The following story is about a woman we call Mary. Mary’s story is true, but we changed her name to protect her privacy.
Thanks to support from people like you and the extraordinary work of our partner organizations, Mary’s story has a happy ending. Mary is proof that when we live united we can create powerful, positive, lifelong changes in the lives of the members of our community.
Here is Mary’s story …
Mary moved to Columbus 10 years ago with dreams of happily ever after. She had three children and a loving boyfriend. Her future felt bright.
But, shortly after settling here, things started to change with her boyfriend. She found herself in an abusive relationship. She was scared for her own safety, but more importantly, she was worried about the safety of her children.
In her darkest hour, Mary remembers huddling over her children in a dark room. She was alone and frightened and had no one to turn to. As she watched her innocent children sleeping on her only possession, a towel she grabbed as she ran out the door, reality sank in. How would she feed her children, where would they live, and, most importantly, how would she keep her children safe from her abusive boyfriend?
In the midst of her panic, Mary remembered a conversation she overheard at the grocery story about a phone number to call for help. Left with no other options, Mary took a deep breath and dialed 2-1-1.
Mary’s first step to a better life was her decision to dial 2-1-1 for help. She had no idea what would happen, but she had no other options. She gripped the phone tightly and hoped for the best. The voice on the other end seemed kind and helpful. She told Mary about Turing Point and the shelter for women and children. After her first night at the shelter, Mary felt safe and could imagine a positive future for her children.
While Turning Point created a safe place for Mary and her children, without a job she had no way to buy food or clothing or pay the deposit for an apartment. Again, Mary called 2-1-1 for help. This time a man answered the phone and suggested she call Love Chapel for food assistance. He also said Sans Souci provides clothing for job interviews. Mary started applying for jobs. Soon Mary had a job interview and because of Sans Souci, had the perfect interview outfit to wear. She caught on fast to her new job, and was able to save money for a deposit on an apartment in just a few months. With her support from Sans Souci, Mary gained the confidence she needed to apply for a job at a major Columbus employer, where she has worked for the past five years. Today, Mary proudly pays for everything she and her children need with her own money.
Mary accepted her job with joy, but as she walked out the door a new anxiety nearly took her breath away. While the pay would be enough to buy basic essentials, it would not be enough to cover the costs of child care. Hoping for another miracle, Mary dialed 2-1-1. She was overjoyed to learn about Children, Inc. She couldn’t believe that she could afford such a wonderful place for her children to go while she was at work. Each day on the car ride home, Mary loved hearing her children’s delightful chatter about the arts and crafts time, the games they played with the other children, the books they were reading and the science experiments they had conducted. For the first time since moving to Columbus, Mary could see her happily ever after.
Today, Mary has a new life. She has a good job and is self-sufficient. Her children are doing well, which is apparent by their smiles and laughter, and have grown into successful students and members of our community.
In an effort to show her gratitude, Mary has become a passionate and loyal United Way supporter. She leads the United Way campaign at her workplace and makes a generous personal donation every year.