Our 2021 Gala speaker on how Star of Hope and Trees of Hope have changed her and her son's life...
Fifteen years ago, I proudly told my husband I was pregnant. We were expecting a boy. Our excitement turned to concern when we learned that baby Johnny suffered from a rare genetic disorder that caused him to be disabled, not being able to crawl, walk, or even eat by mouth. His life here was short….and that next year in February 2007 God called him home. September of that same year, God blessed us with another baby boy – Jaymes. He too suffered from the same rare genetic disorder and his life was even shorter...6 months later, God called him home. We were a family with a special love for two very special boys for only a short time.
To make matters worse – as if they could get any worse - these unfortunate events took a toll on our marriage and instead of it bringing us closer together- it broke us apart and by 2009 we divorced. So, at the age of 24, I had lost my two precious children and the man I thought God intended to be my life partner. I had to start my life over again.
Being a nurse to my own children made me develop a passion for the medical field, so I pursued college. In 2011, I graduated from the Surgical Technology program at Houston Community College. After steadily looking for work for a year and not being able to find a career in that field, I became discouraged, disappointed, and felt like giving up. I started hanging around the wrong people and became addicted to meth. My life started spiraling down … fast. After four years of thinking I could recover on my own, I realized I needed help, so I turned to God. He knew what would give me the motivation to get my life back in order. In 2016, he gave me a gift: a beautiful and healthy son, I named him Christian.
I knew if I kept using drugs, CPS would get involved. I had already lost 2 children - I wasn’t going to lose a third. So, I acted!
I left that abusive and drug-induced relationship with Christian's father. I needed to stay clean.
Baby Christian and I went to a short-term treatment center and stayed for 3 months. Then in 2016, my son and I transitioned to the Star of Hope Mission so I could continue my substance abuse treatment and other recovery programs. I was excited about starting a new life – but as the single mother of a toddler - I was worried that I would have trouble balancing my studies and motherhood. It turned out that I didn’t have to worry. Star of Hope’s children’s care program made Christian, and I feel welcomed and comfortable right away.
Trees of Hope supports many of these programs not just for toddlers, but for all the children at the facility. One of my best memories there was when Trees of Hope hosted a Mother’s Day event that warmed my heart. While I was preparing for a better life in the classroom, their volunteers helped my son make a loving card that told me that“I meant the world” to him. It meant a lot to me and encouraged me to remain focused on our future. Twice a year, Trees of Hope purchased brand-new shoes and distributed them to the children. Christian’s eyes would light up like Christmas morning every time. He was so excited … and proud of his new shoes!
Now that I think of it – Trees of Hope was there on our very first day. When we got accepted to the Women and Family Development Center – we were escorted to the “Toy Room” where this little guy, scared and confused, was given his choice of toys to make him feel at home. The Toy Room was hosted by – Trees of Hope. Today, this non-profit organization continues to do all of these things and more as they support Star of Hope’s programs.
Currently, we enjoy independent living in our own apartment. I’ve continued my education. In 2019 I successfully passed the recertification exam for Surgical Technology AND, this past May, I graduated with a Nursing Specialization Degree.
I was recently accepted into the Nursing Program at Houston Community College as a full-time student!
I have realized that I need to live for God and not myself. So, in the near future, it is in my heart to come back and volunteer to encourage the next generation of people to have a Christ-centered foundation that will pave the way to their dreams.
And recently, after 12 years of being divorced, the father of our two boys in heaven and I are back in each other’s life, rebuilding our relationship as God intended.
Let me finish by saying this … Children are precious VICTIMS of homelessness. They didn’t do anything wrong or make bad choices – but so often – homelessness is a family affair. Trees of Hope helps bring normalcy into these sweet, innocent lives. Tonight, you can plant the seeds of hope in the lives of uncounted boys and girls by supporting this wonderful organization.
Thank you for being there for Trees of Hope and having a part in saving … and changing lives.