Shawna came ready to take the next step in their life. Organizations in the community such as Heartly House, Seton Center, and Woman to Woman Mentoring, Inc were resources that she depended on.
The support Shawna received allowed her the opportunity to speak openly and safely in a way she hadn’t before. With the support of her mentor Kim Lenta, Shawna was able to gain the confidence needed to move forward in her life.
Shawna said, “One of the most dangerous times in an abusive relationship is when you are leaving it. And not only was I leaving it, but I was also desperately hanging on to the small farm my kids and I call home. I got through on sheer stubbornness and a refusal to give up. I was ready to take back my life. What was I going to do with my second chance? I knew I wasn’t going to waste it.”
Women make up over 50 percent of the total population of Frederick County, establishing a great need for mentor-based work for women specifically. By providing young women with mentorship, mentees are able to gain access to resources, opportunities, and guidance that they may otherwise never receive in their lifetime.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the median monthly owner costs of a house in Frederick County, with a mortgage, is a little under $2,000. For many women in the program, this is simply not realistic. Between childcare, health insurance, groceries, and other monthly expenses, the cost of living in Frederick has become a significant issue for many, causing families to live on or just below the poverty line. Living paycheck to paycheck, for many, has become so commonplace that it is just another part of daily stress. For Shawna, living as an ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) household was also her normal.
“I was counting change to have enough gas to get to work,” Shawna said.
Over time, given the proper resources, Shawna was able to make great strides in her economic and personal success. Having someone there to hold you accountable for your aspirations and goals is the difference between learning about services and changing your life. Mentoring then becomes the key component in action and allowing one to better themselves.
For many women, mentorship is an opportunity to create a better environment for them to thrive. Women come from all backgrounds, ages, sexualities, ethnicities, economic statuses, and races. A room full of so much diversity and eagerness to achieve all they are meant to be, leads to enlightening conversations and life-long friendships. By bonding together, both mentors and mentees are able to find more confidence in their individual voice through the collection of many.