Visiting the local community center pool you may notice Tammy, a thirty-six year old woman who is splashing around in the pool. Her joyful laughter fills the air as she prepares for the next water battle against her fellow swimmer. As Tammy leaves the pool, her short, dark hair wet, she slings a towel over her shoulder and companionably links arms with the woman beside her. Eyes full of mischief the ladies excitedly discuss what to do next. You would never guess that less than ten years ago Tammy’s life was in an out-of-control downward spiral plagued with uncontrollable emotional outbursts, extremities marred with self-inflicted markings and a desolate resolve to run away.
However, at age twenty-seven, Tammy was presented with a choice; participate in Dawn of Hope’s Programs or continue down her current destructive path. In November 2006 she took the first steps to changing her life forever.
She moved into one of the Dawn of Hope residential homes and began a job within the Vocational Program on assembly line contract work. It was a bright new start but Tammy still lacked the skills necessary to change her behavior. The first weeks were extremely difficult; her staff struggled to manage her volatile emotions while her co-workers and housemates feared her unprovoked aggression. However, surrounding Tammy with the right people who were able to provide consistent care & guidance in a safe environment truly made the difference in her progression. Warming up to the Dawn of Hope staff was a slow process, however they utilized every opportunity to teach Tammy more effective ways to express her emotions, and in doing so, they enabled her to take control of her life choices. When Tammy realized there was genuine concern for her well-being she began developing a level of trust with her staff, which allowed her to be more receptive to their assistance. Tammy began to learn she could verbally express her wants and needs without fear of negative consequences, witnessing the impact these changes had on her interactions with her peers.
With a newfound confidence she began to form friendships with her peers and excelled at her position in the Vocational Program. Solitary extra-curricular activities turned into fun outings with friends. New opportunities that had previously been unavailable to her in the public workforce started to open up. Her job coach at the Vocational Center worked with her and helped her obtain a second shift custodial position in the community. With this growing confidence, her personal determination, and the combined efforts of the vocational and residential staff, Tammy began to successfully manage her emotions.
Today, Tammy continues to work with the Dawn of Hope staff to learn additional life skills including managing her personal finances, planning a vacation and improving her overall health. She continues to cultivate many friendships through her involvement in work and community activities and has accepted a new first-shift job with Cantech Industries. Through her own hard work and dedication, Tammy changed her life, but without the support and care from Dawn of Hope, her story could have been much different.
Tammy’s story is just one example – there are so many more men and women who participate in Dawn of Hope programs that your support has helped. We want to sincerely thank you for standing behind our organization and for helping us to significantly change the lives of the adults we serve.
We ask that you help us continue to provide services to individuals like Tammy. Please consider making a donation and help us continue to change lives.