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Meet Donna, A Cara Success Story

She’s transforming her life, thanks to your support.

“I grew up on the southwest side of Chicago until my parents split up when I was young. My mom went to work to support us, so my grandmother took care of me. Then, I lost four people I was really close to – three family members and a good family friend. When my mom died, I stayed in her house for a couple years, but one of the banks was foreclosing on the house. I was able to hold them off for a couple more years, but I couldn’t stay there. 

“I’ve been at Pacific Garden Mission (PGM) since last December. While it is not an ideal situation and I’ve been there for almost a year, I look outside and think about how it could be worse. I have hot showers and a bed to sleep in. I have clothes on my back and meals. I am grateful to PGM and Cara for everything they have provided me. 

“The first day of Cara’s orientation I wondered what I had gotten myself into. I remember thinking Mr. Jesse was tough, but he’s tough because he wants to pull the best out of you. When we did the mirror exercise, I remember thinking please don’t stop in front of me. He stopped in front of a friend of mine, and she wasn’t happy with the way she looked in the mirror. That was hard.

“There was the forgiveness exercise where you write a letter to someone you were having problems with… that was the easy part. The hard part was getting up in front of everyone and reading aloud the letter as if the person you were having an issue with was standing in front of you. It was hard because the issue is still raw and very emotional for me. I am not sure if this relationship with my family member will ever be repaired between us.

“At Cara, the biggest lesson I’ve learned is conflict management. Living in a shelter, you have so many women with different personalities around you. I know when something isn’t worth getting involved in and I get out of there. Cara taught me how to embrace the power of the pause.

“I am amplifying my voice to prove that no matter what life hands you, you can make it.

“Motivation means inspiring people and getting them going in the morning. It is about inspiring people to go on and do bigger and better things with their lives. It gives them a boost.

“For a career, I would like to be an administrative assistant. I did it for ten years. I am loyal, compassionate, and fun. I would also like to work with animals because I have loved animals ever since I was little.”

Your #GivingTuesday donation guarantees Cara participants like Donna are transforming their lives. Help her amplify her voice. Click here to donate. Any amount makes a difference!