Monica’s Story

A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn

Dear Friend,

These are weary times. Surrounded by stories of economic hardship, layoffs, war, crime, political polarization and fear, we naturally become weary. I hear heartbreaking tales at BHA daily.

But the Christmas story is a story of redemption. Of evil being overcome by good – of new life, second chances and sacrificial love. It’s the story of a weary world finding a reason to rejoice. This Christmas season I want to share one of these stories. Monica (not her real name) came to BHA 15 months ago…

I have been an addict for over ten years. I was in a very abusive relationship with my kids’ father. He is also an addict and very controlling. I had never really been on my own before. I have always been afraid to be by myself. I knew I wanted something better for my children but he had always threatened that if I left he would find me and get me. I knew I wanted to leave but was very afraid of change and the what ifs.

Finally, Monica found the courage to go to a battered women’s shelter where she learned about BHA…

By the grace of God I got accepted into this wonderful and life changing program. When I first got here I had nothing but 3 suitcases and I was a fugitive. Now I have an apartment full of furniture. I have gone to court get my warrant lifted and I’m taking care of my legal matters

So how has her time at BHA helped Monica to prepare for a brighter future?

With BHA helping and supporting me I was able to get a car, go to classes to help me with job readiness skills and I found a job at a life insurance company. I’ve been there for 9 months now. I have also been working on budgeting. My credit report was 14 pages last year when I got here and now it’s down to 5 pages. I am so proud of myself for that!

BHA’s Transitions program is about achieving these goals, but also so much more. Finances, yes. But each family has many other struggles, other areas where they seek wholeness.

BHA has helped me to stay clean, giving me a place to call my home for me and my kids. You’ve believed in me – that I am worth something and that I am somebody. I’m now able to have my family (my mom and sister) back in my life all because I am doing the right thing, which for me is believing that God has a plan for me as long as I trust in him (which is hard still). I know though that it’s because of God that I am clean and sober today.

And Monica has been inspired, challenged and supported by the relationships she has found at BHA…

I had gotten close to another BHA participant and for me it’s always been hard making friends and opening up to people, but I did let her into my life. Then to see her graduate and all she had done while she was at BHA gave me hope and inspiration that if she can change her life around that I too can do it. Also at the Bagwashi Circle nights I have made connections with some of the women there too. I have just become a more open person and trusting person. It’s okay to let people help you and to talk about your troubles and also having people to tell the joys of life!!

While God designed us to love and support one another, we often take our relationships for granted. But we don’t take them for granted at BHA: We know that our work is only possible because so many “extended family members” share love through financial donations, acts of service and prayer.

This year, almost 90% of our $450,000 annual budget must come from charitable sources – individuals, churches, businesses or foundations. And the biggest slice of the pie must come from individuals, people like you and me.

To continue our work with families like Monica’s, we must raise $165,000 from individual donors. As I write this, BHA is 2/3 of the way into our 2009-2010 fiscal year, and we have raised about 50% of this amount. So, there is much work still to be done.

Individual giving is especially vital this year as many business and foundations are cutting back their giving. We need you more than ever.

We’ve been feeling the tough economic times, and no doubt so are many of our supporters. All I ask is that you prayerfully consider what you can do. Persons of all means can have a great impact:

  • A $10,000 gift helps 5 families develop and implement a career and personal growth plan.
  • A $2,500 gift provides housing to four families for a month while they work on life changing goals.
  • A $500 gift assists one mom with educational fees as she pursues her GED.
  • A recurring donation of $50/month (form enclosed) ensures families have a warm home this winter.
  • Many $25 gifts ensure our families have stability and support while they build a future with hope.

I could go on and on about how your giving makes a difference, but Monica says it best…

If BHA wasn’t there what would have happened to me? I don’t know, maybe I would have given up. So I thank God that there is a program like BHA that believes people can change their circumstances when given a chance and some help. I owe BHA my life…were it not for this program I would have probably went back to my abusive relationship believing that I can’t do it by myself. But I’ve learned I can do it…I just know that I was given a second chance at life for me and my 2 children and I thank God for making it all possible.

For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn indeed.

Merry Christmas,
Steve Schwartz
Executive Director

P.S. Please consider how you can ensure Monica and other families can have the opportunity for a new and glorious morn. We welcome monthly commitments or outright gifts, and remember that outright gifts must be processed via our website by 11:59pm EST on December 31, 2009–or postmarked by December 31, 2009 if send by postal mail to BHA, 219 Hummel Street, Harrisburg, PA 17104–for your tax receipt to be dated in 2009.

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