Sharon was a young college student, facing an unplanned pregnancy. As a result, she left college and for the next 7 years, was in an emotionally and physically abusive relationship with the father of her child. Abuse that would send her to the hospital 3 times. After the third time, DCS got involved and he went to prison.
“I was so close to losing my girls. I was weak. I was depressed. I was trying not to beat myself up for how long I stayed in the abusive relationship,” shared Sharon
Sharon spent time at two other domestic abuse shelters before reaching out to Dove Harbor in Anderson for help. Sharon described those shelters as providing short-term support but not having the resources, counseling and long-term support that she needed to fully heal. Dove Harbor had what she needed and more. They had the THRIVE Network.
“When I started at Dove Harbor, I was terribly unstable,” said Sharon. “I only stayed because I was afraid of what DCS might do.” During her stay, she struggled with depression and anxiety. Her anxiety made it difficult for her to pursue employment but she needed a job. She started with Thrive coaches with the goal to get a job. It was a baby step. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do. They let me explore. The one-on-one coaching from THRIVE helped me through the detail of getting back into the workplace. It improved my confidence to know I was not on my own” shared Sharon. Sharon found a job as a server and excelled. And as result, she was offered the position of manager at a new restaurant in town.
Sharon was driven to build stability and a better future for her two daughters, Reina and Grace, and so she worked with THRIVE coaches on several fronts – childcare, housing and financial stability. Childcare was a top concern for Sharon and the Network helped fund childcare for her 2 children while she healed emotionally. After that, coaches helped her apply for state childcare vouchers. Housing was next as Sharon knew her stay at Dove Harbor would not last forever. Her financial coach helped her apply for and succeed in getting TBRA funding (Tenant Based Rent Assistance). TBRA allowed Sharon a financial bridge to afford an apartment while she pursued other long-term housing solutions. Financial stability for Sharon meant achieving her first goal of finding a job and then tackling $14,000 in medical debt from her trips to the ER and fixing her credit. Sharon’s Income Support Coach, Kaitlin, helped Sharon with her credit and found the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence. With Kaitlin’s help, Sharon was able to file all the proper paper work and have her medical debt cleared. Sharon was no longer drowning in debt.
Of her experience, Sharon says “THRIVE had all the things I needed in one place. I loved that the coaches were all linked and all informed. They took what was overwhelming and helped me approach it step-by step. It’s amazing how much help is out there when you have people in a position to help you in a time of need. I felt supported 100% of the way.” She also credits her success in the THRIVE Network with having a huge impact on her daughters. “They have progressed and had so many of their own successes because of the support of the THRIVE Network.“
So much has changed in Sharon’s life since she started at Dove Harbor, including the person her girls’ father is today. While he was in prison, Sharon says, “God changed him. He’s different now. He has done a complete 180 from who he was. He now takes care of the girls fulltime while I am at work. He’s a great father. It’s amazing what God can do.”
Sharon isn’t done yet. She dreams of owning a home in the country with a big back yard for her two girls one day. She knows THRIVE’s Individual Development Account (IDA) program will be there when she is ready to help make that dream a reality. She loves that she can still call on her co