Virene was trying to cope with three traumatic and life altering events – the breakup of her 25-year marriage, being laid off from her job of 12 years, and the foreclosure of her home after 19 years. She was homeless, living with various relatives, and didn’t know where to turn. So she came to The Women’s Center to participate in the Jobs NOW! Program. But the employment staff could see that Virene needed more… and referred her to The Center’s Counseling program.
“I was on a roller coaster. I was a college graduate with a good life…and now I was homeless. When I walked in the front door of The Center and saw the motto on the wall, “Inspiring the Courage to Hope, Teaching the Skills to Cope”, I knew this was the place for me.”
Virene was right. She learned from counseling that she is responsible for her own success. She participated in The Women’s Center Legal Clinic to get advice on her divorce. And she utilized a Fort Worth Housing Authority program to get an apartment.
Virene continues to work with her Jobs NOW! trainer. And she learns every week from her Counseling support group at The Center how to stay strong, how to stay positive, how to persevere until she moves from her part-time job to the full-time job she is confident is right around the corner.
Venita had a good job, a nice home, and a college education. Then one day her world came apart when her husband left her for another woman after 27 years of marriage. Her reaction was extreme — cutting herself… drinking…self-abuse. Finally, she attempted suicide. One night she took all the pills she could find. It didn’t work. She woke up the next morning and went to her job as a special education teacher. There she had a total breakdown. After a stay in the hospital, the school counselor told her about The Women’s Center, where she began grief counseling.
When I started seeing my counselor, I hated my life. I could not stand to look at myself in the mirror…all I saw was an old fat woman. And my biggest fear was being alone.
Venita realized that the loss of her marriage was like the death of a spouse, and counseling helped her cope and find healthy ways to deal with her loss. But she didn’t stop there. Courageously she confronted the multiple abandonments she experienced as a child and her resulting fear of being alone.
Venita now exercises regularly, goes to Adult Children of Alcoholics meetings and has taken up oil painting.
“I have come so far. I realize it’s OK to be alone and make my own decisions. If not for The Women’s Center I would have lost my job, I would have lost my home and I would be dead.”
Mike always knew he wasn’t quite like other people. He was always on an emotional roller-coaster which made it hard for him to keep a job and have relationships with others. When he was diagnosed with depression, he was ashamed of his “mental illness”, giving him even lower self-esteem which fueled his self-destructive drinking and constant anger. Three years ago, homeless and desperate, Mike called The Women’s Center’s Helpline…he needed a place to live and help with his depression.
“If it hadn’t been for The Women’s Center, I would not be here today. From the moment I called the Helpline, then came to counseling, I felt someone cared. They gave me support and confidence, and a positive attitude.”
Mike has remained financially and emotionally stable. He has moved out of the shelter. He has reduced his medications and is having fewer episodes of depression. He has been working at a job he enjoys for over six months. And at the heart of all his success is a new-found sense of humor and a strong sense of independence.