Charmaine and daughterMy name is Charmaine, and I was in an abusive relationship. I have an 11-year-old daughter. My daughter and I were kicked out by my abusive husband. We went from sleeping in our minivan to an occasional couch at a friend’s house. When we were approved to be a part of the United Way funded program, I was so excited.

Since my abuser had a warrant out for his arrest, I went back to the house to collect my items. Hiding behind a tree, my abusive husband jumped out and stabbed me 7 times. While in the hospital, I missed my appointment to confirm my move-in date and I was so worried I would be homeless again. Thankfully, they did not give-up on me. They found out through the community that I was in the hospital.

They found a safe family for my daughter and took care of our bills while I was in the hospital. After 6 weeks, I was released and moved from the hospital into my new housing unit. 4 weeks later, I had full time employment at Target. I have just completed the budget training program and time management training. My goal is to obtain my own 2-bedroom apartment in the next few months.

The greatest change is seeing the smile on my daughter’s face. The same smile she had when she first saw the trailer is the same smile she still has today. I am now working full time, my daughter is doing well in school, she has also learned to budget effectively and there is now a bright future ahead for us both.

I had a tragic beginning when I started the United Way program. Just thinking of it, keeps me up at night. Being stabbed by the person you once loved makes you feel like there is nothing left in this life. Since being in this program, I was treated like my life means something. It’s like a dream. They are covering all expenses and giving me an opportunity to get back on my feet. The most important thing to me is my daughter. Knowing that she is safe means everything. I am so grateful. I don’t know where I would be without it.

Thank you, United Way of Lake and Sumter Counties. Without your support of life-changing programs like this, I am not sure if I’d be alive to tell this story.

United Way fights for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in every community. When you invest in United Way, you are saving lives!