Responsibility started at an early age for Cherrie*. At 9-years-old, she was the primary caregiver for her mother who suffered from seizures and mental health issues, while her father was absent from the home . At age18, Cherrie was tragically the one who found her mother dead in their home.
Cherrie turned to drugs and alcohol in an attempt to ease the pain and trauma she had experienced. The drugs and alcohol only compounded her problems and she ended up living a homeless lifestyle for many years - traveling with a band of other homeless folks, living in abandoned houses, or camping in the woods with next to nothing. Cherrie ultimately lost custody of her son while she spent time in jail. Incidentally, it was her experience of being imprisoned with “lifers” (prisoners with lifetime sentences) that inspired Cherrie to initiate meaningful change.
“Being in prison was the best thing that ever happened to me – I mean, besides Jesus, of course!” Cherrie laughed. “It allowed me to see this really wasn’t how I wanted to spend my life. Even when I was homeless, wandering these streets and experiencing so many crazy things, I knew the Lord was with me, and I sensed Him encouraging me that He was going to use my story to encourage others. It never made sense to me at the time,” Cherrie reflected.
Today, Cherrie and her young son are living in one of Elevate LIves’ Homes with a Purpose. Having a place of her own allows her older son to visit for extended periods of time and provides a stable, safe home for her children to grow and flourish – complete with a fenced yard and close to her grandmother!
Today Cherrie can be found working hard at her job and eagerly attending classes. She has been able to reunite with her step-sister and, through that bond, has begun forming a relationship with her dad for the first time. Cherrie and her family are headed in the right direction, with support from Elevate Lives.
Will you volunteer or donate today to help families like Cherrie’s?
*names have been changed