Shanika and her children

Shanika's Story



Shanika and her five children arrived in Des Moines after the factory, where she’d worked for seven years, closed its doors and she realized that Chicago offered her few if any options.  In October of 2011, she found shelter for herself and her kids at Hawthorn Hill’s New Directions Shelter. 


Once safely housed at the shelter, Shanika hit the ground running.  She got her children enrolled in school, started job hunting, located childcare services, and applied for eligible mainstream benefits (something she had never done before).  She was very driven to get back on her feet and always surprised the shelter staff with her tenacity and ability to function effectively while caring for five children, never mind how immaculate she managed to keep their room at the shelter! 


Shanika’s fierce drive for independence made her an ideal candidate for The Home Connection Program for which she applied and was accepted in January of 2012.  Having secured a safe haven for her children, she now had time to breathe and plan for her family’s future.


She and her Home Connection case manager set to work addressing any and all concerns that may interfere with her end goal, self-reliance.  In the past three years she has made great strides towards this goal.  She’s learned to budget both time and money and has gained a great deal of confidence and self-esteem in the process.


Shanika is currently is fulfilling her internship at a local business to complete an Associate Degree in business administration at Des Moines Area Community College.  Although she has had to take part time jobs to supplement her income and walk to classes at Des Moines Area Community College because she had no transportation, she remained steadfast and resolute to get the education she needs to obtain the employment that will allow her to financially support her family.


Needless to say, Shanika’s five children, ranging in age from 4-14 years, are all learning by example that hard work and perseverance definitely pay off in the end.