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Michelle* grew up in what she described as a dysfunctional family. She was living below the poverty line, her mother had a substance abuse disorder, and her father was absent. As a teenager, Michelle knew she needed to leave and when she did, she found herself in an abusive relationship. Over many years, Michelle and her two young children tried to escape countless times but always ran out of resources, leading them back to her perpetrator. This cycle finally ended when Michelle found The Family Tree House of Hope.
Family Tree House of Hope, a residential facility for homeless women with children, provided a bed for Michelle and her daughters, giving them a few nights of respite apart from the violence. Due to Michelle’s safety being compromised, she was relocated to Family Tree Roots of Courage, a confidential, emergency shelter for survivors of domestic violence and their children. While there, Michelle was introduced to the Family Tree Legal Advocacy Program, which helped her get a lifetime restraining order against her perpetrator, finally giving Michelle and her daughters a break. Eventually, Michelle’s perpetrator was arrested, and Michelle and her daughters were free. However, Michelle was now homeless and broke. Family Tree continued to walk with Michelle through her journey.
After many years of hard work and the partnership with Family Tree, Michelle is employed by a Fortune 500 company, is working on her bachelor’s degree, is a homeowner, married the kindest man she has ever met, and now donates gifts to Family Tree for other families starting their journeys toward self-sufficiency. Most importantly, Michelle broke the cycle of violence and poverty for her family, so her two strong, beautiful daughters can achieve success. Now, Michelle is safe, strong, and self-reliant.
(Excerpt from The Family Tree)
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