This client called originally in January because she was notified that her spouse, who was serving three years in prison for the assault on her last year, was getting out in June 2003 (less than a year) for “good behavior”. The client said this was his plan when he went in. He had told her that he preferred going to prison rather than taking probation because he “knew how to act and get out early!” Client was almost in a state of panic when she came to the Mesquite office for her intake. She has three little boys, her car was barely running, she had no job even though she had spent hours at the TWC office, she has no family support, and only one couple living locally that she says are supportive. She is living in very low income apartments, but for whatever reason had been unable to get rental assistance. In addition, the DHS office kept denying her services because they were “unable to locate the father of the children or her paperwork got misplaced.” When the assault took place, she was living in Austin, but the person at the courthouse suggested that she relocate and told her she could relocate with CVC funds. However, when she was to sign the papers for CVC, her father-in-law was standing nearby and insisted that she “really was not planning on signing those papers…she needed to just say that she bruises easily, etc.”
Anyway, she moved back to Mesquite, expecting money which never came. She said she really does not know how she has survived. Her two little boys in elementary school make excellent grades and get some kind of gift certificates for Wal-Mart which the client uses regularly for small family needs. She did not even know about Mesquite Social Services, but during her intake, was introduced to the case manager there who has given her some assistance. Crystal came to the Mesquite office to determine how New Beginning Center could assist with rent and utilities and also to assist her with the refilling for CVC.
The Mimosa Lane Baptist Church did some work on her car.
Counselor called the recruiter from Bill Priest who met with the client (again in the Mesquite office). The client was accepted in the medical coding job training program there, but during the first week of class, she was called out of class for a job interview in the president’s office, researching grants. (The client has computer experience, and did have a decent job in Austin with DOT.) She also was the only student who sent in her resume with each piece of paper required at the school even though the college told her there was a hiring freeze and no need to include a resume.
The client missed the New Beginning Center Easter party because her new boss sent her to get her hair styled and also arranged on another day for her to go to Attitudes and Attire to get an outfit. The client said she thinks he wants her to look more businesslike!! She has been unable to get to the Resale Shop because of having no transportation; someone gives her a ride to work because her car still needs work, inspection and insurance. The client said she took the oldest son for a haircut and watched carefully so she could cut the other two at home!
The client was to receive her first paycheck the day after her last counseling session, and she was so excited, she could hardly wait! Now that some of those very basic needs have been met, both the counselor and the client decided they may have an opportunity to actually start some “real counseling sessions.”
This client, a fifty-five year old woman, entered the shelter at the beginning of May. This client and her abuser were common law man and wife and the abuse had been occurring for over a year. In the most recent assault, this client had been slapped and slammed down into the ground injuring her arm, when her abuser tried to rape her. This client did not call the police during this assault because she was afraid the police would not be able to protect her from the abuser because he had threatened to kill her and her family if she spoke out about her abuse. Prior to this assault and within the previous 30 days, she had called the police twice; on those occasions the perpetrator had fled the scene. This client learned about New Beginning Center from a friend who desperately wanted her to escape the abuse.
This client called the hotline requesting shelter on May 4th, 2003. The hotline advocate working the case had screened her for shelter entry but she had to find a safe place to wait for a donated taxi from Contact Cab Services because the client did not have transportation of her own. The taxi scheduled to transport her to the shelter did not show up to provide the transportation. The hotline advocate finally arranged transportation by continuing to work various relationships with other community resources. The local police department provided the transportation and this client arrived in the shelter at 1:30 a.m.
Upon arrival at shelter, this client completed a small amount of documentation and was given a brief tour of the shelter, then shown to the room which she would share with other shelter residents. This client had left her home with nothing more than the clothes she was wearing, thus basic toiletries and clothes were made available to her immediately upon arrival.
