“You learn to care about your space and appreciate accountability and respect for each other.” – Stacy
Open Doors resident Stacy Salters moved into her home at Cooper Apartments in January 2012. Now, just two and a half years later, she and her son and daughter have been able to move out of the Open Doors Residence Community into their own unsubsidized apartment.
A few years ago Stacy found herself feeling empty with a desire for a more fulfilling career. She recognized and embraced her need to pursue true happiness so with a leap of grace she applied for an Americorps/Vista position with Communities in Schools. She exclaimed “it takes a bit of crazy to seek happiness!” With this leap she quickly realized that supporting a family on the Americorps stipend would be difficult and she could no longer afford her $800-a-month apartment.
Stacy was referred to Open Doors by a friend where she was able to live within her means while pursuing her dream. Stacy describes her experience at Cooper Apartments as an opportunity to become part of a community where residents provide each other with support and encouragement. “Everyone has something to give to others,” she says. “You learn to care about your space and appreciate accountability and respect for each other,” Stacy adds. Still finding herself encompassed by the poverty mindset, she is constantly reminding herself how important it is to focus on future goals and to plan for tomorrow. “It’s not just about getting an apartment, it’s about making goals to do something bigger and better.”
Stacy is now working a fulfilling job she loves at Communities in Schools. As After-School Program Coordinator she enriches the lives of 75 to 100 children in Kindergarten through 5th Grade, providing academic support and enrichment experiences. She makes her impact by building positive, one-on-one relationships. Her next step is to apply for the Master’s program at the School of Social Work at Western Michigan University.
Remaining an active member of our community at Open Doors, she is one of two residents who serve on our Board of Directors and is a regular participant in our monthly community dinners. She serves as Treasurer of Bible Baptist Church and volunteers as an events coordinator at Mothers of Hope, a local community group that sponsors the annual Ultimate Family Reunion at Spring Valley Park.
Stacy hopes whoever gets her old apartment will be able to pursue their dreams as she has been able to through the help of Open Doors. We are glad that Open Doors had a home to offer her when she needed it. Now we are thrilled that she no longer needs a home at Open Doors.
“Open Doors has been a blessing from God and a second chance at the life I truly wanted.” – Sabrina
Sabrina began narcotic use at age 12. At 13, she began using methamphetamine which lead to a quick downward spiral. She used on and off which lead to involvement with the legal system and a criminal background. In 2013, Sabrina was given a second chance by participating in Drug Treatment Court (DTC) where she began her transition into sobriety.
After living a transient life with no stable housing and various run-ins with the law, Sabrina started working with a DTC Women’s caseworker to develop a plan that would ensure her stable housing through Kalamazoo Probation Enhancement Program, KPEP.
During her time at KPEP, Sabrina built trust with staff and surrendered to attempting to fix her mistakes on her own. Through AA/NA meetings she realized she had the support system she needed to make a positive change in her life. She also found a sense of community through her new church, Life Changing Ministries.
In January 2014, Sabrina was introduced to the Open Doors’ Next Door Women’s Shelter. At the Next Door she learned how to care for herself, build relationships with others, and let go of the people who didn’t have her best interest at heart. Sabrina learned how to set boundaries and how to self-sustain.
Her stay at Next Door lasted 10 months and has now moved into her first apartment in Open Doors’ Residence Community which she couldn’t be happier about! She feels that her new found independence is making her stronger as each day passes. Sabrina now works full-time and anticipates graduating from DTC in February 2015 and return to a sober life with her two children.