A lifeline that saved my life
Tara’s story begins in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Her mother left her and her sister in the care of her grandparents when Tara was just five years old. Her grandparents spoiled her, but the shadow of trauma from her mother’s departure still hung over Tara.
After finishing high school, Tara was accepted to and began attending Austin Peay. She had a mentor who was helping her pay for college, but Tara admits she wasn’t ready to be on her own. The childhood trauma and mental health issues took their toll. She ended up getting pregnant. When she told her mentor about the pregnancy, the mentor told her that there would be no more help for school. Tara had to drop out. She felt that she couldn’t go back to her grandparents, so she went to a women’s shelter, and then to a program for homeless youth. A woman at the youth program contacted Tara’s mom in Frankfort, and Tara moved to Kentucky to live with her mom.
The time with her mom was short-lived. Tara left her mom’s home after her mom began physically abusing her. She felt she had nowhere to turn, and considered suicide. She ended up in the hospital and was released to another women’s shelter. Her mom ended up finding Lifehouse. Tara called Lifehouse, and once accepted, she took a Greyhound bus to Louisville. Her expectations were Lifehouse would be another shelter, with rows of beds. To her surprise, she learned she would have her own room. She saw Lifehouse as a home, not anything like a shelter.
Tara was very nervous and wary of other program participantss and staff. She didn’t really trust anyone. Getting used to the different personalities and backgrounds of program participantss and staff was difficult. Tara soon learned that the Lifehouse staff had her best interests at heart. She may have not always seen eye-to-eye with House Moms, but getting tips and guidance on different ways to do things, learning from their experience, and knowing everyone at Lifehouse wants the best for each program participants helped Tara open up and develop deep bonds with others.
Some of the biggest lessons Tara learned were understanding the importance of managing finances, improving communication about feelings and emotions, and the best ways to discipline her daughter. She believes Lifehouse helped her break the generational cycle of abuse. Tara admits that she may have lost custody of her daughter and still be living in a shelter if it had not been for Lifehouse.
Tara didn’t grow up attending church and had no faith before coming to Lifehouse. Her faith has grown and strengthened, but she acknowledges she is still a work in progress. She regularly asks God for help and knows He loves her.
Tara graduated from the Lifehouse program in October 2023. She is working on a two-year nursing degree, with plans to get her LPN and eventually her BSN. She hopes to become an ER nurse.
Tara believes the relationships she built with both staff and program participantss are the strongest she’s ever had. They have been her family for four years. She is grateful to the people who support Lifehouse. Tara says, “No matter how big or small, a donation will help change someone’s life. Sometimes the smallest donation makes the biggest impact.”
As she looks to the future, Tara believes coming to Lifehouse was the best thing she’s ever done. “I want to continue building my faith and teach my daughter about God’s love for her. Lifehouse is a lifeline that saved my life and my daughter’s life.”