Sharing Lives: 2023 Holiday Edition

Share it:

A Mother & Her Sons’ Journey from Heartbreak to Happiness

As told in Dusty’s own words.

In 2012, I was a Share client. I was a single mother of three boys. When my youngest son was six weeks old, my husband at the time had shaken him to the point where it caused serious medical complications, brain injury and some broken bones, which left him fighting for his life in the hospital.

That situation caused my husband to go to prison and it left us without a home. I lost my job, because it was highly publicized and my employer didn’t want the publicity linked to their organization. I was unemployed and houseless with three little boys, a six-week-old, a five-year-old and a ten-year-old.

I did have family, but they were unable to provide assistance at the time; it was just a little too much for them. They weren’t sure how to help or what they could do.

Somebody had mentioned calling 211. I called the Housing Hotline and, to my surprise, they said they had an opening at a family shelter that day if I wanted to come in. I said, “Absolutely, I’m loading up my car now.” We stayed at Share Orchards Inn. I did our intake process, the staff were really pleasant; they could tell that I was terrified.

After I woke up one morning, one of staff—it was Dee Sanders, she was the program director—said, “We have an opening at a program called ASPIRE and you’ve been referred.”

Dee explained the two-year program and that she thought I’d be a good fit. It would give me time to get my son to all his necessary doctor’s, so he could receive the care he would need, without having to worry about working full time. She knew I wasn’t able to go to three to four doctor’s appointments a week, plus taking my other son to therapy. I was just beyond myself, I was so thankful. We did the paperwork, a Housing Specialist helped me find an apartment and the program paid my rent for two years.

The doctors had said that my son would be hugely, developmentally delayed, that he wouldn’t be able to function like a normal child. And I honestly believe that because Share gave me two years—that I could take him to all these medical appointments, make sure he sees specialists, that he got the best medical care—Malik is now a perfectly functioning 13-year-old.

I’m so grateful because Share didn’t just give me a home, they gave us hope, they gave us a future, they gave him life, a good life, the life he deserves.

And now I work for Share. I started in July of 2021 in Outreach and now I work for the Affordable Housing and Stability program, which used to be called ASPIRE. So I am serving the program that used to serve my family.

I decided to work for Share because I wanted people to experience the same hope that I was able to experience. I wanted them to know that there are people out there who care. Just because things look bleak now, they don’t have to stay that way. What’s going on now isn’t necessarily what your future is going to look like.

The people at Share, they do care about you, our community and our futures. And together we can make a difference.

Thank you Share for helping my family and giving me the opportunity to serve our community.

Click here or on the image above to download a PDF version of the 2023 Holiday Edition of Sharing Lives to read all the stories from this quarter.

Your Generosity Helps Our Neighbors

Please consider an online donation today.

Donate Resources

Donations of physical goods are always welcome. High-need items include non-perishable food, new hygiene & personal care items and new cleaning supplies.

Skip to content