It happened in 2004 but I can remember the scene just as if it was yesterday. As I drove on Tonnelle Avenue in Jersey City, New Jersey I noticed a woman pushing a shopping cart. It wasn't filled with grocery bags put personal items. Alongside of this woman were two beautiful children. I couldn't help but wonder about the circumstances that this woman and her precious children were facing and how could I help.
Without thinking about anything other than how I could possibly help I turned my mini-van around. I got out and offered her a ride. At first, she was very resistant. Perhaps she thought that I might be from an agency such as Welfare, Department of Social Services or Child Protective Services and wanted to take her children. But I gently explained that I was a long-time resident of the city, a mother and newspaper reporter who simply wanted to help. I shared with her that my concern was for their safety and well-being, which meant getting them off of that busy highway and taking her wherever she wanted to go.
She agreed to offer and I helped her and the children into my mini-van. But as we begin to talk what I learned deeply troubled me. This family was homeless and walking on the highway because the hotel voucher received from Salvation Army expired. This was a mother whose heart was broken into pieces because her family was torn apart. The voucher didn't accommodate her two teenagers.
This single mother of four had no place to go, no food, no job, no Section 8 and not even a floor to sleep on or an abandoned car to use as shelter returning to an abusive, raging alcoholic with her two small children was not an option. Enough was enough. She was BREAKING THE CYCLE.
As I listened to her story I knew this was a divine appointment and trusted that God was already at work. Even though this family was Hispanic and I am a African-American woman of color none of that mattered.
I took this family to my parent's house, where I knew they would receive a home-cooked meal, some clothes, prayer and a safe place their weary souls would find rest.
While my family was in one part of the house entertaining my new friends I was in the back of the house making calls to advocate on their behalf. My spiritual eyes wouldn't let me see this family, drive pass and leave them behind. When you're compelled to step out on faith and stand in the gap something good is going to happen. When you're trying to help someone raise your level of expectation.
I made several calls and not every response was favorable but I didn't give up. Finally, because I wasn't taking, "NO" for an answer this family was placed on the path to a NEW beginning. Everyone has a story. Abuse is a crime. Abuse is painful. Abuse traumatizes. Abuse breaks hearts. Abuse wounds spirits. Abuse damages life. Yet, even abuse doesn't determine your destiny.
No matter what darkness you faced with God has a plan and a purpose for your life. Your life matters. The life of your children matters. With the support of a compassionate and caring people individuals and resources families can break the cycle and begin again.
We'd like to invite you to join us on Saturday. September 29, 2018 for SOS Breaking the Cycle of Fatherlessness 2018. This strengths-based conference will inform, engage, inspire and empower fathers with tools and supportive relationships designed to help him become the man he is capable of being.
Children who grow up with fathers involved are less likely to live in poverty. Therefore standing by and watching children fail due to lack of a positive role model or mentor is not an option. To register or become a sponsor please complete the registration page below. Thank you so much! We look forward to hearing from you. Take care and have an AMAZING MONDAY!
Here's the link for SOS Breaking the Cycle of Fatherlessness Registration page: