Walls of Resentment Replaced by Hope
Caryn was 15 years old when she arrived at the Mission with her mother in 2006. And even though it was a vast improvement over moving from place to place and sometimes spending nights in a car, she didn’t embrace her new life at first.
“I was ashamed. I didn’t like the fact I was in high school living in a shelter,” she said. “I was afraid people would find out. I didn’t like all the rules, having to go to bed at night. I guess you could say I was rebellious.”
But eventually, thanks to the compassion shown by staff and volunteers, the walls of resentment came down.
“I felt loved there. I started talking to them and they really helped me through a lot of issues,” Caryn said. “One of the things they told me was that everywhere I go, there would be rules to follow and somebody in charge, and if I just sat and listened, I would learn a lot. That really had an impact on me.”
Although Caryn had attended church and considered herself a Christian before coming to the Mission, it wasn’t until she arrived that she began a true relationship with Christ.
“I learned to stay close to God, and to give Him everything,” she said. “I’m still in church and believe in that.”
Because of the previous turmoil in her life, Caryn had fallen behind in school, but she received tutoring in the Family Life Center and was able to get caught up.
Caryn moved out of the Mission after two years while her mother stayed a short while longer. She had joined the high school band and flag team, and staying with her aunt during her senior year made it easier for her to participate in her after-school activities. Today she is a mother of four, lives in Pine Hills and works at a hotel. She plans to attend school and pursue a career in hotel management.
She remains grateful for the role the Mission played in her life.
“They were two of the happiest years of my life. My whole life was turned around,” she said. “Ever since I left there, I’ve been OK. If it hadn’t been for the Mission, I’d probably be in the same predicament that I was in as a child.
Each day, O.U.R. Mission Home offers life-changing care to more than 30 families, like Caryn’s. Your gift of $26.82 provides a hot meal and life-changing care for a homeless man, woman or child in Central Florida.