They Didn’t Give Up On Me

When Donna came to Bell Family Shelter, she had been homeless for over a year. After leaving the house where she had been staying which was in utter disrepair and about to be condemned, she lived on the streets. Throughout the year, she spent time at LifePath’s Women and Children’s Shelter, but her options were running out, and she wanted to find a place where she and her brother could stay together. She was beginning to feel hopeless. Eventually, she made her way to Bell Family Shelter where she connected with mental health case manager Pat Graham.  

Patricia Graham, Donna’s case worker at Bell Family Shelter.

Throughout Donna’s stay, Pat and the other staff did all they could to make Donna feel empowered and supported. Even when Donna stormed up to her room after another housing application of hers was rejected, Pat followed her, sat on her bed, and gave her a warm hug. “She told me, ‘It ain’t over. It ain’t over,’” Donna shared. “They wouldn’t let me quit.”

 After an extended stay at the shelter, Donna was accepted into Turning Point’s permanent housing program and is now happily housed with her brother, both doing well and receiving continued case management services. While her exit from the Shelter was bittersweet, the staff couldn’t be happier for her. “I don’t know of anyone better deserving than Donna,” says a misty-eyed Pat.

At Pat’s nomination, Donna received a Personal Achievement Award at Bell’s annual celebration this past October for the commitment and emotional work she put in at the Shelter. “She followed up on every recommendation and piece of guidance we offered,” Pat told us. Donna regularly undertook extra chores on behalf of the other residents, laughing off continual warnings of write-ups. Her peaceful, positive attitude left a lasting impression on the staff and residents during her stay at the shelter. “We didn’t wanna see her leave,” Pat says. 

Your support of Bell Family Shelter helps people like Donna find their next steps during difficult times. In Pat’s words, “Some of them have no one to turn to. Some of them, we may have to carry. Some of them, all they need is a little guidance.” If you want to help someone this holiday season and beyond, please consider making a gift of support, particularly with an Adopt-A-Day gift that covers the costs of running the Shelter for a day. Your contributions are crucial to the success of hundreds of people every year and very much appreciated!

(P.S. If you want to hear Donna’s testimony, check out her video on the Bell YouTube channel!)