What Harbor House Means to Me

Author: Mary Beth Chambers Published:

The following article is from a client who found shelter from domestic violence for her and her children at Harbor House.

hen my family got into shelter, we were beyond broken and barely holding on. I am a mother of three children under the age of 10, one girl and two boys. My daughter is special needs and demands extra attention. I was extremely drained and I just couldn’t keep up.

I genuinely believed I had no other option than to stay with an abusive man. I thought I might lose my kids. I felt like a failure as a mother.

Going to Harbor House was a last resort for me. I was worried about going there because it’s a religious organization. I thought the shelter would be strict, judgmental and difficult. But I had to try; I couldn’t lose my kids.

Harbor House was nothing like I expected. The staff was open, honest and was there to help me with whatever I needed. It was a safe environment that felt like home; it didn’t feel like a shelter. There were so many little things, like a private bathroom and access to laundry, which made a huge difference for my family’s recovery.

It’s not just the little stuff, though. They got my daughter into a specialist to assess her needs and help me take care of her better. My two boys were able to go back to school quickly with new backpacks and supplies. My advocate was able to help me find a job and open my own bank account. I didn’t need to worry at all like I had to before coming to shelter.

My advocate and case managers went above and beyond to make time to listen to me and help wipe away my tears. I quickly learned through their compassion that I not only had options but also deserved so much more. They showed me my dreams were not out of reach and assured me they would be there with my family every step of the way.

I have struggled my entire life as a momma in one way or another. I doubted myself for a long time and questioned my worthiness as my children’s mother. I no longer live in that dark hole. I strive to be the very best mother I can for my babies; if I fail one day, I no longer allow it to keep me down. I know now, even as a single mother, “We’ve got this!”