If you look at the specifics, Chatrice could easily be labeled a statistic. She moved to the projects when she was 10-years-old. Her mother started experimenting with drugs soon thereafter. Chatrice left home when she was 16 and eventually quit school. By the time she was 18, she was pregnant with her first child. But by no means, is this woman simply a statistic.
When Home isn’t Safe
“I’ll never forget moving to the projects,” recalls Chatrice. “My mom started using drugs. There were people in and out of our house all the time. I didn’t feel safe.”
Out of fear, Chatrice left and went to live with her aunt. At her aunt’s house, everyone was expected to do their part. Chatrice quit school and got a job so she could help out. All the while, Chatrice worried about her younger brother, who was still at home. Eventually, her concern for his well-being led her back home.
“I knew he needed me,” shares Chatrice. “I felt some responsibility for him. I knew I couldn’t leave him there in the midst of all those drugs, so I went to protect him.”
“I may be a statistic but I’m not living like one.”
Being a Single Mom
At 18, Chatrice gave birth to her son Nathan. Life was tough, but she managed as a single mom, worked and helped out at home for the next several years. Eventually things fell apart and Chatrice left again—this time as a single mom with a son.
“Things weren’t easy for me,” says Chatrice. “But somehow, I’d always get by, find a job, put food on the table and keep my head above water…but one day my luck ran out.”
Chatrice found herself homeless, a single mom to a 4-year-old son and pregnant with her second child. It was the middle of the summer. It was hot. She had nowhere to go. She had run out of options and was desperate for help.
No Beach Vacation
“Instead of planning a vacation, I was trying to figure out where we were going to sleep and what we were going to eat,” recalls Chatrice. “It definitely wasn’t the summer vacation I had hoped for.”
God led Chatrice to the Nashville Rescue Mission. At the Mission, she found safety from the heat, food for her and her son and a place to sleep.
“I went to the Mission as a last resort,” shares Chatrice. “I was pregnant, tired and needed a safe place for Nathan and me. I was embarrassed to go there. It’s hard to ask for help. Pride often gets in the way. But I was pregnant and I knew I couldn’t put my son and unborn child in danger.”
“The Mission gave me a way off the streets and a place of safety,” says Chatrice. “It was hot that summer and being pregnant made it feel even hotter. I received kindness, compassion, comfort and care at the Mission. I didn’t want to stay longer than I had to, but I am grateful I had a place to stay during my time of need.”
After giving birth to her daughter, Chatrice moved back home with her mother and brother. By this time, her mother had gotten her life together which allowed for Chatrice to attend CNT school and eventually land a job at a health care center.
“Around the time my daughter was three, I got approved for subsidized housing and we moved,” said Chatrice. “I remember one night sitting on my bed and hearing a voice inside my head say, ‘Chatrice, you cannot keep ice skating through life.’ I believe God was telling me to pick myself up and make something of myself.”
“I can finally say I’m proud of myself.”
Starting Over and Succeeding
And pick herself up, she did. Chatrice went back to school, got her GED and the week after getting the news of passing, she enrolled in college. While in school, she was still a single mom to two kids, worked a full-time job and managed to stay on the Dean’s List. She was determined to defy the odds that had been stacked against her—and she succeeded.
Chatrice became a Pharmacy Technician and is now working at Target Pharmacy. Her son Nathan is 15, daughter Essence is 10 and son Kayen will soon be 4.
“I’m grateful I had the Nashville Rescue Mission to go to when I was in need,” shares Chatrice. “It’s not an experience I want to repeat, but that time inspired me to find the ambition I needed to change my life.”
It is because of faithful donors like you, those in need like Chatrice have a place to go when all other options have run out. Thank you for helping give them a hand up.