Oct 15, 2013
Ms. Annamaria Brown came to St. Lawrence Place in January of 2012. During the initial interview with Ms. Brown, I could tell that she was very unsure of herself and had a self-defeating way of thinking and approaching the things she wanted to accomplish. I could also tell that she had all the potential in the world to do anything that she wanted to do if she could just see it in herself.
Nearly two years later, Ms. Brown is successfully completing the St. Lawrence Place program and moving into permanent housing. She will be renting a house at market-rate rent, with no assistance. Ms. Brown has grown so much over the last two years and I am very proud of her. As her case manager, I have worked with Ms. Brown weekly to motivate her, help build her self-esteem and set goals. She has enrolled in school to further her education, acquired a job utilizing her cosmetology license, built a stronger bond with her children, and currently serves as a Sisters of Charity intern at St. Lawrence Place in the Administration Office and the SLP after-school program.
Ms. Brown is always helping her neighbors by offering rides to those without transportation and donating clothes to new families. Even before she became an intern at St. Lawrence Place she helped staff with clean up after our monthly Family Literacy Nights and in the SLP after-school program. Ms. Brown is no longer the unsure, self-defeating woman I first encountered in January 2012. When I look at her now, I see a woman who holds her head up high, has loads of confidence, is helpful to others, is conscious of the decisions she makes, and who has become very sure of herself.
When I asked her how she sees herself now versus when she first entered the program, she said, “Since entering St. Lawrence Place in 2012, I have become more self-sufficient. I have learned the meaning of being a survivor. I took tools I never thought I had to make my situation better. I fell to the bottom; no house, no money, nobody. But, I stood up and got myself together. I made choices to help me and my kids and I thank God for St. Lawrence Place, it saved my life, my hopes and my dreams. Now I am a full time student at Virginia College, I am about to have my first house and I’m working. I believe in a thing called miracles because, from two years ago until now, I am a miracle! Never forgetting all that I have been through made me who I am today.”
Ms. Brown plans to join the SLP Alumni Association upon graduation from our program, so that she can support and motivate SLP families and share her story with families that are beginning their journey. We will miss her and her smiling children’s faces, but I expect only positive updates from Ms. Brown in the months after she graduates the St. Lawrence Place program. Again, I am so proud of the woman you have become!