2017 Spring Newsletter – Astin’s Story: Dream Restored
Like many drawn to the Sunshine State, Astin and her family arrived in Central Florida from New Hersey with high hopes for a bright future.
“My best friend moved to Florida and she made it sound so nice,” she says. “We felt like we needed a fresh start so we decided to move down here, too.”
Those big dreams quickly turned into a nightmare as her friend reneged on her offer to host the family, and Astin and her husband, Khalil, couldn’t find jobs.
“It was scary because we had nowhere to go, Most of the shelters that would take me wouldn’t take teenage boys or my husband, and vice versa, and I wasn’t going anywhere without them. The Mission was the only place that would take the entire family.”
For the firs time since coming to Florida, Astin and her family feel at home. “The minute I stepped int here, I felt a sense of peace. The staff was so loving and caring. I knew right away we were going to be OK.”
Since arriving, Astin has earned her high school diploma, completed culinary school, and graduated from Valencia College’s Public Safety Telecommunicator class. She’s now going through the process of being hired as a 911 operator.
Meanwhile, Khalil has a steady job as a forklift operator and recently had a decades-old traffic violation expunged from his record so he can get his dirver’s license. The couple is paying off their debts and saving money to move into their own how – probably within the next year.
The day after graduating from Valencia, Astin shared her triumphant story with more than 300 guests at the Mission’s Inaugural Homecoming Gala.
“The Mission helped build my faith and relationship with God,” she told supporters. “They motivated me and showed me a healthier way to live. I’ve been truly blessed since coming here. The Mission saved my life.”