In 2017 Safelight made it possible for me to escape a situation where I was basically kept as a slave by extended family members. I had no freedom, and I was forced to serve these people in whatever way they chose. When I first came into Safelight, I was so frightened that I was barely able to leave my room. It took me a long time before I was able to venture outside of what eventually became my haven.
Over four years, I have benefited from almost every program Safelight has to offer. The Shelter is where I started my Safelight journey to safety and freedom, and the staff there still provide me with encouragement and support when I visit. I receive therapeutic counseling to work through my past trauma. The Family Justice Center has supported me through legal challenges. I participated in the Job Training Program in all 3 areas, The Dandelion café, the Resale Store, and Sewing Our World Together where I also became a peer supervisor. The Phoenix Project, a collaboration between Safelight, AdventHealth and the Free Clinics, helped me to access regular routine medical care.
Since 2017, I have moved from my safe room in Safelight's Shelter to my own apartment, through the partnership Safelight has with the First Methodist Church here in Hendersonville. Through Safelight's support and my own tenacity, I have been able to continue my education. While in the Shelter, I was able to complete my GED, and at my graduation, I was chosen to speak. I have earned a Guest Service Gold Certificate which is recognized internationally in the hospitality industry and I have also received a ServeSafe certificate in the area of food service. I am currently training at Blue Ridge Community College to become an LPC, and my goal is to become a RN. My on-going education has been supported by The Giving Circle. I have often voiced my gratitude to Safelight and its staff, but I am constantly reminded by them that they see me as the achiever.