The next morning this client shared with her advocate her feelings of fear regarding the abusers, loneliness for her home, and comfort from her roommates and other residents. She added her surprise at the warmth and openness shown towards her from all associated with the shelter. Finally, this client stated she now felt free to do as she chose and be “someone of importance,” whereas being with her husband, she felt she was a “doormat.” During the next few weeks, this client met with her advocate and participated in individual and group support sessions. By the following week, she had applied for Food Stamps and was actively seeking employment and housing. Her advocate gave her referrals to the Texas Work Force Commission, the Department of Human Services, and the Garland Housing Authority. At the end of her third week as a resident of the shelter, this client was employed with a mortgage company to file claims on property damages. She shared with the advocates, as well as the other residents, her feelings of empowerment, strength, and hope. She added that she did not believe three weeks prior that she would ever be able to find hope within her darkest moment and that today she would never doubt herself or her ability to have hope again. As she looked back on her life with the abuser, she likened the experience to being tortured and a living nightmare.
During her fourth and final week in shelter, this client had applied for and received a space in a transitional housing program to which her advocate had referred her. She moved into her own apartment with a great deal of hope, joy and happiness for her new beginning.
This client was arrested and charged with assault on her partner during one of many instances.
She then lost her job because she missed so much work going to court, etc. She is 55 years old and not been without a job since she was 17.
She is going to college but struggling. On probation, she has completed her community service work, and was ordered to complete six hours of anger management which her probation officer said she could do with the counselor at New Beginning Center. This way it does not cost her any money, so the counselor and the client are doing “anger management” each week until she completes six hours. Client is doing homework, watching films, and listening to tapes given to her by counselor. In the meantime, she is struggling financially, trying to make ends meet, and having to take money from her grown children, which is hurting her very much.
This client came to counseling because her sister-in-law (client’s spouse’s sister) suggested it. The sister-in-law said she was not taking sides; she just knew that both her brother and the client needed help. She said her brother refuses to get help, so at least she was able to point the client in a positive direction.
The client said that she was always proud that she had not divorced like her mother, but during the 20+ years she stayed in the marriage, she took verbal and physical abuse. She also admitted that she fought back and was very sarcastic. Finally one day, the client had a brain aneurysm (cause undetermined) and spent weeks in the hospital. Her spouse was very attentive until she came home from the hospital and seemed to be getting better. When the fighting started again, the sister-in-law suggested the client come to New Beginning Center. The client has been actively involved in group sessions and comes in periodically for individual couseling. She has secured a three-hour per day job at the one of her daughters attends. She is very upset because her oldest daughter is in an abusive relationship. In addition, when she moved into an apartment, the youngest daughter chose to stay with her father, a decision that has also upset the client. Although her spouse had been helpful and supportive when she moved into the apartment, she became sarcastic with him when she was angry. As a result, he brought all of her remaining possessions to the apartment and left them in garbage bags at the door. The client is struggling in all areas, physically, mentally, and emotionally, but has a strong determination and a lot of faith. She is actively involved in a group at her church, and, even though they are somewhat controlling, client does have support from her mother and sister, and of course, the sister-in-law who originally sent her to New Beginning Center.
This client is a Spanish client who was involved with Paula’s group, but transferred to Mesquite when Paula left. She had her safety plan all ready, had a new car, a good job, was just a few short months from moving out when she became ill, went to the doctor and was diagnosed with breast cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and some other conditions. She had both breasts removed, had to quit her job, and has now run out of insurance. Because of financial reasons, she still lives at home, and her spouse, who is seldom at home, continues to verbally abuse her even though she says most of the physical and sexual abuse has stopped. His girlfriends call the house all the time, but she says she is used to it. She has three children: twins, a boy and a girl aged 16, and a ten-year-old son. The older boy is in juvenile detention because of theft; the client turned him into the police. The daughter has become disrespectful to her mother and is now living with an aunt who deals drugs. The ten-year-old is still at home and client worries about all he has seen at home. The client no longer undergoes chemotherapy due to the cost and the drain on the strength she needs just to live. In addition, it makes her ill. Her spouse tells her she is disgusting and he does not know why she does not just go ahead and die. Her family lives in Laredo, and she claims that all members exhibit some kind of mental illness. She is an exceptionally pleasant person and says that her demeanor is genuine. She attributes her attitude to her faith in God, and is told at each group meeting by other clients what a blessing she is, but she truly struggles daily and even hourly just to live.
