As Thanksgiving grows nearer each day, we are reminded of all our blessings. This season of gratitude brings to mind all the changes we have walked through, the trials we have overcome, the joys we gladly embrace, and the seasons that have brought us back here once again. These seasons, whether those of nature or those of life, hold times of struggle and times of grace. For Denee, Hillcrest Hope graduate, the season of struggle started over a decade ago. Yet, when she came to Hillcrest Hope, Denee began to experience a season of grace. Here, Denee shares her story of hope:
"Hillcrest Hope. . . Hope. Hope is such a small word but when you have none. . . .It feels HUGE. Hopeless was what I felt when I walked up the sidewalk to the Liberty location for my interview to see if I met the requirements for the transitional housing program. I was three months pregnant and desperately seeking a safe place to regroup and plan what I was going to do for myself, my son and my unborn child coming in just six short months.
I was chosen to be a part of the program and quickly moved in. I’ll never forget the wave of relief that swept over me the minute I saw my temporary home. It was safe, inviting, warm and filled with comforts of a home that I had not had in a very long time. I did not realize how overwhelmed and tired I was until I had a safe place to let down my guard!
The three months I lived at Hillcrest were filled with guidance, care, concern, love and respect. Never once did I feel judged or made to feel less than and that immediately improved my outlook on my future. The team believed in me and respected me at a time when I could not believe in myself. My confidence and strength slowly started increasing. I was laughing again, sleeping well and being taught through budget counseling and accountability meetings how to build my future into something amazing.
The three months flew by and before I knew it, it was time to graduate. In three short months, I had saved enough money to rent an apartment utilizing the budget training I had received. At graduation time, I was almost seven months pregnant and overjoyed that I could afford a safe place to move son and soon to be newborn baby into. Hillcrest Hope’s kindness didn’t end there. When it was time for me to move into my new home, they assisted me in getting furniture, dishes, linens; whatever I needed to truly have a successful fresh start. They also provided Christmas for my children when I did not have the extra money in the budget to provide them with a Christmas by myself.
Fast forward nine years and my life has only continued to improve. I truly believe that without Hillcrest and the amazing team that selflessly serves, my current situation would look completely different. Their generosity and kindness restored my faith in God and in myself. They restored hope in a woman and mother who came to them completely broken and hopeless. They catapulted me into a future that I had stopped dreaming of and I am grateful every single day. "