The new HAR FLAME program, soon to be introduced on our HAR Web site, will highlight the generous “giving” spirit of our membership by displaying community service hours. Join HAR and GHBA in facilitating the construction and renovation of homes like Gracewood through the efforts of HomeAid Houston.
HomeAid Houston identifies homeless agencies that either need additional beds or have a structure that needs remodeling. HomeAid is sponsored by the Greater Houston Builders Association and as of 2010, has added 390 beds to Houston’s homeless community, working in partnership with generous GHBA builders, remodelers, developers, associates, vendors, suppliers and our donors. These beds have provided days and nights of caring for 4,500 homeless women and children in Houston.
For more information on HomeAid Houston contact:
Executive Director Bette Moser CAPS, CGA, CGP
9511 West Sam Houston Parkway North
Houston, Texas 77064
(281) 970-8970 ext.145
A Testimonial From One Woman Who Benefitted From Gracewood
My name is Faith and I was born in Houston, Texas in 1976. I attended school in the Houston Public School System where I was an excellent student. I was always described as the shy, timid one. At the age of 14, I was forced to leave my mother’s security after my stepfather molested me.
As a child, I pictured getting married, having children, and living happily ever after. Well, that is not how my story goes. Actually, what happened is the complete opposite. At the age of 19, I had my first child in 1995, out of wedlock. I dropped out of school my senior year and got a job. I still had hopes for a future. The father of my child was seven years older than me and very controlling. I was very young and had mistaken this for love. During my pregnancy, he became very abusive-physically, mentally and emotionally. I felt empty emotionally, and drained mentally, and this took a toll on my health; daily I experienced headaches and stomach aches.
People may ask why stay in such a horrible situation. I stayed because leaving would jeopardize my life and those around me. I kept this abuse secret for a long time-two years to be exact. People only found out when the bruises were too visible for me to hide. He began to threaten the lives of my family and friends; I was continually in fear of what he would do if I left. After the birth of my second child in 1997, I left him for the sake of my children. He came and got us. I could not stay with family or friends because everyone was afraid of him. After years of physical abuse, I left him again and prayed for God to protect my children and me.
I left him only to find myself in another unhealthy relationship. My children and I moved in with relatives and that was emotionally and mentally taxing on my children and me. After three years of struggling to keep my sanity, I was asked to leave. I suddenly found myself without a place to care for my children. I was working fulltime for Macy’s, and the job alone was overwhelming and left me without time to deal with a crisis as large as this one.
I was without any other family to lean on, forcing me to separate my children. I continued to go to work while trying to find a place for my family to live.
Unfortunately, the money I made at Macy’s was not enough to sustain a residence and provide for three children. My youngest child, Aisha, and I stayed at the Star of Hope mission. This was one of the worst times of my life, but I thank God that she was only two at the time and will not remember this humiliating experience. I tried to hide my situation from co-workers and friends. Eventually I was forced to talk to my manager and HR personnel about my situation. After communicating what was going on, I was given a list of shelters. I called several places without any luck. One of the flyers in the list was for Gracewood.
After reading the flyer, I knew Gracewood was the place that my children and I needed to escape this dilemma. After several calls to Gracewood’s program coordinator, I was told they did not have any space. I believed that God had written it in his plans for my family to plant our roots at Gracewood. I read the flyer every night: ‘Gracewood is a transitional living facility for motivated women and children fleeing crisis situations.’ That was my family.
Never in my life had I heard God so clearly. He told me not to give up on Gracewood, that he had a specific time for my family and me. So I mustered the courage to call one more time.
Finally, the program coordinator informed me that they had an available space. My children and I were separated for almost two months. We moved into Gracewood August 2008, just in time for school to start.
Since I arriving at Gracewood, I have received my GED and I am currently attending Houston Community College. I will be attending Houston Baptist University in the fall where I plan to obtain my Masters degree in Education. My children and I have grown emotionally and spiritually; God has used Gracewood to bless my family with grace and mercy. Most of all we have been given the gift of time and security. Gracewood provides us with a stable home to mend our hearts, minds and spirits.
Every day I thank God for his declaration of a plan for a hope and a future.