Rhonda is a 33 year old African-American.When Rhonda first applied to Saranam, she had her own room at Joy Junction (shelter), but had several health and mental health issues.Rhonda had been homeless for ten years in many cities across the country.Rhonda and her children were invited to be part of Saranam.After a few months in the program she became increasingly anxious and chose to leave because of her current physical condition.Mental illness is Rhonda’s main reason for de-stabilization, but she was not yet ready to receive help.Saranam staff watched sadly as she left with her children and a shopping cart.
For a while, Rhonda and her children were able to stay with a friend, but that relationship soon dissolved.Again, Rhonda found herself on the streets.Fortunately, they were able to stay at a local shelter, but instead of having her own room as she did before, she was placed in the common area with other homeless men, women and children.
In August, two years after she had left Saranam, Rhonda reapplied to the program.Her current physical health was improved, and she expressed desire to attend to her mental health issues.Once again, Saranam invited Rhonda to be a resident in the program.Her children were then one and four years old.Rhonda went through the process of having her mental illness diagnosed, so that therapy could be provided.She had befriended another family in the program, and worked hard and was determined to succeed this time.
Now, two years after she was in the program the second time, Rhonda called to update us that she had her two boys are doing well, living in an apartment on the East Coast and asked for prayers for the winter season. Even as she moved away from Albuquerque, Saranam remains part of her community as she continues to live her life.
Ester has four children, and is a 35 year old Native American.Ester and her husband were active members of their Native American Pueblo.Ester’s destabilization came when her husband was ostracized from the pueblo due to criminal activity.As punishment, the pueblo also shunned Ester and the children.The rejection from the pueblo has been extremely traumatic to Ester and her children.Her husband is currently in prison, and Ester has since reconciled with the pueblo.It seems the more self sufficient she becomes, the more accepting the pueblo is of her and the children.
The last year in the Saranam program was a big year for Ester and her family.Ester graduated as medical office assistant and began working at a retirement community at which, over a year later, she still works.Ester completed the Saranam program as she became stable and able to support herself and her family. She continues to live in the same home she moved out into and her children are all doing very well.Ester and her family have been accepted back into their pueblo community and visit very often and are very involved with the family once again.
Sarah is a 28 year old Hispanic mother of three when she came to Saranam. Sarah and her children are survivors of domestic abuse, the cause of their homelessness. It took Sarah several years to escape the violence of living with her husband. She feared for her own and her children’s lives, but finally found the strength to get help and get out. While the abuser now is in prison, Sarah and her family are in therapy to work through the effects of this abuse. Sarah is learning the signs of abusive relationships to avoid future harmful relationships. Sarah has passed adult education, life skills training, and completed the medical office assistant coursework at the PIMA Medical Institute. Sarah and her family have moved into their own house through Section 8 housing. After completing the Saranam program, Sarah has remained stable for over three years now.She and her family live in the same house and are now having the opportunity to purchase it from the owner!She is managing two businesses and her children have all been doing well in school thanks to their stability.Sarah endured very hard times, but her will and tenacity allowed Saranam to assist her in the journey to self-sufficiency.
Saranam Resident Essay
My past once haunted me. I made bad decisions that sent me to prison. When I got out, I felt like society owed me something for the time I had lost. I quickly learned that it wasn’t myself who was owed, but society and my family. I tried to start over on my own, but did not get called for interviews because of my past. I was a single mother with three boys counting on me to make things right; to become the mother they once knew. I realized that in order to accomplish this, something or someone had to change – me. My first step was to get involved with Saranam. Saranam helped me put my past into perspective; weeding out people, thoughts, relationships, bad decisions, and bad habits that were poisoning me. Today, I see myself as a different person. I’m a successful single parent, a soccer and Cub Scout mom, and a serious student, on my way to earning my first degree in college.