Thank you so much for taking the time to learn about the work we do at Lake County Haven.
Today, and every day, thanks to people like you, homeless women and children are given a chance to make the difficult climb out of homelessness.
Thanks to you, they have had a safe place to call home, counseling to help them heal from the trauma of homelessness, and life-skills training to ensure that they will be able to provide for their families for generations to come.
Not only that, but volunteers have given of their time and talent to provide meals, decorate for the holidays, grant holiday wishes, host educational groups, and plan our special events. We hope that reading about one of our families will help illustrate just how vital your support is.
Kristin doesn’t really remember her biological parents. Even though she was in grade school when she and her brother were adopted, she has very few memories from that time. What she does remember is that she was simply so grateful to be able to remain with her brother, who had a lot of special needs. They were adopted into a loving family with parents who truly cared for them and tried to build a home of love and support.
But this wasn’t enough to undo the years of trauma that Kristin and her brother had endured. Kristin felt she was responsible for her brother’s well-being and continued to feel the pressure of caretaking him. Kristin herself struggled with her mental health and what she would later find out was severe bipolar disorder. Her adoptive parents did everything they could to help Kristin, but it was too much for them to handle on their own and Kristin continued to struggle with extreme emotional swings.
This caused much turmoil within the family, and when Kristin turned 18, she left the only real home she had ever known. She cut herself off from them, calling in only periodically to check in on her brother. On her own, Kristin continued to struggle. She used alcohol to numb her emotions, but it only made things worse. Kristin went from job to job and house to house. She thought about going home more times than she could count but was always too ashamed.
Then, Kristin found out she was pregnant. This changed everything. She entered a treatment facility that helped her learn to live without alcohol to cover up her trauma. She met with a psychiatrist, who helped her understand that she has a mental health condition called bipolar disorder that is causing her extreme highs and lows. Kristin learned that she could learn to live with bipolar but would need medication to help balance her body, and therapy to help her deal with her past traumas.
With this new understanding of her mental health needs and journey towards becoming a new mom, Kristin knew that she was going to need a lot of help. With nobody else to turn to, Kristin started looking for other options. That is when she found the Haven.
When she moved in, Kristin was 4 months pregnant. She was terrified about becoming a mother. “How am I going to get a job?” “Where will we live?” “Will my child also have bipolar?” “How do I even be a mom?”
It was a long and difficult road, and Kristin stayed at the Haven a bit longer than most. She was with us through her pregnancy, and we were able to be there for her as she became a mother. Kristin had a house full of help and support – through labor and delivery, sleepless nights, and those first months of getting to know her baby and herself as “mom”.
Once the baby came, Kristin needed some more time to establish her routine with her new little one and continue to get support for her mental health but also to find a job and start saving money so she would be able to support her family.
Thanks to you, the Haven was here to help her get everything they needed. Kristin continued counseling to address her childhood trauma and started on medication to help her balance her moods. She found a job and was able to find a local daycare for her little one.
But what’s more, Kristin felt she was in a place where she could finally reach out to her family. For the first time, she was proud of herself and her choices. Kristin called her parents and shared her journey with them. And her call was answered with nothing but love and support. They were excited to meet their new grandchild, and her brother was so happy to be an uncle!
After the shelter, Kristin moved on to the Haven’s Stage II Transitional Housing Program. This gave them a chance to try living on their own in an apartment, but while being close to the supports of the Haven and allowing them a chance to save some money and further establish their routine as a family. But soon, Kristin was ready for a place of her own. She found an apartment in the community and began her new life.
Kristin reached out just a few weeks ago. She had just gotten married and was able to share the day with her mom, dad, brother, and little girl. She was so grateful for the guidance and support she received at the Haven, giving her a chance to start a new life for her growing family. Thank you so much for making this all possible.
Your friends at Lake County Haven