“I’ve walked in their shoes!”
Tiffany counsels and guides the homeless women and mothers with children who come to our Emergency Shelter. She’s very good at what she does, because she knows exactly what they are going through.
“I was in foster care at 13 and pregnant at 17. I was a domestic violence victim. I’ve been incarcerated and on parole. I’ve lost my children to CPS [Child Protective Services]. I was dying for someone to love and care about me.”
Tiffany had seven children when she became homeless for the first time. They had been taken away and she was living in the San Diego river bed. “I prayed to God to keep me alive,” she says. God answered her prayers, taking Tiffany out of an abusive relationship. “I got a job and an apartment, and met my late husband.”
The couple had a child, “Little Waltie,” but became homeless shortly after his birth. Another shelter referred them to the Rescue Mission, where Tiffany’s husband went into our residential recovery program.
Tiffany and her son stayed in our emergency shelter. And even though they had to sleep on mats on the floor, Tiffany says today, “it was the greatest thing that ever happened to my family!”
Eventually, Tiffany was accepted into the recovery program at our Women and Children’s Center. “For the first couple of months, I was very rebellious, but the class that reached me was on grief. One of my daughters was adopted, and I don’t know where she is. I lost her, and it took a long time for me to deal with that.”
Four months into her recovery, Tiffany decided she wanted to go back to school. She began classes at City College in drug and alcohol treatment, graduated with high honors and went on to Ashford University where she also graduated with honors. She is now working toward her master’s degree in psychology, and plans to get her PhD!
Tiffany sees her time as a homeless mother as “on the job training by God.” “I don’t think I’d be doing what I am now if it wasn’t for my experiences. The Rescue Mission has been my family since I first walked through that door, and we will continue to be a family for those who need us.”
To read the last issue of Life Line, click here.