After three and a half years, this client finally terminated services. However, even though we are a “short term, crisis” agency, her story is unbelievable. Her extended family lives in Michigan and are uninvolved with her. Her spouse moved her to the Dallas area where she knew no one. She came to New Beginning Center after leaving him. She had taken her three children and moved in with a family from her church. As soon as she got a part-time job, she moved into a very low income apartment and was able to get housing assistance. Her spouse refused to give her a divorce. Caught in the middle, the oldest daughter got into all kinds of trouble. Still, the client continued right on her path. She got a full-time job, and one day last year when she came to counseling, she said she was going to buy a house. She did not know how, but she just knew it would happen. A female real estate agent did, indeed find her a house that had burned. The owners were having the house redone with insurance money, and client was even allowed to select her own tile and colors. She also bought a new, economical car, and at that point, one of her two younger children commented to her that they were finally “living like regular people.” Her three children went through counseling here. She has a strong faith in God, and just knows things will work out. She does get very discouraged and still sometimes calls the counselor, just to talk and update. Recently, she called and said there were some major problems at her workplace, so she just decided to go back to school, said she is now finally getting child support money and will be able to draw some unemployment, so additional schooling will help her to earn more money.
This client was a very short-time client. She came a few times to individual sessions, and then came regularly to group counseling. One night, she was given a homework assignment to read a book, and in three weeks, she returned with a book review for the group. When she returned to give her report, she said that the book was excellent, but what she realized in reading it was that she has already worked through everything she needs to work through. She said she knows she will be lonely, that she does not like being alone, and that her teenage son will soon be gone, but she also came to the point of pursuing her own interests and being content to be out of the marriage of over twenty years.
This is a relatively new client. She has been married approximately 18 years to a very abusive man. She has no children, and really fell in love with her husband’s daughter before she fell in love with him. At the time that the client first came to counseling, she said the daughter was 21 and living in apartment by herself.
When client came to counseling, she said she had left her husband many times, but that this time was for good unless he got help and changed. She was staying with her sister.
Her husband admitted that he needed help and went to the Galaxy Center. In fact, he came home from counseling, realized how it was helping, and expressed his concern for his wife and all he had done to her. She said he had changed so much that she went back to him. In November, she dropped out of counseling because things were so great between them.
In January, she called crying, saying that the 21-year-old step-daughter had died, complications of diabetes and possibly anorexia. She returned to counseling because her relationship with her husband had deteriorated. She said he refused to talk about the death of his daughter. In addition, she found some pornographic material. Once again, she has moved out moved out. This time she is living with her parents where she can have her little dogs with her. During her last phone conversation with the center, she sounded upbeat and indicated that because she has been working overtime, she needed to reschedule her appointment. She also stated that her husband was gone for good and that she had no plans to return to him. In looking forward, she said that she has made some very good plans for her own life, to pursue a career she abandoned years ago for marriage.
I wanted to write you a little note to tell you something that I think you will be proud of to know that your hard work, help and caring did make a huge difference in my life and my daughters.
When we first came to New Beginnings I was leaving a bad relationship that ended up in violence not only for me but also my daughters. Then to top it off went right back into another crash landing relationship. With your outlook and knowledge you were aware of this from the get go but I was insistent that it was anything but bad. You not only helped me see the cause as to why I had continued to fall into these relationships and why I tried so hard to make them work and be something they weren’t (GOOD FOR ME)!
