This Place Became Our Home

Before Sharita could receive help from City Rescue Mission, she had to make a decision. “We actually sat out in my friend’s car for about two hours debating whether we were going to stay,” she shares. She wasn’t an addict or an alcoholic. She was just a woman who had lost everything and needed to provide for her son, Alonzo. “I had to look at the big picture,” she explains. “It was either stay there or stay on the streets.” Sharita and Alonzo chose the Mission—in one year their lives were changed forever.

The sting of grief

Sharita grew up in Maryland and lived there through early adulthood. “We did everything as a family,” she shares. “Went to church together, summer vacations…I had a wonderful childhood.” But when 28-year-old Sharita’s loving mother passed away, she was devastated. “I kind of felt lost in the world,” she says. “No sense of direction. No nothing.” This began the slow unraveling of Sharita’s life.

While grieving her mother’s death, Sharita moved to Delaware and then to Oklahoma City, where she found her way for a while. “Even going to church every Sunday, it just didn’t click in my head that I had to put God first above everything and everybody else” she recalls. “Then one at a time, God started taking everything away from me. My relationship, my home, my car,” Sharita remembers. “Me and my son were staying on co-workers couches and floors.” When the last co-worker could no longer provide Sharita and Alonzo a place to stay and no other shelter would open their doors to them, City Rescue Mission said they had a place for them.

Finding hope and sharing it with others

During her year in the Bridge to Life program, Sharita’s life was restored. She confronted her tendency to be a “people pleaser,” ultimately realizing that if she didn’t put God first, “nothing else was going to work.” And the structured nature of her Mission schedule changed the way she approaches each day. “I can see, now that I’ve moved out, how helpful it is to have balance and to make everything you do in your day count for something,” she shares.

Beyond her own life-changing experience at the Mission, Sharita became the “house mom” who offered support and encouragement to the other women there. “God was able to let the best parts of me shine with them in that place,” she shares. “That meant a lot to me.” Sharita graduated from the Bridge to Life program in June and transitioned into permanent supportive housing. To donors like you, she says, “Thank you for giving my life back in a way that you probably never thought of.”

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