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“I will not fall victim to the street life again…”

My name is Anne*. I am 21 years old. For 13 years I was held captive by [my father], who despised anything female. His specialty in the illegal trade was human trafficking. In his care I was beaten, broken, raped, sold and used to transport drugs. A father is supposed to protect and teach his young, not keep you locked in a closet. When I was 12, I gave birth to a stillborn child. That [and more] prompted government agencies to intervene.

Anne was rescued by Child Protective Services from the kind of life you and I can barely imagine. She desperately wanted something better, but she was so scarred from her past life that she couldn’t adjust to a “normal” family.

In her teens, she met her mother for the first time and moved in with her. “There, my eyes were opened to a new kind of life, one where knives were not wielded and an argument didn’t cost your life.” But old “friends” kept coming by to try to lure Anne back. Anne knew she had to get out and find some stability, especially as she now had two young children of her own to care for. Then Anne heard about Star of Hope.

On her first evening at our Women & Family Emergency Shelter, Anne was watching people line up for the meal when a woman next to her offered to watch Anne’s children so she could get their food. Anne was immediately suspicious. So the next morning, when the same woman offered to watch her children again, Anne asked her bluntly, “Why?” “Because everybody needs help sometimes,” the woman answered.

That Sunday, Anne went to church and saw people praising God. Afterwards, she talked to some of them and found out they’d been through even worse things than she had. “And they still believe in God!” she marveled. As she learned more about God, she came to understand. “They believe that He loves them and has a deeper plan for their lives. I’m seeing proof here that I haven’t seen in other places or people.”

The road to healing has been a long one for Anne. “There are times when all I want to do is give up,” she admits. “But recent events have shown me just how strong I really am. The “family” [of other Star of Hope clients] that I have acquired here may be broken, but it is not beyond repair. I know that with their support, hope and prayers I will not fall victim to the street life again. Through this community, and the friends that I have made during my stay here, I am embracing all that I am and my potential for what I can be.”

After all the turmoil and pain of Anne’s young life, she’s found a safe refuge at Star of Hope through your compassionate prayers and gifts. Today, her family has found a new stability and hope because you care!

*Anne’s name has been changed to protect her privacy.