Sharing our families’ stories is important. Our families are Safe Haven. Clint came to Safe Haven in September 2009 with his wife and 7 month old son, Chase. Everyone immediately fell in love with Chase… he is just such a cute kid! Clint’s story is one of many ups and downs.
Soon after coming to SHFS, his wife decided to move to another program- one that Clint was not able to enter with her and Chase. At first, Chase stayed with Clint, then eventually moved to the program with his mother. This really devastated Clint, as his little boy was his whole life. We allowed Clint to stay in our program for quite a while, hoping that he might be granted full custody of his son. During that time, and with much encouragement and therapy, Clint really started to see his own worth as an individual. He has spend so much of his adult life following in the footsteps of his wife, following her bad decisions, that he forgot that he was his own person with his own dreams.
Clint became a very special client for all of us. We really got to see Clint grow and blossom. It has been amazing to see Clint make good decisions and gain his own self-worth. Since leaving our program, Clint has gone on to receive his GED through our partner agency, Nashville OIC. He was even the guest speaker at their annual dinner a couple weeks ago. He has also been able to maintain a job and is currently in another Transitional Housing program, saving his money, and working towards getting his own apartment. He comes back regularly to visit us and calls me almost weekly to check in. He has been and will continue to be a joy to work with!
When I asked Clint what Safe Haven has meant to him, this is what he told me:
“It was life changing. I focused on what I needed to do. I changed the way I was thinking. Before, I was just following my wife, whatever decisions she made. Many of those decisions were not good and got our family into trouble and homelessness. Since being at Safe Haven, I realized I have to take control of my life and make the decisions that are best and what I think is best. I got my GED in March. I didn’t think I was worthy before and that changed while I was at Safe Haven- the support, the counseling, y’all just helped me out a whole lot. My attitude changed, and I knew I could do it. Getting the GED is just a start. I know I can reach other goals, too. The staff was just kind and good and accepted me. Y’all were the best. It was the first time I had help from individuals who weren’t related to me, showed pure love. Even though I am no longer at Safe Haven, I still come back. I love y’all. This is my home in Tennessee.” -Clint, March 20, 2012
Jennifer Reason, LBSW is the Program Director at Safe Haven Family Shelter.