She’s hoping to be reunited with her children

Shalet is saving for an apartment, so she canreunite with her children.

Shalet is saving for an apartment, so she can
reunite with her children.

Childhood was not easy for Shalet. She was the oldest of four and in the early years, her family moved several times between Chico and Pomona. “I helped my mom a lot with my brothers and sister,” Shalet said, “but then she died and it was really hard growing up without a mom.” Her grandmother took in her and her siblings.

Shalet remembers school starting out well. “I was very smart and liked school,” she said. “I made the district spelling bee and played basketball.” But in late middle school and high school, things changed and Shalet started getting into trouble. At 14, she went to juvenile hall after getting into fights at school, and after she was released, was placed in a group home.

At 18, despite the challenges at school and “partying during school hours,” Shalet got her GED. She moved out on her own and had her first child. When she couldn’t pay her rent, she moved in and out of her grandmother’s house. This went on for many years, during which time she had four other children.

After 12 years, Shalet separated from the father of her five children. “The beginning of the relationship was good, but (eventually) there was violence.” The police became involved and the father of her children went to jail for domestic abuse. She decided to move out of state, thinking it would be safer to physically separate herself from her violent partner.

But Shalet did not like being away from her children, so she “came back with no place to live.” For months, she walked the streets in the cold and survived on little food. “When I had the money I would ride the bus at night between Pomona and LA and stay on it all night long.”

She sought safety in park bathrooms, and her hopelessness got so bad she contemplated suicide. “I thought about killing myself because I did not want to be here anymore,” she said. “I just wanted to die.” She would even admit herself into emergency psychiatric care just to find shelter for a few nights.

One night while Shalet was walking the streets, she came across a crisis center where she learned about the Rescue Mission Alliance Victor Valley. “When I got the call there was a room I thought it was too good to be true,” remembered Shalet, who said she immediately found warmth and comfort at the shelter. “The homey environment was not what I was expecting living at a shelter and it makes me feel like I’m at home.”

Shalet’s faith is being restored each day and she’s abandoning old habits. “When I was homeless, I drank a lot, but now that I’m living here and drinking is not allowed because we are tested, I see that I don’t need it and can live without it,” she said.

The Mission has also provided access to computers, which made it possible for Shalet to get a job. “The Mission has given me temporary living stability so I can get a job and make money,” she said. “It’s impossible to get a job when you say you have no place to live.” She’s been working on budgeting and saving, and plans to get an apartment so she can be reunited with her children. “I am looking forward to moving forward,” she said.