Australia had always had a job to support herself and her two sons. After switching to working part time in order to pursue her education full time, however, she wasn’t able to keep up with rent.
“I got one month behind in my rent, and I didn’t have a place to go, not even a relative or a friend or a boyfriend or anything where we could just go,” she remembers. Australia’s sister advised her to go into shelter.
Australia made and her sons were placed in transitional housing—a stabilizing step for families who are coming out of homelessness—for 22 months. During this time, she was able to pay off bills and save money. As she worked to make her situation more stable, she realized she had the inner strength and motivation to give back and help others.
One way that Australia gave back was by organizing YW’s Donation Closet, a resource of household supplies for families. Her organizational skills helped the agency better serve families in situations similar to what Australia had been in. She can relate to the importance of the items there, saying, “It’s good to have something that makes it feel that your house is still a home.”
Now, Australia has a full time job and she rents a home for her family. She one day hopes to buy her own home for her boys to enjoy while they’re still young.
Her success is what the staff at YWCA St. Paul work their hearts out for each and every day.
“It’s more than just a community center, it’s more than just a place to work out,” she says. “It’s a place where people’s lives change, and without it the outcome would be different.”
“It’s a place where people’s lives change, and without it the outcome would be different.”—Australia