Lauren* was a young woman with two small children who came into our shelter seeking help. She had experienced abuse throughout her life and had been on the run from her ex- husband for the past 3 years. He had beat her, called her names, and threatened to kill her on many occasions. When she got pregnant with their 2nd child, he left her and abandoned their family. Since he had controlled all of the finances, she was left with nothing and forced into homelessness with her two small children.
When she came to NOA, she was at her wit’s end, tired and hopeless. After coming into shelter, she was able to heal–physically, psychologically, and emotionally. She committed completely to the 90-day program, taking advantage of all counseling opportunities, life skills classes, and support groups. Lauren and her children thrived. We could see a significant, positive change in all of them. During her time here, we were able to work with her to pursue SSI Disability and get her into a nice home of her own with the help of our community resource, Ninth District Opportunity. She has continued to live in that home and has participated in women’s support group and counseling every week. Lauren’s story, like so many, is one of tremendous personal growth and healing. It is such a distinct honor to walk alongside these women on the road to freedom, offering what help we can during such times of extreme crisis.
“Leave yesterday behind. Let hope guide you to a sunny new tomorrow.”
A client writes: “NOA entered my life 3 years ago after a lifetime of abuse. Without the help of their programs and their expertise, I don’t know what would have happened to me. Today with NOA’s help, I have a job, an apartment, and my own car, but the road wasn’t easy and it hurt. It still hurts to think about … how I calmly stood at the kitchen sink when he struck me, my pregnant body not able to move away fast enough, I didn’t even know he was home. After the sting of the initial hit faded away, his fingers wrapped themselves around my throat. There was little chance I could fight him off, I was only 17. I struggled to get away, to save my baby. The more I did for him, the crueler he was to me. I fled to Georgia and moved back to Dawsonville to live with my mother. Life had a rosy glow to it after my daughter was born, things were still difficult but I had a reason to keep going.
One morning as I got dressed for work, an unusual deadening silence in the house triggered something in the back of my mind. I peeked over my daughter’s crib to find she wasn’t breathing. The emergency responders called it SIDS, but nothing penetrated my anguish that day. How could I let this happen? I was useless; everything my ex-husband had said about me was obviously true.
I felt despair all day, every day. I was trying to escape it, running from myself. Alcohol numbed the pain. That’s how I married my second husband; under the fuzzy glow of drunken relief. When times got hard, my husband’s drinking increased, tempers shortened, and my husband was using drugs. He became emotionally abusive, stalking me and threatening to kill me. With one phone call, NOA provided more to me than I could have ever dreamed. I was provided protection; financial assistance, gas vouchers, and NOA helped me start the healing process with individual and group counseling sessions. Everyone’s got a life to live, NOA helped save my life.