I want to take a minute to introduce Kierra and her family to you. Kierra came to the shelter at the end of May. She is one of the most motivated people that I have worked with in our programs. Despite her share of obstacles, she keeps her chin up and has a positive attitude. Kierra is a great example of someone who takes advantage, in a good way, of all the opportunities that can come from Safe Haven. At this time, she is working as a certified nursing assistant with plans to become an LPN and then an RN. But one of her biggest dreams is to have some of her writing published. In an effort to foster that dream, I asked her to write a blog entry for Safe Haven, highlighting her journey over the last several months. If you ever get the chance to meet Kierra, you will see that she has a big personality and a big heart, and she is always willing to tell you about the exciting things going on for her right now.
Jennifer Reason, LBSW is the Program Director at Safe Haven Family Shelter.
Here is Kierra’s story in her own words:
“My stay at Safe Haven Family Shelter” – By Kierra
I came to Tennessee to find myself as a person, to focus on being a better mother and to be more responsible for myself. But after only a week in Nashville, I faced a similar situation to the one I had just left back home. It left me with no choice but to find a shelter for me and my children. I’m not from Tennessee, so I had no idea where to start. However, just like any determined mother, I began to search for a safe place to stay. I began with the yellow pages, and soon came across a shelter, which had an open bed for that night. I was thankful to have found a place for me and my children to lay our heads, and keep safe for the night.
However, once I arrived there, I felt that I was living a real-life nightmare. I had never stayed at a shelter before, and it was the worst experience ever. That said, it also made me open my eyes and want more out of life. It was the weekend, so I had no choice but to stay there for the weekend or go back home. I did not like either option, and I was determined to make my situation better. The following Monday I met a wonderful lady named Angela. We talked for a couple minutes, and she told me that the shelter was not a good place for me and my children. We talked a little more. She gave me her card and told me to call her if she could help me with anything. Soon after we were done talking, I put my pride aside and called her. She picked up and immediately and began telling me about Safe Haven Family Shelter. She gave me the number and Jennifer Reason’s name. From that day I have grown as a person and mother. Jennifer returned my phone call and was as sweet as could be. Jennifer simply asked about my situation and the reason I had relocated. She then asked me to come in and fill out an application and take a drug test. Once everything was processed, she told me, I could move in immediately.
All I could do was thank God. May 26, 2012: I felt like God gave me a second chance to prove to myself that I could be successful and happy. Safe Haven has opened countless doors for me and my children. It has so many opportunities and programs: on-site parenting advice, financial guidance, therapy and computer skills training. These programs have helped me help myself and my situation. All I had to do was meet them half way, and they have lent me helping hand and support. That’s something I don’t even get from my own family.
While at Safe Haven, I enrolled into the Franklin Nurse’s Assistant program to become a certified nurse technician (CNT). On June 26, I completed the CNT program with a 92% score. I am now working at Bethany Place, but I am not just stopping there. This coming January I will be attending Tennessee Technology Center, to get my LPN certificate, and shortly after that I will bridge over to become a RN. I have become more dedicated to my career and my life goals thanks to Safe Haven Family Shelter and its staff.
By staying focused and motivated, everything is finally falling in place. Jennifer (SHFS Program Director) and Joyce (SHFS Executive Director) have seen my motivation and devotion to making a better life for me and my family. They have selected me to go into their transitional housing in Berry Hill. I have since move out of the Safe Haven Shelter and into our home (SHFS Transitional Housing). I was recently accepted into New Level Community Development Corporation. I am very grateful for the NLCDC helping me learn to budget, clean up and build my credit.
I continue to create and strive for new goals. Once I am financially stable, I plan to complete a book and become a motivational speaker for other single mothers who feel or think there is no way out of the struggles. I am a living witness that even through crisis all things are possible…even when we may think it’s not. I have learned on this journey to always pray and stay focused on the positive things in life.