Your gift makes a big impact – ending homelessness for someone like Aja.
In Aja’s teenage mind, running away was the best way to solve her problems. It was an adventure, escaping from her small Alaskan town, and her first experience with homelessness.
What Aja did not understand for many years is that no matter where she lived, she cannot escape the wounds of abuse, rejection and mental health disorders.
But, escaping became her coping mechanism, Running away, self-harm, and a dependency on having a relationship with a man who would make her feel special until the abuse would begin, became Aja’s way of life.
Deep down within her soul, Aja knew there was something better, that God created her not for self-destruction and pain, but for beauty.
Risking retaliation from her abuser, Aja and her young daughter fled to a Christian ranch program in Oregon that supported people who were struggling. There she began to heal and become stable.
Two years later, she was ready to start a new life. Friends in Orange County offered them a place to stay until Aja could get a job and a place of their own. Orange County sounded promising with many job opportunities. Aja landed a good job and a small apartment for her and her daughter.
The elation of providing for herself and living in safety quickly came crashing down. Her income was not enough to pay the bills and provide food. Aja began going without so her daughter could eat. Rent was due, and she could not pay it in full. The arrival of an eviction notice sent her mind racing, with seemingly nowhere to turn but the streets.
The suffocating despair and failure began to invader her again. But Aja had become a strong and determined woman. She would not slip back to her old ways, and end up living on the streets with her daughter.
| “a place to learn how to live life right, but with a safety net.” – Aja |
Instead, she found Village of Hope at Orange County Rescue Mission. Aja describes Village of Hope as “a place to learn how to live life right, but with a safety net.” Time with her case manager, life skills classes, voluntary work assignments, Bible study, and the support of new friends have all helped Aja to grow and develop the mind set and skills to become self-sufficient. Her daughter has been attending a good school and is involved in healthy activities.
And the health care Aja receives has helped her to become stronger mentally and physically, overcoming the health barriers she has experienced for so many years. With better understanding and skills to manage her health, Aja is no longer a victim of a mental health disorder.
Aja’s relationship with God has flourished. A love and sensitivity for others has grown into abilities to reach out and make a difference in the lives of others, without neglecting herself and having healthy boundaries.
And now, she has achieved the goal of working to help others. Aja is employed full-time in non-profit work, and is on the path to self-sufficiency.