From the battlegrounds of war to the front lines of the today’s COVID-19 pandemic, The Salvation Army has been known for giving hope in a time of crisis. For Michelle, age 34, that hope has appeared more than once. The first time it appeared was in 2018 when she found refuge after her boyfriend was verbally and physically abusive to her. Because she had witnessed her mother being killed by her stepfather earlier in life, Michelle knew she had to do something to prevent repeating the cycle. Determined to keep her kids safe, Michelle formed a plan to start a new life. When she got the chance to leave, she took it. However, she felt that she had nowhere to go.
After asking around, she found out about the women’s Center of Hope shelter at the Salvation Army in Birmingham. She and her family lived in an apartment with another family who were going through the same situation. During her stay at the shelter, Michelle also entered in The Salvation Army’s Education and Workplace Development program. The program helps individuals to sustain employment through job readiness as well as life and educational training. “It took me longer to finish the program, because of being in and out of the courts about my ex-boyfriend,” said Michelle. “But my counselors were patient and encouraged me. Ms. Lilly and Ms. Omisha were there for me all the way.” Michelle also had the opportunity to choose a career that interested her. “I had always wanted to go into Real Estate,” she said. “It’s been a passion with me for a long time.” Thanks to The Salvation Army’s financial support, Michelle was able to realize her dream and obtain her Real Estate license in 2020.
As soon as Michelle was ready to build her client base to start a new career, the COVID-19 pandemic put everything on hold. Even with two jobs, Michelle was still struggling to pay her rent. Michelle soon found hope again as she learned she was eligible for The Salvation Army’s COVID-19 financial assistance program. The program has allowed her and her family to keep a roof over their head while Michelle prepares for a new career. “The Salvation Army really made me look at myself and seek out my passion. The Salvation Army is always there to help you.”
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