Growing up, Kristy’s childhood was rooted in love, experiences and hard work. “Even though it was just my mom and grandmother, life for us was always fun,” she says. While fun was always had, knowing the value of a dollar and working hard was instilled in her at a young age – leading her to her first job at age 14.
After high school, Kristy moved to Texas with her family and started her career with a small business transcribing medical records. For three years, her new life in Texas was going perfectly; then her mother got sick, suffering complications from two major strokes.
While caring for her mother, Kristy learned she was pregnant with her first child. But even with the fears of being a single mother, Kristy still knew this was all part of God’s plan and was elated when her daughter, ZaMaya, was born. Unfortunately, tragedy struck and ZaMaya passed away from sudden infant death syndrome. “I went into a huge depression after it happened. I was in self destruction mode because my world stopped,” Kristy painfully recalls.
Unable to heal from this devastating loss, things got worse. Kristy used alcohol to cope with her grief – and was arrested on felony DWI charges. “I was trapped,” she remembers, “No one would hire me because I had a record.” In addition to Kristy’s mounting woes, her mother continued to battle significant health problems and passed away in 2015.
For the next couple of years, Kristy struggled to survive and get her life back together. She worked three jobs while dealing with significant health issues of her own. Although she found some relief crashing at a friend’s home, the stress of hospital stays led her to lose her jobs. When she was unable to contribute financially, Kristy found herself homeless.
Three months into homelessness, Kristy heard about Presbyterian Night Shelter’s business-for-good project, Clean Slate. “I knew I needed to start somewhere, and Clean Slate was my somewhere.” Kristy stated. Once enrolled, things began to take a positive turn in Kristy’s life. From the assistance with scheduling to the support from case managers, Clean Slate provided Kristy with hope, and she began working part time.
After thriving in the Clean Slate program for a few months, Kristy was offered a full-time employment opportunity and health benefits with Presbyterian Night Shelter as a client service specialist – which has enabled her to live on her own.
Now with a new lease on life, Kristy wants to help uplift others in need. “Presbyterian Night Shelter helped me when I was at rock bottom, and I wanted to be able to give back,” she says. “If I can help at least one person a day reach one of their goals then I’ve done something right.”