To be human is to face obstacles from time to time, and this year has reminded us all of that reality.
Despite those inevitable obstacles, there are always triumphs, too — good with the bad, bright lights in the dark. Hope always finds a way, reminding us of the world’s beauty.
Often, that hope starts with us and actions we take to make someone else’s day brighter. At Trinity Services, we are fortunate to have friends, family and neighbors like you who help us make a difference in the lives of people with developmental disabilities and mental illness — people like Anisha and Paul.
Anisha just moved into a home of her own for the first time in her life. With persistence, drive and a bit of help from Trinity Services’ Homeless Support Program, formerly known as Lamb’s Fold, she was able to gain the independence and quality of life she sought for herself and her family.
Anisha grew up in Chicago with her mother and three older brothers. She had three children of her own while she was in high school, and her teenage years were difficult, balancing schoolwork with motherhood.
Despite the difficulties she faced, Anisha put her children first. When her living situation became unsustainable, she went to a women’s shelter in Chicago. Wanting a better life for her family and herself, Anisha looked for different opportunities. She then found Trinity Services in Joliet.
“It was a different kind of shelter than I’d ever been to,” she said. “It was nothing but women and their kids. I wanted to get out of Chicago. I wanted a different life for me and my kids.”
Anisha lived at the shelter for nine months and moved into transitional housing, through the organization’s permanent supportive housing program, where she lived for 14 years.
While she was receiving support from the program, she earned her GED, received counseling and mental health care for bipolar disorder, and created a fun environment for her children to grow up in.
Anisha said the counseling was especially helpful, as it allowed her to process painful childhood memories and express things she had never told anyone before.
“Even though you are an adult, you still have someone being hard on you,” she said of the program. “Because I didn’t grow up with someone being hard on me, that was the highlight of the program. They let you know they’re here for you, care about you, are proud of you and want to see you do better.”
Last year, Anisha was able to start setting aside money from each paycheck to save for her own place. When she realized she had saved enough to make the move for herself and her seven children, who range between the ages of 16 and 2, she said it felt surreal and exciting.
"The best part was the joy for my kids, seeing them smiling," she said. “That was the best feeling ever.”
For years, Paul lived with his sister and relied on her for support. When she began to suffer from health problems unrelated to COVID-19 during the pandemic and needed to be hospitalized, Paul suddenly lost the comfort of having her near.
Paul enjoys routine and did not want to leave the house he shared with his sister. Though his other sister and brother-in-law stopped by multiple times a day to assist Paul, they were unable to help full-time.
Trinity Services staff members found out about Paul’s situation and created a temporary one-person home in the initial weeks of the pandemic. Subsequently, staff helped him move into a group home in Joliet where he could receive the support he needed while his sister continued to receive medical care.
Initially, Paul, who is unable to communicate verbally, had a difficult time with the transition.
“He did not want to go into the house,” said Carrie Cooley, a team leader at Trinity Services who helps support Paul. “We sat outside with him for two hours to help him get comfortable enough with us to go into the house. He wanted to continue living where he was before. His life was turned completely upside down.”
Initially, he had trouble sleeping and resisted staff members’ attempts to help him with personal care.
Over the months, with help from Carrie and Independent Living Coaches Tia Moffett and Kendell Hall, Paul became more comfortable with his new living situation.
Paul enjoys going for rides in the van and having small gadgets in his hands that he can manipulate. He also recently began coming out of his room on his own more often.
Paul’s health has also improved. Prior to Trinity, he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, but he has now improved to pre-diabetic status.
“He’s just so sweet,” Carrie said. “When he really likes you, he’ll reach out to you. He’s affectionate.”
Because of you, Trinity Services is able to help more than 5,500 people throughout Illinois find hope in the most difficult of situations. With your help, hope finds a way.
This has been a difficult year for us all, but if you have the means to do so, please make a donation to create more hope for people supported by Trinity Services this holiday season.
Thank you for your support.