You’re viewing a version of this story optimized for slow connections. To see the full story click here.

KIMBERLY

Story by Heartland Alliance November 25th, 2014

falling behind

Kimberly’s life had never been easy. After losing her mother as a teenager, she struggled to raise her younger siblings, keeping food on the table through odd jobs and getting them through school and onto happy, healthy lives of their own. But even as the lives of her siblings blossomed, Kimberly’s was falling further behind. Growing older and now with children of her own, Kimberly thought her life was finally stabilizing. She couldn’t have imagined how quickly that would change.

“[My partner] and I started fighting more and more, and one night, he put his hands on me. I knew if he did it once, he’d keep doing it,” she says of the night she left home. “It was terrifying. I took my kids and we left that night.”

IMG_9970.jpg
IMG_0085.jpg

shelter

With nowhere to turn, she and her two children ran to a shelter, and what she’d hoped would be an overnight arrangement lasted for a year as she waited for permanent housing to become available for her family. While there though, she found a team of people that would become one of her most invaluable resources.

“There were several women that ran a support group that met [in the shelter],” Kimberly said. “Two of them were from Heartland Alliance, and they were incredible.”

Through Heartland Alliance, Kimberly and her children immediately found housing, and she’s now getting back into school and focusing on parenting skills, working to become a social worker.

IMG_9986.jpg
IMG_9984.jpg
IMG_9985.jpg

acceptance

“My hope for the future is to be financially stable and in a career that provides for my children’s needs without help,” she says. “Heartland Alliance didn’t know me, they didn’t judge me, they accepted me, and that’s why I’ve come so far. I’m really looking forward to doing that for others.”

IMG_0118.jpg
Footnote: Photography by Ally Stewart, Story by Melissa Spear
Chicago, Illinois
Donate to Help End Poverty