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Stories of Hope


Each year, Judson Center provides more than 400,000 compassionate, comprehensive services for over 4,100 children and families in need in southeast Michigan. Read our stories of hope:
 

Mental Health ServicesMIRIAM
I'm a type II diabetic. I also suffer from another ailment: depression. My diabetes is something I often talk about, but it is much harder to for me to open up about my depression.

My depression came with horrendous anxiety. I didn't know how to cope. I was not suicidal, but I felt every ache and pain in my body. I coped, but just barely. When at work, somehow things got done, but I was a basket case when I thought no one could see. I had been brought up to think depression was “weak-mindedness”, and I just forged ahead through sheer will power.

A friend encouraged me to seek help and somehow through my journey I found Judson Center. My therapist was one of those “real people”, she honestly understood what I was going through. The right medications along with the right therapy gave me the tools I needed to begin living my life again.

Now I know the signs of depression. And, I know help is there when needed. I have learned that mental illness is no more to be ashamed of than my diabetes or any other illness. I am very grateful to the wonderful people at Judson Center, it is where I found the real help and hope I needed. 


 

EBONY
With twinkling eyes and an easy smile, Ebony Foster shares the story of how her foster mother Louise changed her and her daughter’s life for the better. Living with Louise she said, "I realized what is normal for a regular family." She was unable to learn that in her mother's home where she lived with two sisters. Ebony matter-of-factly says, "My mother is an alcoholic … she has a disease." Sadly, this disease affected Ebony her whole life. When her mother was drunk, which was often, she was impatient and abusive. Ebony was afraid of her mom and, even if she was hungry she knew not to ask for anything when mom was drinking. 

She finally tired of her mother’s daily drinking, fights and embarrassing behavior. But it was watching her mother beat her sister so severely that the doctors thought her jaw had been broken that Ebony knew she needed to leave. She was 15 when she called authorities and asked to be placed into a foster family. This was a brave action for her because her mother had tried to scare her about foster care.

Ebony was placed in Louise’s home where she would grow into part of the family. It was evident one day that she had found the right home. While getting something to drink, she accidentally broke a glass. Panicked, she anxiously waited for the yelling to begin. Instead, Louise responded by simply saying, “Just pick it up.” It would be one of many lessons in learning not to worry about little things. 

Ebony thrived in Louise’s care. Louise encouraged her love of school and taught her that families can, “sit down and talk about good things.” And when Ebony became pregnant at 17 she assured her they would get through this and soon had her enrolled at a high school for teenaged mothers. Ebony graduated; the first in her family to do so. She knows she would not have graduated if she hadn’t been in foster care.

Today Ebony is living with her three year old daughter Jada in an apartment where they have planted purple petunias in front. She works full time as a direct care provider for children with developmental disabilities and adults and is taking classes at night at Macomb Community College. She is enthusiastic about work, school and her future. She knows she couldn’t have done it without the continuing support of her foster care mom, Louise.


GREGORY
Receiving that first paycheck is an exciting moment many of us never forget. For Gregory it was extra exciting. You see, Gregory is 54 years old and only recently received his very first paycheck as a participant in Judson Center's Grosse Pointe Supported Employment Program. Supported Employment serves adults with developmental disabilities by training and placing them into paying or volunteer jobs in the community. 

When Gregory returned to his group home on payday, “he couldn't get the check out of his lunchbox fast enough to show the staff” his mother noted in a letter to the Agency. When Gregory visited his parents on the weekend, there was a sense of accomplishment in his face as he showed off his check to his parents and siblings. He felt very proud to be making money “just like his dad”. In fact he was so proud they were not sure they could get the check deposited in the bank!

Gregory works with his job coach Julie at a Speedway gas station where he is part of the cleaning crew. His job at Speedway is a good match for him because he has always loved cars and this lets him work around them. His mother recalls that when other children would take a stuffed animal to bed, Gregory chose to sleep with a toy car. 

In total, Gregory works about 8 hours a week between Speedway and Pointe Fitness. He even volunteers one day a week at the Full Circle Resale Shop that provides training and job opportunities for young adults with special needs in the Grosse Pointe communities.

He is a proud employee of the Supported Employment Program where he has the opportunity to contribute to the community and experience a new level of independence and pride.


Judson Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Copyright © 2014, Judson Center, Inc.

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