Shaquella’s Story of Transformation

A Hard Life

I was basically homeless for 20 years, moving from the streets to a relative’s couch to a friend’s floor. I’ve never stayed in any one place for long.

I think I’ve stayed in over a hundred places over the years, in all sorts of conditions. I’ve had to sleep outdoors in extreme heat, and in the bitter cold.

This journey started when I was growing up in Memphis. My dad was never in the picture, and my mama was real mean; she’d whip me for almost anything. So I stayed at my grandma’s house as often as I could. She was the only person in my family who ever showed love toward me.

I often acted out in anger, and got in a lot of fights. I was in and out of juvenile detention, and as an adult, in and out of jail. I struggled with drugs, especially weed and taking pills.

Finally, about a year ago, I decided I wanted to turn my life around — not just for me, but for my daughter Natasha too. It was no way for a family to live. I planned to move away from Memphis and just start over. A friend recommended Atlanta Mission.

Right when I was having these thoughts, a person that I thought was a friend stole every penny I had — more than $3,000. I was going to buy a car with that money. So when that happened, it was like the last straw. I scraped up enough for two bus tickets to Atlanta.

It’s the best move I’ve ever made.

I spent almost a year at Atlanta Mission. That’s the longest that Natasha and I have ever stayed in one place. I went through their programs, and learned that my anger was really just my way of crying out for attention, for love. The people at Atlanta Mission really care about you, about helping you in real life.

Now I’ve got a job, and we have our own apartment. I’m going to get my GED, and then go to school to become a barber.

For the first time in my life, I’m happy and content. And thanks to your support of Atlanta Mission, our little family — Natasha and me — is stable and full of hope.

Stories like this are a direct result of your kindness. The lives of men, women, and children are being transformed every day at Atlanta Mission. Thank you for your continued support!