My name is Ileana. I am 26 years old now. These past 15 months of my life I lived at Hagar Home Center, though initially I was told I would stay for 6 months only. I am able to write these words right now thanks to some wonderful and kind people that I met here. When I first came here I didn’t even know how to write.

I didn’t even have 1st grade knowledge because I had to give up school in order to take care of my younger brothers. I felt really bad for not being able to keep up with the children of my age, but I knew I had no choice. When I gave birth I could not live home anymore along with my brothers because there was not enough room and my parents would not agree with this either. I didn’t have friends, relative, anybody I could go to.

My baby’s father didn’t even want to hear about me; he even hit me when I asked for his help. I didn’t know where to go, I didn’t even know how to ask for basic things in a store, less to go and find social aids for my child. Those from the Center have been a sign of God’s presence and I will never be able to thank them enough. They also helped me give my daughter the treatment she needed. I don’t even want to think what would have happened if I wouldn’t get to them in time. They gave us clothes, food, all the supplies needed. My girl had peace, attention and things my brothers and I never had. The people here taught me to write, they made me believe I can do this. I learn how to add, to subtract and I know the multiplication table, things I thought I would never learn in this life.

Now I go to school and I catch up where I left. I am in the 4th grade and will move on. With these people’s help I found a good job and raised some money. For now I live in the transition apartment where I am helped with paying the bills. I hope I will be independent and able to give my daughter the life I never had. I know I found a family at the Maternal Center that I can always rely on and never thought existed. I know that the ladies here love my girl more than her father loves her and this hurts me, but I feel lucky I met them.

Sometimes we laugh together when I remember that when I got to the Center I was asked where I was living and I wasn’t able to give them any information, not even the name of the neighborhood, though I had my address in my ID.

I thank you for everything! I love you all!