In 2008, Mary left her abusive boyfriend after an especially violent confrontation. Law enforcement was called to the home and the boyfriend was arrested for assault and battery. With the help of the Emergency Shelter program, Mary received guidance and counseling and assistance to apply for an Emergency Protective Order from the Magistrate, which was granted one on the spot. She later went to court and obtained a Permanent Protective Order. With some persistence, Mary’s abuser managed to convince her that he would change, and the Protective Order was dropped a month later. Mary moved back in with the abuser and soon became pregnant. Although drug use had been an integral part of the relationship, Mary found that with her pregnancy came the strength to stop using drugs. She has been drug free ever since. Mary’s child was born in November, 2009.
As most mothers do, Mary believed her baby needed his father, so she made every attempt to salvage the relationship. The abuse continued and worsened until once again law enforcement was involved. In the fall of 2009, Mary obtained a Permanent Protective Order and finally left the abusive relationship with her boyfriend once and for all. Mary has used the Emergency Shelter Program services to bolster her self-esteem and to learn new life skills. She has participated in weekly support group meetings, received individual counseling, and now uses the Children’s Exchange Center. Through community donations of vehicles, the Car Donation program has enabled Mary to have reliable transportation to work and for continuing education classes and hopes to finish with a degree by the summer of 2012. Mary is a true success story!!
Life seldom turns out as we expect, and the dreams we hold dear in our youth drop by the wayside as life throws its challenges in our path. But it is how we deal with these challenges and who we turn to for advice that shape our later years. And, we all need to lean on each other.
Marion had made a good life for herself and her daughter Elise. She had a job that covered most of their needs and their apartment was in a nice area of town. Although it had been challenging to be a single parent, family and friends helped them when times were tough.
Then when she was sixteen, Elise became pregnant. Although Marion had talked with her daughter often about the difficulties of raising a child on your own, Elise decided to continue the pregnancy and keep her child.
Then, Elise delivered twin boys. Suddenly there were four mouths to fill instead of two, and the apartment became cluttered with baby clothes, toys and cribs. Marion remained the only support for the family, and times were even more of a challenge.
Fortunately, Marion had developed a relationship with United Way’s Community Resource Center. She knew when her shelves became bare, she could receive a referral to a local food pantry. She knew when the twins needed clothes, diapers or shoes, she could receive a referral to a local clothes closet. She knew that when the frustrations of being a single parent – or grandparent – threatened to overwhelm her, there always was a caring staff member at the CRC who would listen.
The Community Resource Center exemplifies United Way of Greater Williamsburg’s mission to improve people’s lives by mobilizing the caring power of our community.