Eight years ago, I told my daughter what to tell her preschool teachers if they asked where she and her mommy lived. "We're city camping," I instructed.
We lived in my minivan then. We had no family support or health care, mainly because I had been addicted to drugs for years. The only time I sobered up was when I was pregnant with my daughter.
After a few years of this, we moved out of the van and into an SRO hotel. I was still doing drugs. But another pregnancy was a reality check, as it can be for many addicted, homeless women. I'd been raised around addicts and made bad decisions. But pregnancy meant I was making bad decisions for someone else.
I got us into a family shelter and quit drugs. The shelter connected me to a local nonprofit where a case manager taught me about prenatal health and helped me make sure my son-to-be was as healthy and beautiful as any other.
Nancy helped me find housing and inspired me to apply for job training that led to a position doing community outreach. More than programs and jobs, though, Nancy gave me resolve and strength to stay in recovery and find purpose for myself and my family.