“When my daughter Naya was 5 months old, I was working as a CNA and was also in nursing school. My dad gave us just a year to stay with them. At the end of that year, I was still in school, and on track to graduate. But he still told me we had to leave. With nowhere to go, I was about to become homeless.”
Beatrice has never been afraid of hard work. When she first got into nursing school, her instructors warned her about the stress and how hard it would be. But, it was her goal to become a nurse and she was determined that she could do it, no matter what.
What she didn’t plan on was becoming homeless halfway through nursing school.
When her daughter, Naya, was just a baby, Beatrice and Naya’s father split for good, and Beatrice made the difficult decision to move back home. Her dad gave her a one-year deadline to move out. One year wasn’t enough, though.
Between working part-time, attending school and studying, she couldn’t make enough money to support herself and Naya. “I had prayed that my parents would give us just a few more months so I could finish school, but my dad wasn’t willing to do that,” Beatrice remembers.
With nowhere to turn and feeling helpless, Beatrice was terrified that she was about to become homeless.
"I was trying so hard to find a place, just a room to rent, but I couldn't find anything, and I didn't have anyone to help. I knew staying in school was my only hope, because it was my only gateway to a better future. If I were to drop out, it would have been the end for us."
"It was 9 AM on Christmas Eve when I had my last interview with Bridge Communities, and my life changed forever. We went over to the apartment, and I saw that it had 2 bedrooms. I just started crying. I couldn't believe I was actually getting a 2-bedroom home. Without Bridge, I didn't know how I was going to provide for Naya. It was a blessing to have this new space. And it was the best Christmas present ever."
Beatrice and Naya moved into their Bridge apartment full of hope--but also knowing that a lot of hard work was in store.
"My mentors told me, 'Anyone can come through this program. What matters is what you do while you're here.' I knew my mentors would be there to support me, but my future was up to me. Because being in Bridge is what you make of it."
"This is a great opportunity to better yourself. It's hard to expose yourself and your personal issues. But my mentors were always pushing me to do better and helping me learn how to save. I needed to learn how to save enough so that I'd be able to successfully graduate from the program."
"It was hard to balance work, school and family, but Naya was always my strength. She has always been happy, always strong. And she gave me the strength to do what I needed to improve myself. I know that everything I do, it's for her."
And, Beatrice rallied to work toward her goals. She learned how to budget and save. She attended Bridge's job readiness classes. She met with her mentors every week to keep herself on track. And she began to achieve her goals, one by one.
"While in the Bridge program, I graduated from school with my LPN in May 2014, right on track. I had been working at a senior living community, and once I passed my state boards, they started training me to stay on as a nurse.
"Buying a home is what most people dream of, and this spring, I bought my first home: a townhouse, just 10 minutes away from my job."
There's even more happy news for Beatrice:
"Before I left the Bridge program, I went back to my parents' house one day. What had happened between us two years before was a burden that I'd had to carry, and it wasn't healthy. I asked for my dad's forgiveness, and he started crying. He stated that I was his child and he loved me, and he asked for my forgiveness, too.
This may be the end of their Bridge Communities story, but it's only the beginning of a beautiful future for Beatrice and Naya.
"Being in Bridge Communities was a great opportunity that I really needed. My life wouldn't be where it is now without Bridge, and it means a lot to me. I'm at such peace now. I'm just in a happy place and I'm so grateful."
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Beatrice purchased a townhouse upon her graduation from Bridge Communities. She and Naya are very happy in their new home!
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