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Dominique

Eye on the Prize

Story by Heartland Alliance March 25th, 2015
The first thing you notice about Dominique is her calm, quiet demeanor. She speaks thoughtfully and keeps her cool, even as her son Jeremiah careens through the house, shrieking with laughter. “No snack until you calm down,” she says. He fusses, but she stands her ground. It’s such a simple scene, but just a few short years ago it was all but a fantasy for Dominique.
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i just wanted a home

Growing up in foster care and aging out of the system as she approached her eighteenth birthday, she suddenly found herself out on her own, bouncing from couch to couch, relying on friends as she tried to land on her feet. Finally, she ran out of places to turn and, now with a young child, she found herself in a shelter.

“I was there for eight months,” Dominique recalls. “That was a really dark time for me. I started drinking, I was suicidal. I just wanted a home.”
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the beginning

She describes those days thoughtfully. She’s proud to say she’s made it out the other side, and she never thought her success would begin at the shelter. There she met a member of Heartland Alliance’s staff, who helped her find a home where she and her daughter could live. Without the worry of safety, her depression improved, she quit drinking and with her newfound independence taking root, she took off running towards her goals.
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picking up steam

She worked with her case manager to brush up her resume and began a job search, parlaying the experience she’d gained through a temporary job she’d worked while in the shelter into a stable job in housekeeping at a hospital. Now with a second child in tow, she enrolled her children into an early intervention program to keep their development on target – and she’s still picking up steam.
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full speed ahead

“Now I’m working on fixing my credit and buying a home. Next, I’ll go to school to become a youth probation officer,” Dominique says. “I dream of someday opening a shelter for women. I want to help others the way Heartland Alliance has helped me.”
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Footnote: Photography by Allyson Stewart, Story by Melissa Spear
Chicago, IL, United States
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