Second Chances – Mission Accomplished: Marie Melendez
“Why was God punishing her?” Marie wondered.
She was doing everything right. “I was going to church, being a great wife,” she recalls. And then, her husband left. Depression and financial stress reversed the clock, and she and her two children returned to the same condemned home they stayed in before the Mission. A second chance was all she needed. To her surprise, the Mission agreed. Marie and her children were welcomed back with open arms.
Determined to make the best of her opportunity, Marie signed up for everything. She attended classes on parenting, finances, and ethics; followed all the advice of her case manager, Ms. Yolanda; and enrolled in the health unit coordinator program at Orlando Technical Institute, now Orange Technical College. Although she had never been an outstanding student, she passed her courses with honors.
Eight years later, “life is different,” Marie reflects. After landing an on-the-spot offer from an AdventHealth job fair, Marie works for a company she loves. AdventHealth even featured Marie’s story on their social media pages in October, praising her life transformation. Marie credits her success to the Mission, specifically its donors. “They saved my life,” she begins. They also saved her children. She recounts how mentors at the Mission transformed her son’s attitude and work ethic. Both children now have jobs, good friends, and live in a safe community.
Everything “had to happen so [I] could find my true happiness,” Marie reflects. “I feel like I just found my life.” No longer plagued by depression, Marie wears hope for her future on her sleeve. She now knows God was not punishing her. Instead, he was turning every difficult circumstance into something good – a beautiful second chance for Marie.