Caroline Kole

Caroline Kole

They all wore pretty outfits, and they had even prettier smiles. They enjoyed a gourmet meal. They were presented with red roses. They were treated to a private concert. Who are “they?” They are the women of Nashville Rescue Mission.

This could have been a scene at any fancy charity event going on in Nashville. But this one touched my heart like no other. All those beautiful guests of honor had one thing in common, homelessness and a broken road that got them there.

Two years ago, I had the honor of being invited by Reba to entertain the ladies of Nashville Rescue Mission at a special Valentine’s Day luncheon, called “Hearts of Hope.” At first, I thought the most exciting thing in this scenario was the opportunity to perform alongside Reba—my idol. (I was hoping I wouldn’t forget the words to a song or miss a chord on the guitar!) I soon learned that equally as exciting was meeting such women of strength and hearing their stories of survival and redemption.

Maybe I had a different idea of homelessness and those affected by it before I met so many of them. We took photos together; we sang together; we commented on each others cute shoes. Just a regular group of ladies, doing what we ladies like to do. Hearing their stories of hitting rock bottom and how the Mission was the only constant in their life, the only place that didn’t greet them with a “NO” upon arrival, was so powerful. Many of us in the room were moved to tears. God is Great!

Reba has been amazing to me … allowing me to open for her incredible band all across the USA, while being a true friend and mentor. I have seen sights I would have never seen without her. And now, I have her to thank for introducing me to the work Nashville Rescue Mission does. For the second year Reba and I had a great time sharing our Valentine’s Day with everyone there … but one thing that made us both so happy was how much the event has grown. We hope it continues to grow!

We are lucky Nashville has so many incredible things to offer as a great city—music, culture, fabulous food (HOT CHICKEN!), southern hospitality (YES MA’AM!), beautiful seasons and scenery, and after being a part of “Hearts of Hope,” I count Nashville Rescue Mission as one of its great assets.


Caroline Kole is a Country Music Artist, with two top 30 albums and two #1 videos to her name. She tours the country with her band, performing with many of the top names in Country Music. Caroline moved to Music City five years ago to start high school and pursue a career in music. She recently graduated from Father Ryan High School and will attend Belmont University this fall.

 

Vactionless: A Summer For the Homeless

Vactionless: A Summer For the Homeless

“I never imagined spending my summer in a shelter with my son,” said Mikisha. “But the need to be in a safe place outweighs the luxury of a summer vacation.”

With two college degrees, Mikisha isn’t someone you would expect to find living at a homeless shelter. Homelessness does not discriminate, it can happen to anyone.

“I had a great job working as a programmer,” said Mikisha. “But I was dealing with some mental health issues and loved alcohol a little too much. I used it as a crutch. I lost my job, which led to more drinking, which led to legal issues.”

“Drinking taints a person’s ability to make good choices,” said Mikisha. “It’s what led me to stay in an abusive relationship for too long. It wasn’t safe for me or for my son. I had no job, no savings, and no one to turn to. I had to find a safe place for us to go and get away.”

“I’m grateful I found Nashville Rescue Mission. It was the only place I could go and take my son with me.”

 

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A staggering 2.5 million children are now homeless each year in America, according to The National Center on Family Homelessness. This historic high represents one in every 30 children in the United States. Determined to not be just a statistic and to make a better life for her and her son, Mikisha spent the next several days praying for answers.

Mikisha believes God led her to the Mission. “I would describe myself as a Christian,” said Mikisha. “But I wasn’t very good at it. In the first few days of being at the Mission, something changed. It was as if God was saying, ‘Mikisha, don’t lose hope. Things can change. Trust me.’”

After learning more about the Mission’s Life Recovery Program, Mikisha knew this was the answer to her prayer. “I’m going to have the chance to get my life back in order. I can’t tell you how excited I am about our future,” Mikisha shared.

In the Mission’s 12-month Life Recovery Program, Mikisha will attend classes on how to study the Bible, addiction education, anger management, grief and loss, forgiveness, parenting, along with one-on-one counseling, work therapy, while living within a community of believers who serve as a support system. She will have the opportunity to stay in transitional housing upon completion of the educational component of the program, where she will continue to have accountability, receive counseling, and guidance. This will give Mikisha time to find a job, work, save money, and transition back into society as a productive citizen and strong mother for her son.

As Mikisha starts on this journey, she says, “I do have hope. I can see a light at the end of a long tunnel. I’m ready to put in the work.”

 


Help Mikisha and her son, and others like them get a new start.

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