December 2015- articles
A Success Story
By Trina S.
Paulina walks with a relaxed confidence. She is aware of her self-worth and her abilities. She greets people with a smile. She can now look at herself in the mirror and see the courageous woman that she is. It wasn’t always that way.
Paulina tells her story with strength and with tears. She had a relationship with her abuser that lasted a decade. When she found the courage to leave, it was difficult to build an independent life without the necessary tools. She had multiple health issues to contend with as well. Then she was involved in a fatal car accident. Paulina was one of the survivors. In the hospital and vulnerable, with a long recovery ahead of her, she allowed her abuser to return.
Eventually, the pattern of abuse re-emerged. Paulina relays how at times the emotional abuse was worse than the physical beatings. While she struggled to recover from the accident, the relationship drained her self-esteem and her strength. She was hospitalized again; this time as a result of violence from her abuser. Medical professionals informed her that if she continued the life she was leading, she wouldn’t survive.
Paulina is outspoken in her deep appreciation for CASA. She credits her faith for giving her strength and the belief that her life has a purpose. Strong family bonds help, too. She has become a powerhouse of determination, but credits CASA for providing the tools for her success. CASA connected her with legal counsel. She has a primary care doctor for the first time in her life. Her first day at Shelter, she found work through a job referral. Her health conditions made it difficult to talk on the phone for hours as the job required, particularly after a long commute. Still, she was grateful for the bus passes, excited about her new opportunities, and determined to persevere.
She visited the Resource Center for help to apply for food stamps. That led to setting up her first email account and enrolling in computer classes. She found a more suitable job with a much shorter commute and looks forward to achieving her next goal of living self-sufficiently in her own apartment. Until then, Paulina enjoys the nurturing environment at Shelter where she can take a tranquil bath, enjoy cooking for other residents, and live in peace in a safe place. A place, Paulina says, where “you feel loved, wanted, and needed.”