Shelter Stories: Overcoming Obstacles to Regain Hope and Confidence

Homeless Shelter

Unemployed because of lack of reliable and affordable childcare, a woman came with her two young children looking for emergency shelter assistance through NVFS. Feeling overwhelmed, isolated and hopeless, she had trouble moving past her fears to accomplish the next step and cried throughout her meetings with NVFS staff. Her only source of pride and motivation were her children, and she needed help to find a new job that would allow her to take care of her family.

The staff set up mock interview to help her work on interviewing skills and get a new job, but she had difficulty answering interview questions because she lacked confidence in herself. She couldn’t list an accomplishment or prideful moment because she couldn’t pinpoint anything for which she was proud. She felt like a bad parent because she couldn’t take care of her children, and she felt like a failure because she couldn’t independently find employment.

NVFS staff helped her overcome her low self-esteem by identifying her personal strengths: resiliency, kindness, compassion and determination, as well as the valuable professional skills she possessed. She began to think about her strengths, and her demeanor and the mock interview changed. At the end of the process, she could candidly answer questions drawing from strengths she now realized she had.

Childcare was still a barrier as well, so NVFS staff helped her look for employment at places where she could potentially bring her children. During an informal work group at the shelter, she shared the fantastic news that she had gotten a job working at a daycare, and she was able to take her kids with her! She was beaming with pride.

Although her journey isn’t over yet, she has been able to overcome self-doubt, depression, anxiety and fear in order to keep going. These types of trauma can have a dramatic impact on the guests at our shelters, which is why the support we provide is so important to helping them move forward. She hasn’t given up, and that’s a success worth celebrating.

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