As I would come to you on a weekly basis for counseling at first we seemed to not get anywhere and continue to discuss anything but the problems that I was there for. Once you realized that I wanted to discuss anything but (not intentionally) those certain issues, you then tried a much better approach that worked like a charm. One day you said to me “We are going to reverse roles today if I didn’t mind. So we started and you would act as if you were me and I would be you. Wow what an eye opener for me. You started by repeating what I had said to you in our previous sessions with hand and body gestures and all. One thing you always said to me was “If I would only listen to what I was saying”. I started laughing uncontrollably at the fact that you did such a wonderful impression of me.
The true ice breaker for me was to notice that I was not the only person in the world who had an out of this world parent who would drive you nuts and embarrass the heck out of you. I believe I laughed for 2 days about our discussion about my mother. The light was finally shinning at the end of the tunnel. I could actually see it and I had something to reach for. Self acceptance and to know I matter.
I could go on and on but the bottom line is that I want you to know the happy ending that all your hard work took part in. I lost my mother this past March which was very difficult for me considering all our discussions that had dealt with my mother’s involvement in someway. Somehow her being gone gave me the strength along with your counseling to break free from the bad relationship that I was in. It lasted 3 ½ years and here is the real fairytale ending. I got married October 20, 2007 to the most wonderful man who adores me and my daughters and they adore him. This was someone I had dated in high school and we broke it off because we decided we were too young to settle down and went our separate ways. We had not spoken in over 15 years but ran into each other when I was home in July to spread my mother’s ashes. We had brief conversations that were mind boggling but straight from the heart. The next thing that took place was that he called to see if he can visit us in Dallas about 3 weeks after we left Nebraska and returned to Texas. He spent sometime with the girls remind you this was their first meeting of one another and as they spent time together talking, playing games, bike riding etc he decided to asked their permission first if it was ok with them that he ask me to marry him. They could hardly stand not saying anything to me because they could see that he loved me very much and that he cared for them even though just meeting them. He then asked my fathers permission who was a little reluctant but after speaking with the girls he stated that he hasn’t heard that genuine joy from them in such a long time and that kids are great judgments of characters that the 3 of them had agreed that it would be great if he did. When he actually proposed to me before I could answer him both the girls jumped up and said yes for me, which of course was my answer to begin with. I was in shock I think because this was the person who I had loved and trusted and did not ever think this would happen but it was my dream coming true. Well here we are happier than I thought ever possible. Not only do I trust in him but I know without any reservation that he is my soul mate. I came across all the papers that I saved from our meetings and I read over them studied them and to my amazement just as I had thought there were NO RED FLAGS! We communicate with one another, we don’t judge each other or compare past relationships. No harsh words & it feels absolutely natural to be together there are no forced feelings with any of us. We all are able to be who we are and it feels wonderful to be in the place where I thought I would never be IN A WONDERFUL, CARING, STRONG, PEACEFUL, LOVING, GROWING RELATIONSHIP.
Bottom line is that I might not be where I am today if it weren’t for you and Rebecca helping me and the girls. I probably would have stayed in the other relationship even though I knew it was bad and would only get worse. You taught me to be a stronger person and believe in myself and that being in a bad relationship isn’t right, abuse isn’t right (on the giving and receiving end).
As I promised when we had our last meeting that I would send you a progress report on my situation. Granted I will admit I hated it when I had to leave and let someone else have that time slot because I felt as if I relied on you for support and what you were telling me was that I was strong enough to do what I needed to and that I didn’t need anyone there to hold my hand. Well here is an up date on how we are doing and for you to see for yourself if I actually listened and learned to anything you told me. Well SHABAMB!!!! YOU GOT A WINNER! I DID LISTEN AND LEARN. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALL YOU DID!!!!
I want to tell those who are responsible for the making of New Beginnings, those who fund it, the counselor’s and staff who work there what a huge difference they make to those who seek their help. I pray that they are there for many years to come. They do wonderful work for the parents and children and restore the peace that was once there but lost somehow in life. I am certain that I am not the only success story that has come from the services given here. But I will tell you that every dollar that is funded to them is used to the extent and well used. Please keep it going it helps so many and for a wonderful cause! Life to live happy and not in fear!!!!!!!!
Thank you so much!