Shamika’s Story

Monday nights are a highlight for Shamika.

On Mondays, BHA families gather for support, life skill classes and monthly dinners with Bagwashi Circle volunteers. Entering our Transitions program this Fall, Shamika is now surrounded by other single moms and friendships have developed.

“I look forward to getting together with the girls,” as she calls her new friends. In fact, she shared Thanksgiving dinner with two other BHA families in their apartments.

Shamika is one of 11 women currently in the Transitions program. Through their time here, these single mothers and their children gain stability and increase their parenting capacity. They transition to a place of greater independence and also often want to give back, usually from a life that was in crisis.

Before BHA, Shamika had left a dead-end relationship and her finances were in shambles. She was referred to the Transitions program by a friend. “I knew others who’d been through this program. They got on their feet. They straightened their life out. And I wanted the same for me and my family.”

“I am here to better myself,” Shamika relates. “That means getting my finances straight, so I won’t find myself in this situation again.” She is also beginning math tutoring to finish her final GED exam, and move on, she insists, “to get a career, not just a job.”

“I can’t leave it up to someone else to manage my life. When it comes to money, when it comes to family, I need to manage my own.”

Shamika has two children: a 13 year-old daughter, Kujuanna, and a baby boy, Mysir. They are the motivating force behind her coming to BHA. She decided to protect them from abuse and model the self respect that she hopes they’ll carry into adulthood. In all, we’ve served more than 75 children this year and implemented even more child development and youth mentoring programming for them.

Every year, over 100 mothers, fathers and children are bettering the lives of their families through the Brethren Housing Association. We must continue this vital ministry, but we also must do more. Over the past three years, we have faced a tripling demand for services. In one recent twelve-month period, we had to decline services to 564 homeless women and children solely due to our capacity limitations.

Our 20/20 Vision is an opportunity to meet this challenge. A culmination of 18 months of planning and preparation, the $2.25 million three-year campaign will help dramatically expand our impact in Harrisburg.

Over the next three years we seek to double our capacity to work with women and their children. With support from individuals like you as well as churches, businesses and grant makers, We aim to break the cycle of poverty for homeless single mothers like Shamika by:

Expanding services to have capacity to serve 20+ families on a given day;
Completing rehabilitation of the Hummel-Mulberry Street block, renovating two additional properties for four new families;
Enhancing our service with new children and youth mentoring programs.
Our ability to make this impact comes from your support. As you’ll see in our current Annual Report (PDF, 903k), about 1/3 of our funding comes from individual supporters. To reach our $2.25 million goal for the 20/20 Vision campaign, we need to raise $850,000 from folks like you.

Won’t you join us to invest in lasting change this Christmas? Whether $50 or $500 or $5,000, your investment in the future of parents and children makes a world of difference.

Shamika now knows that she’s not alone. She has her new “girlfriends” in the BHA program. She has staff assistance and new friends from local churches through our Bagwashi Circles mentoring initiative.

And she also has you. Your gift makes her new life possible.

Make an investment today in the self-sufficiency of your neighbors, for people like Shamika and her children.

Comments are closed.