Julie was born into a life of financial hardship from a young age, growing up in low-income housing with her siblings on the west side of Kaua‘i. Her childhood was challenging, living in poverty while her single mother did everything she could to make ends meet, going every month to Nana’s House to apply for income assistance and feed her family from the food pantry.
Then Julie’s mother was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer, and passed away. In 2012, Julie’s life took a turn for the worse. She became addicted to crystal meth, her children were taken from her care and she lost her home and her relationship with her family. After a short jail sentence, Julie was living out of a tent on Waimea beach and stealing from local businesses to survive.
During this dark time of poverty and drug addiction, she remembered the help her mother had received from Nana’s House. She started going every day, when she needed clean clothes, water, food, or just a safe place to sit and rest. “Nana’s House was always there, and no one ever looked unhappy to see me,” says Julie.
One day, she went to Nana’s House, pregnant and still actively using crystal meth. She had hit rock bottom. Through the guidance of the staff, she enrolled herself in E Ala Hou for specialized substance abuse treatments, and received outpatient treatment from Women In Need. When her daughter was born, she participated in Voluntary Case Management. “Because of Nana’s House, I stopped using crystal meth and have been clean for almost two and a half years,” she says. “I was lost, but the people at Nana’s House were supportive and informative, and directed me to where I needed to be.”
Julie has turned her life around, having come a full circle from receiving help to giving help – today, she is employed full-time as a program secretary at Hale Ho‘omalu, the East Kaua‘i Family Center. “I am thrilled to be able to work in an organization dedicated to strengthening families,” says Julie. “I can’t express the gratitude I have for CFS, and the changes and development they have brought in my life. From growing up as a child in a single-parent home to becoming a struggling single mother myself, the Family Centers have been there for me through addiction, homelessness and recovery,” she says.
For more information on the CFS Family Centers, click here.