“What I really want is for my children to have a better life than I had.” These are Geneva’s words. She was born and raised in Peoplestown. Her mother, a single parent, was an alcoholic who struggled to care for her daughter. Often, they went without food and electricity.
Geneva first came to Emmaus House when she was 12 years old. That’s when she met Dee, one of our long-time volunteers. Geneva came to trust Dee and the people of Emmaus House. Over the years, she received food from our pantry, furniture vouchers, rental assistance, and referrals to Threads, the clothing ministry of All Saints’ Episcopal Church. She used Emmaus House as her mailing address because it provided stability during turbulent times.
Geneva spent the first ten years of her adult life caring for her children as well as her sick mother. When her mother died in 2010, Geneva and her children found themselves on the street. They bounced from one shelter to another - scared, hungry and with little hope for a better future. However, one day she came into the Emmaus House drop-in center and spoke with Mark, our volunteer who helps people to find jobs. Despite the long odds, Mark helped Geneva find a job at a recycling plant. When standing on a line all day aggravated her bad knee, Mark helped her to switch to a job at the airport cleaning sky clubs.
Geneva and her children now live in an apartment where they feel safe and comfortable. She says, “If it weren’t for Emmaus House, I wouldn’t have a job.” Life is the best that it’s ever been. She no longer needs rental assistance and can provide for her children. For the first time, she feels good about herself and hopeful for her children’s future. There’s still much to do and there’ll be many challenges, but Geneva is on the right track.