Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Spending the Holidays Alone

Mary spent Thanksgiving alone in her apartment.

She admits that a church friend did give her a call, late afternoon, to ask if she could drop a plate by. Mary already had food; what she wanted was companionship.

In 2001, Mary lost her job. As a divorced woman with no children, she found herself without a safety net. She lived in three different Indianapolis homeless shelters during her two year stint of homelessness. “I knew I didn’t like being out on the street (but it was) hard to live under rules (such as curfew) as an adult.”

“Once I got housed, it made me really appreciate it…being able to lock the door. You have your own door and key, you can cook in the kitchen if you want, or take a long soak in the tub. I like my privacy.” Mary has now been housed for eight years thanks to Shelter Plus Care and a partner agency, Partners in Housing.

 Because she was once a beneficiary of services, she is motivated to give back to the community that helped her become housed. Mary serves on the CHIP Advocacy Council and enjoys public speaking and volunteering at different events such as the annual Homeless Person’s Memorial. “Count me in- I used to be a homeless person. Just because somebody’s homeless doesn’t mean they don’t have value.”

Mary spoke to me today at a local coffee shop as I delved into her hopes for a mentor match. Mary says, “I feel like it will be nice to have a mentor.” She’s a little leery and not that trusting when it comes to relationships. She says that she’s been burned in the past. However, the prospect of companionship has promise.

When asked how a mentor could best support her now, Mary said three things: “Be committed. Be encouraging. Be prepared for anything because life has bumps in the road. Realize that we are all unique.”
As Mentor Match Manager at Trusted Mentors