Starting a New Life in Emergency Shelter
When Maria was safely escorted to Sistercare’s emergency shelter by a police officer, she was scared. With her five-year old daughter in tow, all she had for the two of them was a small bag hastily packed with a few items. Her handbag contained $27.
After leaving her abuser of eight years to seek shelter with Sistercare, Maria didn’t know what to expect. However, as soon as she arrived, a Sistercare Shelter Advocate immediately made her feel safe and secure. Maria and her daughter were given a clean room, clothing, toiletries and a hot meal.
The Shelter Advocate privately met with Maria to complete a danger assessment. Understanding she was at risk, Maria felt comforted knowing she and her daughter could reside in a confidential location and if needed, law enforcement could be at the premises in two minutes.
The Shelter Advocate explained to Maria that while at the shelter she would work with a Resource Counselor to develop an individual plan to meet her needs. It would outline a plan for securing a job, finding housing, continuing education, creating a household budget and utilizing available community resources. The Shelter Advocate also explained about individual and group counseling at the shelter, along with life skills workshops and children’s counseling. As the days went by, Maria began to feel empowered and ready to take control of her life. She worked with the Resource Counselor to create a resume and began applying for jobs. She attended group counseling and participated in individual counseling. Her daughter also received counseling from the Children’s Counselor, and Maria was even able to receive holiday gifts for her daughter from generous donors. While living in emergency shelter is an adjustment,many battered women like Maria take advantage of the services Sistercare offers in order to make the first steps in living a life free from interpersonal violence.
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