Kesha came from a military family and worked for the United States Army for fifteen years. She married a marine who was deployed to Iraq. When he returned from active duty, he wasn’t the same man. He became violent and abusive, which led to the complete upheaval of Kesha’s life and the life of her young daughter. It was during this time that Kesha lost her support system, her father, an Army veteran, to a car accident.
When Kesha uprooted her life to escape the abuse and left her stable job, she initially had nowhere to turn. She struggled to find employment and saw her savings and her options dwindling. Eventually Kesha and her daughter found themselves homeless.
It was at this point that Kesha was referred to the Community Resource Center (CRC) – a REDF-backed portfolio organization. At CRC they understood Kesha’s situation and gave her the tools she needed for a new beginning. With a focus on victims of domestic violence, CRC could provide Kesha with the support she needed, including housing, counseling services and a job. CRC knows the transformative power jobs can have for people who have fallen on hard times. That’s why they operate thrift stores that employ their clients to help them get into the workforce. CRC also provided the means for Kesha to take classes and assist her daughter to graduate from high school. This also helped Kesha learn how to understand others and to communicate her own needs.
Kesha shared that one day at CRC, she and her daughter were waiting for an appointment. An older gentleman was sitting across from them in the small lobby. He had a torn shirt and callouses on his feet.
When Kesha returned from speaking with her CRC advisor, she found her daughter crying. She had asked the man if he was homeless, and he replied, “sort of.”
Kesha’s daughter said she was also, “homeless, sort of.”
The man told Kesha and her daughter to stay positive and that their life would turn around. That story changed Kesha’s life and made her look at the world in a completely different way. From that moment, she was better able to understand individuals and not judge them for their circumstances. She also came to the realization that her calling in life was to help others, and she pursued getting her ministerial certification.
Today, after years of hard work and counseling, Kesha works for Solutions for Change, an organization that finds housing for homeless families. She is uniquely qualified to help her clients because she knows what it’s like for your whole world to radically change and to wind up homeless. And she can also share her daughter’s success as an inspiration. Her daughter now attends college and is an assistant manager for a retail store.
Kesha says the CRC and REDF came into her life at exactly the right time. CRC helped her bridge the precarious gap between the two parts of her life – her life before she was abused and the life she has built since.
Kesha says, “I want all women to understand that organizations like REDF and CRC aren’t just providing interim solutions for people’s lives, they are helping people get ahead and live a full life. They are succeeding where other organizations are struggling.”
Hear Kesha tell her story in person at REDF’s 6th annual Social Enterprise Expo.