A Letter from Denise

Dear Community Lodgings,

I’ll never forget walking out of my apartment with my boys for the last time and the bittersweet feeling of how much things had changed in the past two years.

Before coming to Community Lodgings, my life was filled with fear. A safe home, free from violence, and providing basic things for my children, things most people take for granted, weren’t possible for me. I feared this would never change. I was so ashamed of my situation that I wouldn’t even reach out to my family for help.

When I came to Community Lodgings with a referral from the Alexandria Domestic Violence Shelter, I was a 28 year old single mother of two boys not knowing what life had in store for our future. During our two years in the Transitional Housing Program, our lives turned around. No one has ever believed in me the way you did. Rather than feeling hopeless, I was optimistic about my future. The counseling with Janine helped me overcome my past fears, and by working with Besu, I actually overcame tremendous debt and for the first time was able to start saving for my family’s future. Working with an employment coach allowed me to secure a job as a bank teller, the first job I’d had in the past five years. Community Lodgings provided me the confidence and strength to begin a new lease on life.

Today we are thriving and living independently, something I never could have imagined before we came to Community Lodgings. I’ve been promoted and am now the Assistant Branch Manager at the bank, which helps me provide a safe home for my sons. Shortly before completing the Transitional Housing Program, I decided it was time to share my story with my grandmother and tell her about the challenging obstacles I overcame. When I walked into the celebration in honor of my completion of the program and saw my grandma had ridden the train from Florida to see me start a new chapter in my life, my chest swelled and eyes watered. She glowed with pride the entire evening, and I’ll always cherish the memory of her whispering to me, “I knew you had it in you.”

Thank you for changing the course of my sons’ lives.

Sincerely,

Denise

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Administrative Office

3912 Elbert Ave. Suite 108

Alexandria, VA 22305

703-549-4407

The New Brookside Learning Center

601 Four Mile Road

Alexandria, VA 22305

703-566-9464

Fifer Family Learning Center

607 Notabene Drive

Alexandria, VA 22305

703-739-5856

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