Marissa’s Story

how you changed Marissa’s life forever

I was a mother with one child and another on the way, having walked away from an abusive relationship and I was scared. I felt so alone, at least until I found A New Leaf’s Autumn House. The staff there welcomed me with open arms and smiles of encouragement. Judgment was not passed on me. Instead, I found that Autumn House was a safe place with helpful staff, who worked to help me get back on my feet.

The first night I got there, I called my mom, crying. I could not believe this was how my life was turning out. Here I am, at a shelter, with a two year old and 8 months pregnant. All I kept thinking is: “there is no way I can stay here. I would rather go back and live with my abuser.” I thought that being in a shelter marked the lowest of the lows for me as a mother. When the night staff person came to do a night check, she saw me crying and asked if I was okay. I explained how I felt so low as a mother, and embarrassed that I was there. 

“I was a mother with one child and another on the way, having walked away from an abusive relationship and I was scared.”

She sat me down and explained to me that this was not permanent. This was to help me become a better mother for my kids and to keep them away from violence. I shouldn’t be embarrassed to be here. I should be proud of myself for taking the first step to helping my family. There is nothing embarrassing about that.

I realized she was right. I don’t want my children to grow up thinking it is okay for anyone to hit them or speak down to them. I held my head up, thanked the staff member for helping me, and promised myself to make the best of this situation.

 The next morning, I spoke with my counselor. We worked on three main goals for me, to get a job, find housing, and to get counseling to address my trauma. She was very understanding and helped me connect with many resources that I never knew existed in the community. She also explained to me that this is not permanent, that I CAN get through this, and they are there to help me. And they all did, whether they knew it or not.

Being in a shelter, away from friends and family, living with random people with different issues, all dealing with domestic violence, is hard and very depressing. But every time I walked into the office, the staff members had smiles on their faces and always did their best to help with whatever I needed. 

“Because of Autumn House, I am now living in an apartment with my two children. I owe a lot to Autumn House for helping me get back on my feet.”

That five minutes of being around positive people changed my mood instantly. I started to realize that this is how life should be: happy, positive, and bright. Not how life was before: hurtful, dark and lonely. Every two weeks I had a meeting with my counselor and they helped me stay on track. 

Because of Autumn House, I am now living in an apartment with my two children. I owe a lot to Autumn House for helping me get back on my feet. They helped me build myself back up and I am so much better now. I could not be more thankful.

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