Sybil Weaver shares about ther mission volunteering with the children living at STVCC Children's Home and Refugees coming to Lansing.
Dave Herring shares his heartfelt story about volunteering with the children living at STVCC Children's Home.
Book Club Volunteers
Although Book Club is a time for education, it is just as much a time for healing.
When All Hope Was Lost...As a young girl Jacqlyn was neglected and abused, both sexually and physically. At twelve years old she was given marijuana and then crack cocaine. At only twelve, “the war [the addiction] began; I didn’t care about anything or anyone. Being brought up in an abusive home, it [crack] helped me escape,” recalls Jacqlyn.
Self medicating with drugs did not numb the painful memories of abuse. Jacqlyn was suicidal and at age thirteen had her first drug over dose. Throughout her addiction she would go on to experience twelve more drug overdoses. Each time she overdosed, Jacqlyn was sent to a children’s rehabilitation center near her home town, but upon completion of the program she would be sent back home to the abuse.
Jacqyln had one kind woman in her life who had always offered to help and wanted to adopt Jaqclyn as a child. Unfortunately, Jacqlyn was not available for adoption.
At sixteen years old Jacqlyn left home to get away from the abuse, but she still carried the scars of abuse and addiction with her. She lived on the streets and ate out of the trash. The addiction and homelessness as a teenager took her as far as prostitution. She went on to have two children who she placed up for adoption. When Jacqlyn was pregnant she had good intentions to quit, she wanted to do what was right. Nevertheless, the pull to the drug; to forget the memories and the pain, was strong. Jacqyln recalls when she went back to using crack. “I remember rocking and just praying to God, please protect this child [growing inside], don’t blame her for the wrong I have done,” said Jacqlyn.
Jacqlyn decided to give her children up for adoption, “I saw other addicted women selling the clothes off their babies’ backs. Letting go of my children was the best thing I could have done for them.” Jacqlyn asked the same woman who had been so kind to her when she was a child to adopt her children and the woman did.
However, there is always hope. On Christmas Eve 2005 Jaqclyn spent the night with another young woman. They got high on drugs all night and the other woman went on to sleep through Christmas day. Jacqlyn spent Christmas day with the other woman’s children and it made her reflect on her own two little ones that she had given up because of her addiction. Jacqlyn prayed and on December 27th, 2005 she used her dealer’s phone to call her pastor for help. “I totally surrendered myself to God. I had never done that before. I’d be dead if Jesus wasn’t there,” said Jacqlyn. Jacqlyn was pregnant with her third child.
January 1st, 2006 was not only the beginning of a new year, but a new life for Jacqlyn. Jacqlyn stopped using and nine months later gave birth to her daughter Jocelyn. On May 10th, 2007 Jacqlyn came to receive services through St. Vincent Catholic Charities’ Housing Support for Homeless Families; a one to two year program to help local homeless become successfully self-sufficient.
Through STVCC, Jacqlyn received her own apartment in the St. Vincent Catholic Charities Ballentine Stepping Stones building and received case work support from an STVCC case manager, Phyllis.
Jacqlyn never had a positive role model or previous experience with being a mother. STVCC helped her learn healthy parenting skills through classes and support. In order to help Jacqlyn’s progress toward obtaining long term housing, STVCC coached Jacqlyn in budgeting and financial skills. Through educational support STVCC helped assist Jacqlyn as she began working toward obtaining her GED. In addition to parenting, financial, and educational support, emotional and spiritual health is essential to long term success so counseling for past abuse and pain were also provided to Jacqlyn through STVCC.
Jacqlyn graduated from the St. Vincent Catholic Charities (STVCC) program in June of 2008. Today, at twenty five years old, Jacqlyn is still sober and has no desire to get high. She says that it’s as if the desire has been taken from her. STVCC assisted her in finding an affordable apartment and furniture. Both Jacqlyn and her beautiful daughter, Jocelyn, moved into their own home.
Today Jacqlyn is close to taking her GED test and is looking to the future. Jacqlyn feels a call now to the ministry; she wants to reach out and give back. During our interview I asked Jacqlyn what message she would like to give to others who are living in addiction or are homeless. This is Jacqlyn’s message, “I thought this is life; this is it. But I was being deceived, I was being lied to. There is hope in Christ Jesus. I went through it and overcame it and you can also.”
Jacqlyn and Jocelyn keep in contact and have visited with the mother of Jacqlyn’s other two biological children who are now four and five years old.
Jacqlyn still has a close relationship with her STVCC case worker, Phyllis, “I love that woman. She goes the extra mile. She lets us know we do belong and there’s more hope. She is the mother I never had,” said Jacqlyn.
If you would like to learn more about STVCC Services for the Homeless CLICK HERE.