There’s a popular Nicholas Sparks book and movie out now called “Safe Haven”; it’s the story of a young woman who bravely escapes an abusive situation and eventually finds safety and love in a new community.
That hopeful theme is echoed in the life of current Maggie’s Place mom Dana and her daughter Miya, who also found safety and love in a new community by coming to The Zechariah House.
Dana found out about Maggie’s Place online, when she was seven months pregnant and being discharged from an inpatient drug treatment program. “I had no place to go, and they didn’t want to discharge me because I was still homeless,” Dana said. “But thankfully, I found Maggie’s Place.”
“I had no place to go, and they didn’t want to discharge me because I was still homeless,” Dana said. “But thankfully, I found Maggie’s Place.”
Though she was relieved to have a place to go, Dana wasn’t sure what to expect. “I was so scared at first; I was used to sleeping on a mat in shelters or living in a facility with other people who were addicts; I wasn’t sure if it would work out or if I could relate to the people. I was really surprised at how nice it was. It was such a relief to have even the simplest thing, like a clean sink down the hall to brush my teeth in. I was used to cleaning up at a Burger King.”
Dana’s road to addiction and homelessness was a painful one. Her family was so disrupted by multiple traumas that Dana was eventually left alone in her parent’s house at age 15, working and going to high school while also caring for her two younger siblings. She managed to graduate from high school, care for her siblings and find work in construction, but eventually one of her parents returned to the house. The siblings, now adults, were all told to leave. By this time she was well into drugs and had trouble keeping an apartment. She quickly found herself homeless, addicted and pregnant.
Her pregnancy was a powerful catalyst for change. “I had to get treatment,” said Dana. “I know in my heart that if it wasn’t for Miya, I’d be dead.” Dana completed an intensive 6-month inpatient detox program prior to arriving at The Zechariah House and has maintained her sobriety throughout her stay. Baby Miya is five months old and healthy, and Dana continues to attend outpatient rehab and is focused on her future. She hopes to use her previous construction experience to work at Home Depot and eventually open her own home renovation business.
“I finally feel like I have my life together,” Dana said. “Before I came to Maggie’s Place, I was scared every day. But I am not taking anything for granted now. The Zechariah House has helped me to feel safe; I know that I have food to eat, where I am sleeping, and I don’t feel scared anymore. The staff stays on top of me, and I really need that.“
“After being here, I know that Miya and I are going to make it,” she adds with confidence.