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Mother finds hope for family

December 1, 2014

By Jim Edminson

As the Christmas decorations come out of the boxes, the atmosphere at Britton Ministries near Ahoskie brightens in anticipation of the coming season. Shanika takes the green wreath to hang on the front door of the Family Care home located in the northeast corner of the state. She pauses before hooking the welcoming circlet onto a brass hanger. “This Christmas,” she thinks, “is going to be better for my children.”

The mother of two has struggled since losing her plant job of six years more than two years ago. She pieced things together until finally she could not pay her utility bills. Last winter, there were times when the small family had no heat. Eventually, Shanika lost her home.

“There was no family to help us,” she recalls. “We were homeless.”

Shanika’s six-year-old daughter and four-year-old son were resilient. She remembers how they slept together in a friend’s recliner. They adapted to every change while their mother sought a way to bring stability back to her family.

“Even though it was hard, they never stopped believing,” Shanika says. “It broke my heart when we were left to sleeping in my car. And then I learned about Baptist Children’s Homes.”

The family arrived at the front door of the Family Care home this past August with only the clothes they were wearing, feeling broken and hopeless.

Family Care offers supportive group homes for single mothers and their children. The program provides a goal-focused living environment within a home setting. Family Care is specifically structured to help mothers transition to a successful, independent living experience. This service connects the mother and her family with the necessary resources and other community services needed to regain control of life.

“I’ve struggled all my adult life,” she confides. “I wanted it to change. My children deserve more. I’m doing this for them. I want them to have a better life. I want them to have a better legacy than what was left for me.”

Shanika says Britton Ministries provides the environment where she can succeed. She says she has peace of mind because she knows her children are safe, they sleep in their own beds at night, and they have food.

Shanika is attending school working toward becoming a medical office administrator and will graduate in May 2015. She is also volunteering at the community hospital with hopes of one day working there.

“This home has been a blessing to me and to my children,” Shanika says. “I’m standing on my own two feet. And it feels so good.”

With renewed hope, she says, “There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Britton Ministries is the helping hand I needed to help myself. My children are free to be children again.”

She says Family Care is a home, not a shelter. It is a place to work toward a real future. Shanika is focused on getting a promising job, a reliable family car, and a safe clean place to live and raise her son and daughter. She says life is all about her children and she hopes this Christmas will be their best ever.

“I’ll never forget this place,” Shanika says. “I thank God for His perfect timing in opening the door for my family to be here. Thank you to all who help make Family Care a reality – for me and for the other ladies and their children.”

You can help make hope possible for single mothers and their children like Shanika by making a gift to Baptist Children's Homes of North Carolina. Please give online at www.bchfamily.org/givenow to help immediately.