Jeannette has a story that could have had many tragic endings: drugs, depression, homelessness and tragic loss. But, to quote a popular song, Jeannette wasn't “going out like that.” She had a desire for more. The main reason for her fighting spirit was that she had a teenage daughter who needed her to keep it together.
After the tragic motorcycle death of her son in 2001, Jeanette watched her 12-year-old daughter spiral into a depression that got so dark they had to seek therapy. And then a series of deaths, including the death of her mother and the aunt who taught Jeanette how to sew, took them from the safety of their own home into homelessness, after Jeanette gave up her own place to move in with her ailing mother and then couldn’t maintain it after a work layoff.
An attempt to live with her brother didn’t work out well because he was more invested in a high-risk lifestyle of drugs and bad company. Knowing she had to leave that situation, in 2004 Jeannette and her daughter arrived at Agape Inn, a housing program sponsored by Turning Point Community Services (TPCS), Inc.
Jeanette resided there with her daughter for nine months, rebuilding her life, literally stitch by stitch. An avid and skilled sewer, Jeannette used her talents to help the housing program by making pillows and curtains for client rooms, and then took on reupholstering the day room furniture because “she wanted to help out.”
The Executive Director of TPCS, Inc., the Rev. Deacon Chris McCloud, soon assigned Jeanette to the peer training program, and within six months she was hired as a full-time employee. Jeannette has been with the agency for the past 10 years.
Jeanette’s desire to keep her life moving forward and to help others who have been in similar situations have made her a perfect match with the work of TPCS, Inc. Her favorite pastime of sewing has turned into a new opportunity for her, as she now heads the TPCS, Inc. Sewing Project, in which clients are taught basic sewing and are given an opportunity to learn work and life skills.
To learn more about Turning Point Community Services, Inc. please visit www.tpcsinc.org.
Alleluia Stories have become part of our diocese’s celebration of the Easter season and are a testament to the difference our Episcopal charity can make. They focus on an individual - a client, volunteer, staff member - whose life has been transformed by the work of an Alleluia Fund grant recipient. Turning Point Community Services received an Alleluia Fund grant in December, 2014.