Bonita

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bonita

I had to grow up quickly. My mother had me at 16, and I was raised mostly by my grandparents. My father was in and out of prison during much of my childhood and was murdered when I was just 12 years old.  

Making my childhood even more challenging, my mother exposed me to an adult lifestyle at a very young age. As a result, my life evolved into a fast track of drugs, alcohol, and men. 

By 18, I was married. However, my husband was an addict and drugs quickly became our way of life. Early in our marriage, my husband was sentenced to prison and spent much of our 20-year relationship behind bars. I became pregnant at 21 and moved in with my husband’s family so they could help care for our daughterDuring this time, I turned to drugs.  

While in my 30’s, I found the strength to get clean and take responsibility for my own life. I stayed sober for 20 years, focusing her attention on raising my daughter.  

While I faced challenges throughout my lifethe one that hurt the most occurred three years ago. Upon invitation, I moved to South Carolina to live with my daughter. Very quickly, things began to unravel. My daughter took financial advantage of me and was verbally abusive. Feeling unwanted, I packed my bags and returned to DC after just three months.  I used to cry every day about my daughter abandoning me. I love her very much, but I didn’t feel appreciated and knew what she did to me was wrong.

Devastated that my daughter had abused our relationship, I began to feel the weight of depression. Back in D.C., I stayed with friends, feeling lost and afraid for what my future might hold. This led to a short relapse, but I knew that was not the solution. I began looking for help and was introduced to N Street Village.  

After spending three years with the Village, I have gained control of my mental and physical health, acquired the financial help I needed, and found employment through the Village’s MARJ & MAK Vocational Center. I was able to move into permanent supportive housing in 2020, graduated from the Together We Bake training program, and am now employed at Friendship Place, helping individuals experiencing homelessness access the resources they need.  

I am so grateful for N Street Village. It helped me through a dark time and kept me going when I didn’t think I could. I am proud of my accomplishments over the past three years, I am ready for my next chapter. My goal is to own my own home again and continue to work, helping others in situations similar to mine of just a few years ago.  It’s not about what you’ve done in the past, but what you are doing with your time now. Anything worth having is worth working for.