“The Nursery is one of those things that I am thankful to have. They are a saving grace on my worst days. They allow me the time I need to work on myself and they love my kids.”
These are recent heartfelt words shared by Amy, a single Nursery mother of twins and Guest Speaker at our annual Vanessa’s Promise Benefit Luncheon.
In early 2017, Amy’s partner Brandon was killed leaving her completely lost and raising twins alone without someone to encourage her and listen.
It wasn’t long after Brandon’s death that Amy was forced to move from her apartment, as a result of her neighbor’s unsanitary living conditions, and the landlord’s refusal to do anything about it. Amy moved in with friends who quickly turned on her, taking her money and leaving her homeless.
Amy and the twins lived in her car for two weeks until she could get into a shelter. Amy shared that this is where she thought things were “going to start looking up.” The shelter they were staying in let Amy stay longer than program normally allows because the lack of affordable housing in Spokane was impacting her ability to find a place she could qualify for and afford.
Amy eventually found a place to live through a housing program; however things only got worse for Amy and the kids. Amy found this home to have multiple unsafe living conditions, “trying not to be discouraged and focusing on creating a home for my children, I went to work on cleaning this place. For two weeks I used a family member’s camper to live in while I worked to clean the place to be livable to my standards.” Amy learned that it was illegal to camp on the streets in the city so she moved into the apartment. Just as she was moving in, Amy found a drug needle outside her front door and knew she could not have her children living in this environment. Amy’s new landlord would not return the deposit back and Amy found herself facing homelessness once again. Not wanting to return to the streets she scraped together enough money to stay in a hotel.
At this point Amy felt completely alone without a support system. She was aware of the Nursery, but shared that, “I was simply afraid they would call Child Protective Services on me if I asked them for help.” With the stress piling on, Amy felt she had nothing to lose and made the call to the Nursery. This call was the turning point in the difficult road Amy had been on for the past year.
In Amy’s words, “the Nursery truly saved my life. When meeting with the staff I received the support I needed to know that I had the strength to keep fighting and that I was going to be okay.”
Over the next few months Amy continued to use the Nursery. The twins grew to love and trust the Nursery, making many new friends and truly enjoying just being kids. Amy also began to trust more and learned to lean on the Nursery to help her move out of the situations she was facing.
With the Nursey in her corner Amy was able to find a safe, affordable apartment (where she has been for over six months!) Amy also went back to school and got her high school diploma. Amy shared that she, “wouldn’t have done this without the Nursery there to help me through some of the harder days.”
Today her children are enrolled in a great child care program, where Amy is also working. She expressed that “I am so proud of the things I have accomplished” – further adding that, “the Nursery has been right there by my side every step of the way.”
Amy observes that, “While my life isn’t perfect and I still have challenges that come up, I remember Brandon and his words of encouragement. He would say “Be humble and thankful for what you have”. The Nursery is one of those things that I am thankful to have. They are a saving grace on my worst days. They allow me the time I need to work on myself and they love my kids.”
Amy concluded her emotional speech expressing her gratefulness to have the Nursery in our community and thanking Nursery founder Bill Bialkowsky for starting the Nursery. “So to the man that started this place, Thank You! And to each of you that invest in keeping the Nursery open, I hope you know that you are making a difference for me and my children. I am so grateful! “