For 14 years, Shalonda endured domestic violence. Although she was afraid for her life, she didn’t think she was strong enough to leave. It was her daughter, Aniya, who helped her to find the courage. “I’m raising a young girl,” she explains. “And she’s going to grow up to be a woman—I had to let her know that what she saw me going through was not okay.”
Determined to make a new life for herself and her daughter, Shalonda fled to a shelter and later, enrolled in our Transitional Housing Program. Although starting over is a daunting task, with support and encouragement Shalonda began to believe in herself and to set ambitious goals.
She always regretted dropping out of school as a teen and made earning a GED her first goal. Within six months, she achieved her goal and the success inspired her to dream bigger. “I was proud of myself,” she says. “That’s when I told myself I could go further.”
Today Shalonda has completed her first year of college and plans to pursue a degree in criminal justice. A new life in front of her, she knows that she and Aniya are on the right track. In just two short years everything has changed. “I feel like I’m stronger, I’m wiser and I respect myself,” she says.
“I feel like I’m stronger, I’m wiser and I respect myself.”—Shalonda