Imagine you are a young adult, struggling with a disability or mental illness, homeless, jobless, misunderstood, marginalized and cast aside. You just want to succeed and belong, if only someone would lend a hand and give you a chance.

Life presented many challenges to Ashley, Nicole and Joshua. At a time when their peers were going to college and joining the workforce, their situations kept them focused on surviving each day.

Ashley still remembers the empty ache of hunger in her stomach and the concern she felt for her younger siblings. Her parents struggled with addiction, leaving her to shoulder the responsibilities of an adult. At just 8 years old, Ashley, who has an intellectual disability, and her siblings went to live with their grandmother.

Life was fine until her father moved in and began to fight with Ashley. At 21 years old, she went to live at a women’s shelter.

Though the shelter was not the home that Ashley envisioned for herself, she loved spending time with the children there, and the experience solidified her interest in a career working with kids.

After living at the shelter for two years, Ashley was introduced to Trinity Services and moved into an apartment in Wilmington.

She works full time at Fritters for Critters where she gets to express her creativity and love for art by decorating dog and cat treats. She plans to live on her own, learn how to drive and earn a certificate in early childhood development.

The possibilities for Ashley's future are now unlimited.
Everywhere Nicole tried to go, everyone looked at her like she was baggage, she said.

Growing up the oldest of six siblings, she was faced with the responsibility of ensuring everyone’s safety during a childhood full of fear. Her mother was addicted to drugs, gone for days at a time and had boyfriends who were abusive.

Nicole went through numerous foster homes, but she was still abused.

By the time she was 17 years old, she ran away to live with friends and eventually tried to rekindle a relationship with her mother, to no avail.

At the age of 19, Nicole found herself in an abusive relationship of her own and became pregnant. She went from shelters to acquaintances’ couches, but none worked out. She ended up with her abuser again. After giving birth, Nicole went back to a shelter. This is when Nicole got in touch with Trinity’s Homeless Support Program. Staff members helped her with housing, finances and counseling.

Despite the help she received, in private, Nicole’s life and well-being were still being threatened by her abuser. This damaged her self-esteem and mental health, but one day, Nicole gained the courage to call the police. With that call, Nicole gained confidence.

Today, Nicole is in school to become a medical assistant, has a job, is in a healthy relationship, is learning how to budget and has her own car, which was donated to her. She dreams of becoming a pediatric nurse.

"I didn't have anything before this program," she said. “I didn’t feel like I was anyone. I have so much confidence in myself now. The cycle stopped because of Trinity.”

Joshua grew up reliant on the care of his mother and family members. He has a developmental disability and suffered from a painful health condition that sometimes caused him to act aggressively toward others.

He is the youngest of eight siblings and grew up in Chicago. His mother was diagnosed with cancer, and it became difficult for her to take care of Josh. At 37, he found himself in and out of a psychiatric hospital until he was referred to Trinity.

When Josh began to receive support from Trinity, he weighed only 100 pounds, could not independently use the bathroom, would not talk, paced, yelled, and banged on doors, showing signs of how uncomfortable he was. After acclimating to his new home and receiving the medical care he needed, Josh gained 30 pounds, responds “yes” and “no” to questions, expresses interest in activities and smiles widely at people he enjoys being around.

Josh attends Community Day Services at Trinity where he learns new skills and participates in new activities, like swimming. At home, he enjoys playing
games, eating and painting. He does many more things independently that he used to rely on staff members to help with. The differences in his behavior from when he first came to Trinity and today, at 39 years old, are night and day.

Josh’s mother recently passed away, and although he was quiet at the funeral, he responded well to his family members.

"To teach him, show him and watch him grow is amazing," said Candice, a staff member who works with Josh. “It’s amazing watching him because he wasn’t like this at first.”

You can change someone's life this holiday season by making a tax-deductible donation to Trinity Services. State funding alone cannot fully sustain the services and supports Trinity provides. Without the support of people like you, Ashley, Nicole and Josh would not have been able to make so much progress or reclaim their futures.

Thank you for making a difference.

Donate now.