“I want you to really understand how much of a difference your support has made in my life and the lives of others who have gone on to better situations, the ones who are still here working on a better life, and the ones who will follow. Here’s my story…”
I was abandoned to the streets at 14…I got married at 15, thinking this would solve my problems with homelessness. At 22 I had an eighth grade education and two small babies to take care of alone. I was young and healthy and worked any job I could find. I would collect cans to supplement my income—anything to take care of my children.
I scored a good job working for a paint company by embellishing on my educational credentials. I stayed in the paint and ink industry for twenty-three years. It was extremely physical work. I carried around 50 pound buckets and threw around 450 pound drums of paint, but it gave me the income I needed to take care of my boys. I was happy that I had a career and thought I was set.
Then my company downsized and I lost my job. I thought no problem, with my experience I’ll just go get another job. But nobody wanted to hire an uneducated middle-aged woman. After several minimum wage jobs, I was employed by a car parts assembly company. It was hard work, but I was really happy to be working, even at a much lower pay than my previous employment. Then the market crashed and again I lost my job. There were no jobs to be found.
At this time my health started failing. I was starting to understand that I would not be able to do the physical jobs that I had always held, and I needed more education. I was seven days away from being back on the streets when I was approved to move into Jubilee. I was scared… But most women here are like me—things did not go well for them for some reason, and they need time to find a different path.
Because all of us have been through a devastating situation, we find strength and support in each other. From the outside looking in it would seem impossible that so many women living together would work out so well. But understand, we are power. The women that come through here for one reason or another have lost their way, but are not giving up. We gain back our strength through each other.
My personal experience right now is fighting cancer, which I do with the same zest that I have approached every other obstacle in my life…With the help of all of my sisters here, I have more support on so many different levels than I could ever have in a family situation. Don’t discount that my family loves me, but they are scared and sometimes feel helpless…The real power in this house is the knowledge that we have our worth because of our ability to help each other. We are not isolated islands but a community of caring and support.
Although I have had a few setbacks, with the support of our wonderful staff I am getting through school while fighting my cancer. They have encouraged me through my failures and rejoice with me through my accomplishments. I am close to having my AA degree in Psychology. I plan to transfer to the UW for further educational opportunities and continue to the independent woman I have always been.
You make this all possible with your dedication to us. You are giving us room to regain our lost ground and head out into the lives we are meant to live. Bless all of you and thank you for your generosity and love.
-An extraordinary Jubilee woman
click for more
Equal opportunity is available for all low-income adult women without respect to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, citizenship, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation or any other bias protected by federal, state or local law.