.

In July 2016, my time at the mission was up due to only being able to stay there for three months. CFS wanted to make sure that I had a safe place to live and helped me be able to afford a one bedroom apartment in the Tierra Vida community.

The CFS also offered peer to peer counseling, trauma informed sessions, and a course that better helps you understand who you are as a person. They would also meet with me weekly to see where I was at looking for a job and to give advice when needed. It has been nearly two months since my graduation at CFS, and thanks to their help and support, I am currently working in a full time position at a local hotel.