“I was always the quiet one, and the responsible one,” shared Mariah when recently reflecting about her life growing up. She lived on the Eastside of Indianapolis with her mom and 5 sisters … “and several brothers.”
Even though test taking was difficult for Mariah, she worked hard and graduated from Lawrence Central High School in 2016. Soon after, she got a job and moved into her own apartment.
“My mom was proud of me.” she said.
One day while she was at work, her apartment caught on fire. A neighbor had left a space-heater on. All her things were ruined. She sadly recalls, “I lost everything.”
Along with being pregnant at the time, her life was becoming very difficult.
Her mom wanted Mariah to get her life back on a good path and told her about The O’Connor House. Mariah also wanted to change her path, so she contacted The O’Connor House and was thankful to be able to move in. She delivered her baby boy Terrance Jeremiah on Oct. 27, who is lovingly called TJ.
Mariah is currently employed at ManorCare Summer Trace in Carmel as a housekeeper. She’s thankful to have a job and to be living with TJ at The O’Connor House and saving money for their future.
In the past, Mariah took the test to obtain her Driver’s Learner Permit, but she failed several times. While at The O’Connor House she was able to enroll in a driver’s training program. For two weeks, Mariah went to work and then to her driver’s training class from 5-7:30p.m. The classes, plus studying together with her Mentor Cyndy Bailey, helped her to finally pass the test to get her permit.
Cyndy shared, “I am so proud of Mariah and her perseverance. She is working hard to get her license and to save money. I had tears in my eyes as we walked out of the BMV!”
Mariah was thrilled when they told her at the License Branch that she passed! “I was so happy to pass the test. I felt it was a big step forward for me. It was a big step towards getting my license.”
“My goals are to be a good mother to TJ, continue working, save money, get my license, and someday get a car.” She added, “Being at The O’Connor House taught me about budgeting and saving money. This has been helpful! Someday I hope to work as a CNA in someone’s home.”
Mariah shared that she feels like her mom is proud of her again. “Coming to The O’Connor House brought us back together. And TJ brings us together also. I’m very thankful to all the supporters for providing this home!”
Dominique was living happily with her mother and sisters in downtown Indianapolis. But after the loss of her mother when Dominique was six, she was moved to an unhealthy living environment. Over the years, Dominique struggled with her situation and the resulting anger issues. She became pregnant, dropped out of high school and moved out. Not sure where she could go, she was guided to The O’Connor House through her high school counselor and moved in during the fall 2014.
Dominique recalls “before moving into The O’Connor House, I was lost.” She described her arrival by saying “it was like when you hit the refresh button on the computer…. and refresh.” While living at The O’Connor House, baby Jaycob was born. Dominique said that by watching the staff and the volunteers she has learned a lot about raising a baby. “Jaycob learns so much from everyone here too. I don’t want to think about what it would be like if we weren’t here.”
During her time at The O’Connor House, Dominique worked hard and with the love, guidance, and support of staff and volunteers she went back to school and graduated. “I am the first person in my family to receive my high school diploma.” Dominique has a job in the community and is working on getting her CNA certification. Dominique dreams of owning her own home someday.
During her childhood, Saibree lived with her mother and half-brothers. She shared that
“None of our fathers were around or interested in us. My mother didn’t like to stay in one place for very long, so we moved many times, from the Southern U.S. to the West Coast and finally to the Midwest. Never settling in a permanent home. I
learned to not get attached to people or places. My mother always said not to trust anyone, so I didn’t make any real friends. I grew up not knowing what was going to happen in my life from one day to the next.”
As she got older, Saibree felt that her mother didn’t want her around. And when she became pregnant, she said that she knew she couldn’t stay. “I turned to a shelter that provided short-term stays for homeless youth. I was 18 years old, pregnant, and homeless. I wanted to keep my baby, but I had no job, nowhere to go, and no idea how to cope.”
Then a volunteer at the shelter told her about The O’Connor House. Saibree said, “I was suspicious but, I met with a staff member there and found a safe and supportive home, and people I eventually learned to trust.”
Saibree moved to The O’Connor House in July, and her son was born in August. “I found STABILITY and security at The O’Connor House. The staff and volunteers gave me encouragement. For the first time, I had a calmness of mind that allowed me to dream of the life I wanted for the two of us.With the help of The O’Connor House staff, I realized that God has given me a good mind and a strong will, and I set out to find a job so I could begin supporting myself and my baby.”
Saibree began taking classes in the pharmacy technician program at Ivy Tech. “THANKS TO THE O’CONNOR HOUSE, I am discovering the gifts God has given me, and becoming a more loving and stable mother to my son.”
This is a story of a mother named Cecelia.
Cecelia was living in downtown Indianapolis and doing well. She had a full-time job, a place to live, and was providing a stable home as she single-handedly mothered her 2 daughters: 4 year old Ja’lynn and 1 year old Diamond. And then, as it sometimes does, life took a turn.
Diamond was born with a tumor that doctors later diagnosed as a rare form of cancer. For Diamond to survive, she would need 12 months of chemotherapy. Cecelia devastated by the diagnosis and overwhelmed at what lay ahead — fear for Diamond’s life, medical bills, caring for a sick child as well as 4 year old Ja’lynn—and doing it all alone. Struggles with the children’s father produced even greater stress. Then she received the news she was pregnant.
Cecelia arrived at The O’Connor House in the spring of 2014 seeking shelter and support. She was pregnant, homeless, and full of worry for Ja’lynn and Diamond. Desperate and alone, it seemed that adding a third child to her family would be impossible. Cecelia was heartbroken and not sure where to turn.
The O’Connor House ministry provided the hope and resources Cecelia needed to get back on her feet, and to assist her with a good plan for the future. During her stay, Cecelia was able to continue to care for Diamond as she recovered from chemotherapy treatments, while staff and volunteers helped care for Ja’lynn.
Cecelia was able to find a new job and save enough money to move into a home of her own. She welcomed the birth of her third daughter, Dynasty, with renewed hope and dreams for the future for her family.
“The O’Connor House enabled me to keep my third child by providing me with just about everything – The O’Connor House changed my life in tremendous ways and I will never forget them and the help they gave me when I had nowhere else to turn.”