Berks County

A Church-Based Approach to Ending Family Homelessness

Ja’Nae’s Story

bridge of hope family pictures

At a very dark time of my life, there was tons of confusion and an inability to identify with myself. At the age of 20, on a memorial day weekend vacation with my Grandmother, God revealed himself to me, and I accepted Him as my Lord and savior. During that summer I learned that God had so much for me. I was baptized and I was on fire for God.

During this time of my life, I moved back home, where my dad and I had been trying to rebuild our relationship. On November 7th, 2012, 3 days before my 21st birthday, I went to the doctors because I was having sharp pains in my stomach. The doctors revealed to me that I was approximately 26 weeks pregnant. I was at a loss for words, and all I could think about was how I thought I had ruined my life. I had fear of my father kicking me out and also the fear of bringing a child into this world and not being able to provide for her.

I faced my dad and he immediately told me that I had to leave. At the time of my shocking pregnancy news, I was attending Northampton Community College and I had just been hired at Enterprise Rent-A-Car. With so much confusion about what to make of my rapidly changing life and fear of losing everything, I dropped down to my knees. I asked God to guide me, and give me something to believe in, because He was ALL that I had left.

I knew I had to leave my parents’ home but I had no idea where I could go, and I was having a baby in less than 2 months. On January 3rd, 2013, I called Mary’s Shelter of Bethlehem and told them my story. On January 4th,2013, I had an interview and the same day they allowed me to move in. God showed me how real He is. He showed me that His hand was completely in my situation and promised me that He would continue to carry me through. On February 16, 2013, God blessed me with an angel. I named her Tyrah..

Mary’s Shelter told me I could only live there until my daughter was six months. I realized that was not a lot of time so I continued to pray and remained as faithful as possible. Two months after my daughters birth, I went back to work as a full-time employee. The following month I got back in Northampton Community College as a full-time student. My time was running out at the shelter and I was working and schooling so much, that I felt like I never got to spend time with Tyrah. I knew these were just some of the many sacrifices I would have to make as single mother to provide the life that my daughter deserves.

My time at Mary’s Shelter was almost up as Tyrah was very quickly approaching 6 months of age. Not knowing what was next for us, God showed us His grace, mercy, and loving kindness. Because of how well I did while living at Mary’s Shelter, they offered me the opportunity to move to the 2 year transitional living at Mary’s Home in Reading, PA as well as a 6 year scholarship to Alvernia University.  In August of 2013, I moved into Mary’s Home, transferred my job to a Reading, Pa location and became a full-time student at Alvernia University.

Living in the home was such a blessing and I couldn’t thank God enough for the many blessings He has continued to pour into my and my daughter’s life. About a year had passed of us living in the home, and life became scary again as I found myself in position of ‘I don’t know what’s next.’ By the Grace of God, I filled out an application and very quickly received a call for an interview for Bridge of Hope Berks County.

I went through a couple of interviews and Amy told me all about the Bridge of Hope program. I couldn’t believe there was such an amazing program with such a wonderful people who truly wanted to help me my daughter not just momentarily, but for the future and success of the rest of our lives. I remember receiving the call from Amy saying that I had been accepted into the program and I was ecstatic! We immediately jumped into action and began looking for places, as well as meeting my new, wonderful, and super supportive group of mentors.

Amy helped me to find a beautiful apartment with the help and love of Bridge of Hope Berks County, Tyrah can live a life that was once only a dream. Never did I imagine I’d be able to live comfortably and raise my daughter the way she truly deserves to be raised. God has truly showed his grace and favor over our lives and Bridge of Hope has given me a second chance in life. Not only assisting us financially, but in in all ways possible.

Amy and my mentors have truly became the family I never had, showing me and Tyrah the true meaning of unconditional love. What I love most about Bridge of Hope is that God is at the forefront of this program. I’ve learned so much in the short time of being in this wonderful program and I look forward to life long connections. I thank God everyday for Bridge of Hope Berks  County and I cannot wait until I am in the position to be able to give back and bless others the way Bridge of Hope has been a blessing in so many lives.