A SECOND CHANCE FOR IRENE (taken from Agape of Memphis, May 2011 Newsletter)
Faith, courage and help from others aid in restoring life for one woman and her children

My name is Irene. I came to Memphis about a 1 1/2 years ago to make a change in my life for the better. I have been through a lot in my past, with poor choices I had made and the inappropriate lifestyle that I was living. I prayed and asked God for a second chance to be a better mother to my four children, a better daughter to my mother who has been such a strong and positive role model in my life, and an overall better person. I have always desired to be like my mother: independent, hard working and always a good mother to her nine children. When I first came to Memphis, I was seven months pregnant with my youngest son. He is named after my brother who was murdered a few weeks after my arrival to Memphis. This, in addition to my past, was very detrimental to my life. I was at a crossroads, but I decided that I had to make a positive change in my life. Jobless, deeply depressed due to my past and the recent loss of my brother, and with little resources to sustain, I was introduced to First Choice. A representative there told me that she believed that everyone deserved a second chance regardless of their past. She gave me a job and linked me to other community resources. This was the driving motivation that led to my pursuit of being a better “me.”

I sought community resources to assist me in getting back on my feet. I received housing and utility assistance through the HPRP (Homeless Prevention Rapid Re-Housing Program) through MIFA (Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association) and was referred to Agape Child & Family Services. My Agape Family Housing Advocate (Ms. Johns) connected me with many community resources and I have received the assistance I needed to begin rebuilding my life. I am now pregnant with twins. I realize that they are a blessing from God. I was initially uncertain of what to do. I thought, “I am just getting back on my feet. I am not yet financially stable, and again I will be a single parent.” But, I put my faith and trust in God to successfully see me through and He has done exactly that. Through Agape I had the great fortune of being given a baby shower from St. George’s School and I received nearly everything I needed for caring for my babies. I have also received many gifts and donations from family, friends, and other resources. God has truly made a way for me and is continuing to do so. I say to anyone out there that may feel like giving up, don’t. There are a lot of community resources available that can and will assist you. They did it for me and they will do the same for you.