Faces of Strength: 6 Inspiring Stories From The Communities We Support
Last Updated: 29 Mar 2021
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For many of our clients, the thing they are seeking above all else is a home— a second chance and a place to start over. Here are a few of their inspiring stories.
As a nonprofit organization, we come face to face with marginalized populations every single day. We see mothers who have lost their children; Veterans wounded physically and mentally by traumatic experiences; families struggling to put food on the table; hard workers with disabilities searching high and low for a job.
The incredible thing about these clients? They show us firsthand the utter strength of the human spirit. Despite the adversities they’ve faced, they keep going.
They celebrate their victories, humbly acknowledge their setbacks, and move forward with determination.
They show us the face of strength.
For many of these people, the thing they are seeking above all else is a home— a second chance and a place to start over. Here are a few of their inspiring stories.
Leticia’s Story: A Go-Getter With Fight
“Don’t give up. There’s a lot of people who care out there. If you want something, you’ve gotta go out there and get it. You can’t expect things to come to you. I’m a go-getter; even though I struggle, nothing’s gonna hold me back. I am 54 years of age, and I still fight with my demons, but I have my priorities straight. My home comes first.” — Leticia
Leticia spent her childhood in a household plagued by physical and emotional abuse— police were regular visitors to her family’s door, and she slept with knives under her pillow to feel safe.
When Leticia left her family’s house, she was determined to live a better life. She joined the Army Reserve and had high hopes for a bright future. Unfortunately, during basic training, she was severely injured and unable to continue her military career.
Discouraged and dejected, Leticia felt she had no choice— she returned to her mother’s house for several years. However, continued domestic conflicts left her feeling trapped. Eventually, through VA meetings, she met Endeavors and got connected with Veteran Supportive Services in San Antonio. We were able to connect Leticia with an apartment of her own.
Simon’s Story: A Stepping Stone To a New Life
“This has reshaped my life.” I didn’t know where I was going to go. I feel really confident now; I’m more confident than I have been in 20 years. I feel so good in so many aspects of my life. I’m a lot more goal-oriented. This is the perfect stepping stone.” — Simon
Simon’s childhood and early adulthood were peppered with family problems, alcohol abuse, and emotional instability. Though he worked hard to stay on top of his life, he eventually reached a breaking point, leading him to a mental health recovery program.
Eventually, Simon met Tom Moran, an Endeavors employee who told him about Veteran Supportive Services El Paso.
“God works in mysterious ways,” said Simon. “When I spoke with Tom about the program, he immediately helped me. He took the time to really listen… he opened paths for me that I did not know that I had. I was really impressed.”
Now, Simon is on track to finding an apartment. He says he feels a complete turnaround from when he first walked in through the shelter’s doors.
“This has reshaped my life,” said Simon. “I didn’t know where I was going to go. I feel really confident now; I’m more confident than I have been in 20 years. I feel so good in so many aspects of my life. I’m a lot more goal-oriented. This is the perfect stepping stone.”
Aaron’s Story: Finally Feeling Inspired Again
“Now that I have my own place, my kids can come visit me on weekends. I have a better relationship with my family.” —Aaron
For Aaron, “home” was always an elusive concept. His marriage was failing, he struggled with alcohol abuse, and amidst it all, his job required extensive travel. He was always living in hotels, Airbnbs, or crashing with friends across the country.
His spirits soon plummeted when COVID-19 left him jobless and without a place to live.
“It looked like there was no light at the end of the tunnel,” he said. Thankfully, during this time, Aaron bumped into a friend he hadn’t seen in years. This friend nudged him to connect with Veteran Supportive Services in San Antonio. After that, everything changed. The program connected him to his own apartment.
Aaron has started working and enjoying his hobbies again. “I am starting to work again, lift weights, paint, and do the things I like to do. My goals are back. Everything is becoming colorful again.”
Vinny’s Story: Learning How To Be a Friend
“I am so lucky to be here, and I am so lucky the staff has accepted me. I was given a chance, and I really appreciate it.” — Vinny
Life was never simple for Vinny. His father died mere weeks before he was born, and he was diagnosed with schizophrenia early in childhood. He was unable to finish high school and fumbled around with jobs for years. He was entirely on his own with his mental illness.
At 20 years old, Vinny enlisted in the army. However, things were not easy there. He turned to drinking to cope with increasingly severe psychological symptoms.
One day, Vinny was hanging around a bus station when someone called the police on him for loitering. The police sat him down and discussed his case, then took him to the state hospital. It was through the hospital that Vinny was introduced to the Fairweather Lodge. He was accepted into the program and started living there. What happened there would transform his life.
“When I came into Fairweather Lodge. I used to be so selfish,” said Vinny. “The people here taught me how to be a better person.”
At the Lodge, Vinny was able to learn about his mental illness and how to get along with people in a positive, sustainable way. He began to make friends and create meaningful connections.
Karl’s Story: Feet on Solid Ground
“I knew I had found people who really cared. My caseworker built my confidence by ensuring that I was on the right track and that Endeavors would help me get my own place. I was confident that together we would set my feet on solid ground.” —Karl
When Karl was incarcerated due to drug charges nearly twenty years ago, he immediately decided that his life would look different when he got out. During his last year in prison, Karl contacted the V.A. Medical Center. He was thrilled— they promised him housing, medical care, and job assistance when he was released. He was ready and excited to move forward.
It was then that the COVID-19 virus hit. Just three months before Karl was scheduled to be released, the V.A. notified him that they were unable to accept anyone anymore.
When a friend recommended Endeavors, he was skeptical. However, he was immediately connected to help via Veteran Supportive Services.
Karl said that, from the first call, his caseworker made him feel hopeful. Within two weeks of making contact with Endeavors, Karl had a place of his own.
Jacob’s Story: Finding Dignity Again
“I wouldn’t have asked for help. I was too proud. Endeavors found a way to give me help and still give me my dignity.” —Jacob
When Jacob finished his military duties, he left with honor. Through incredible sacrifice, he was decorated with a Purple Heart to signify his immense bravery and service. Unfortunately, the world is not always kind to Veterans, even those who have served our country with incredible dedication.
After the pandemic hit, Jacob was in El Paso living with family and friends and occasionally sleeping in his car.
When a friend referred him to Endeavors’ Veteran Supportive Services in El Paso, he immediately found a reason to hope again. “Endeavors gave me the tools to get on my feet,” said Jacob. “I would recommend Endeavors to any Veteran that’s struggling,” he said. “This was what I needed to keep going.”
Our clients and their stories inspire us every single day. We come face to face with so many people each day, and what we see is nothing short of breathtaking.
We are so glad to help others through our various housing programs. Head to our website to learn more about our Supportive Housing and Veteran Supportive Services programs.
To donate and help us continue the work we do, head to our Donation page. Any amount will make a real, tangible difference in someone’s life.
Endeavors is a longstanding national non-profit that provides an array of programs and services in support of children, families, Veterans, and those struggling with mental illness and other disabilities. Endeavors serves vulnerable people in crisis through innovative personalized services. For more information, please visit www.endeavors.org