Rischa is a mother of three who experienced a setback several months ago. As her relationships began to change and life became uneasy, she was forced to make a decision she thought she was not ready for: a decision that guided her back to a familiar place.
“I was living with my children's father, staying in the house and unemployed prior to the eviction. I contacted Appletree for shelter information, but I found LTP searching on Google. Arriving at the house, I realized years back I was here before.”
When Rischa’s oldest children were younger and the program was under a different name and leadership, Rischa participated in the program for a short period of time.
“I left (the first time) because my parents allowed me to stay with them until I got back on my feet. Their support helped me find my own place."
There are known barriers that could result in a family’s eviction from their home. However, one barrier is not talked about enough.
“At the age of sixteen, I was diagnosed with a mental health disorder. With so much going on before coming here, my mental health became unstable. I lost sight of my morals and goals. Bills began to pile up, I stopped going to church like I used to, and I lacked motivation to do anything.”
During Rischa’s short residency, she has gained a changed perspective not only for herself, but one her children will benefit from as well.
“The structure of the program is good for me. It keeps me on track, especially the dress and room check. Having to be presentable when you go out shows me that how you present yourself out in the world and to God is important. My children did not know what chores were until we came here. They ask me if I have chores to do and if they can watch or help me. I love it when my children ask because it gives me hope they will do their chores and clean up after themselves when I get my new home! Also, I used to be a heavy marijuana smoker. Since I've been in the program, I’ve been clean for two months and I don't have a desire to pick it up. I thought it was going to be a struggle. I thought I needed it to eat, sleep and think on my own. I now do all of that and more without it.”
Strength For The Future
Rischa has found strength in being diligent and committed as a mother and with everything that she does. She obtained a full time job and is starting her housing search.
“I don't want to blame my mental health, but I didn't think I would be stable enough to work the program. I didn't have courage in myself. I kept doubting, but I looked to God. I’ve learned how to maintain my mental health and my chores. I pray and praise God, I write in my journal; then everything begins to fall in place. I give my worries to God and talk it out with my case manager. Sister Rita’s encouragement to stay out of drama, stay focused and keep up the good work is really helpful to me."
We asked Rischa what she would say to a woman considering entering the program. “I would tell a woman who is considering coming to the program to have no regrets, don't look back on your life and continue looking forward. God brought you here for a reason. Trust in him and he will lead the way.”
Sis. Rita says this about Rischa, “It has been nothing less than an absolute joy to serve Rischa and her family. In times like these, her humility and gratitude are rare. To see all she has accomplished in such a short time has been amazing! It is true: God ”...gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).