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“I was scared,” Kara admits, and she had reason to be. She was in an abusive relationship and felt trapped by it. The area of town where she lived was plagued by drugs and violence. “I was tired of looking back over my shoulder, tired of worrying that something would happen, or that I was going to get kicked out of the house in the middle of the night,” she says. But because she was desperate, Kara quieted her fears. She gathered her daughter into her arms and walked through the gates of Orange County Rescue Mission.


Life hadn’t been kind to Kara. Her parents divorced when she was in the 6th grade. She was devastated and started partying to dull the pain. By the time she was 16, Kara was using drugs on a daily basis. Her mom and dad grew so concerned that they sent her to an out-of-state rehab program. But while Kara was in that program, she made a friend who misled her into thinking that methamphetamine was no big deal. When she returned home, she started using it. Kara plunged so deeply into addiction that she was homeless for almost three years. And then she discovered she was pregnant.

With a child on the way, Kara knew she couldn’t stay on the streets anymore. She needed security. She hoped she could find it in a relationship with a man. That didn’t work out — the abuse was constant. The fights even raged on through Christmas. “I wanted to be able to give my daughter a better life than that,” Kara says. “I wanted something better for both of us.”

When a family friend suggested Orange County Rescue Mission, Kara wondered if it was the answer. “It took a little while before I was ready to hear about God,” Kara recalls. “But seeing the miracles that happened in my life made me realize there is a God, and there are people who care about you. “Orange County Rescue Mission taught me that the love of God will always be there for me,” she says. “I have so much more peace knowing that I’m taking the steps to give myself and my daughter a better life, and that it doesn’t have to involve being on drugs.”

Thanks to you and others, Kara and her daughter have a future now. She’s enrolled in a Microsoft certificate program. By spring, she’ll be prepared to seek full-time employment. “I would not have been able to do this without Mission supporters,” Kara confesses. “I don’t know if the donors fully realize it, but every single gift changes lives.” With Christmas coming, she is also looking forward to spending time with her family. Her relationship with her parents, once strained to the breaking point, is healing. “My mom cried last weekend,” Kara recalled in a recent conversation. “She cries whenever she starts talking about the changes in my life, because she is so excited.” Her dad is proud of her too. “He is very happy we have a relationship again. He loves seeing my daughter, and she just adores him,” Kara says. She’s just 24, and she has her whole life in front of her. Because you helped her put it back together, it’s going to be a good one!

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