Poverty and mental health are often linked. Vulnerable to her mom’s mental health problems, Luisa* (Her real name is changed for protection) never experienced love or kindness, until she arrived at the City of Refuge.
Luisa was barely 7 years old when she and her sisters were abandoned by their mom. Her whole life up until that moment had been traumatic, as her mother regularly abused the girls physically and psychologically. They had never been properly fed or cared for. She even fed the girls feces- when they were hungry and asked their mom for food. Starving and mistreated, Luisa was forced by her mom to steal to help provide for her family.
Since arriving at the City of Refuge, Teresa, Tom, and the staff have shown her unconditional love and kindness. She has been able to accept God’s love for her, and that love has transformed her life. She was able to forgive her mother for the abuse! No longer needing to steal and distrust people, she is full of love, and kindness, and loves to help others. She is a beautiful, smart, 18-year-old.
Even though she has graduated from high school, IMI continues to support her as she pursues higher education. She is currently enrolled in a cosmetology program at a local college. Tom & Teresa continue to help by paying for her transportation costs, housing, and food.