Brenda Uses Life’s Detours to Chart New Course – Orlando Union Rescue Mission

Brenda Uses Life’s Detours to Chart New Course

 In Story

If you would have told Brenda in January 2010 that she would be homeless by the end of the year, she wouldn’t have believed you. She was married and living in an apartment with her husband. Her car got her to and from the various jobs she was assigned through a temp agency. In short, life seemed pretty good.

But in a whirlwind of misfortune, Brenda’s employer shut down in early 2010, leaving her without a job. Brenda and her husband separated soon after. And with no income or support from her husband, Brenda had to give up her apartment and her car. She was left alone and heartbroken, without the means to get back on her feet.

Brenda’s family did the best they could to care for her in this time of need. She lived with various family members but each place could only accommodate her for a few weeks at a time. Brenda needed a more long-term solution if she was going to become self-sufficient again. So when a friend told her about the Orlando Union Rescue Mission in November 2010, it seemed like God’s perfect provision for Brenda.

“I didn’t plan on being here but nobody does – the Mission was just a stop for me so I could make the best of my situation,” said Brenda.

One of the accomplishments Brenda is most proud of is her work in the Career Learning Center (CLC). Since she didn’t have her high school diploma, the staff encouraged her to work towards completing that degree as one of her first steps to self-sufficiency. Brenda confessed her apprehension to the lead instructor.

“I didn’t know how to write very well – I didn’t even know how to use proper puncution,” said Brenda. “The instructor just smiled  and told me that she would work with me each step of the way.”

Together, they made a list of educational and personal goals for Brenda and wrote them down. Every morning, Brenda would read over this list and pray for the strength to accomplish each one.

For the next several months, Brenda showed up to the CLC to work on her writing skills, reading comprehenison, and math. “When I would write something well, the instructor would print it out on nice paper and frame it for me,” gushed Brenda. “I still have all of those essays in a book – I get them out and read through them sometimes.”

This personalized attention and affirmation was exactly what Brenda needed. It gave her the confidence that she could go on to pursue her dream of going to college to become an interior designer.

A little over a year after moving in, Brenda and her case manager decided it was time for her to take on one of her biggest goals on the list: beginning life on her own again. She hadn’t yet reached her goal of passing the math section for her high school diploma – despite many attempts! But Brenda realized that just because she was leaving didn’t mean she needed to give up.

Since leaving the Mission and renting a home with her sister in MetroWest, Brenda has worked full time at Wal-Mart while relentlessly going after the goal of passing the math exam. She’s confident that this fall will be the final stretch of her journey to get that diploma – and the start of her pursuit of her dream.

“I want to start my own interior design business,” Brenda beamed. “After I complete my degree at Mid-Florida Tech, that’s the next step. I’m a pretty determined person so I know I’m going to get there soon!”

Brenda is close to receiving her high school diploma and ready to pursue her dreams, thanks to the assistance she received at the Career Learning Center at the Mission. Your gift of $26.82 provides a day of life-changing care, including education assistance, for a homeless man, woman or child in Central Florida.

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