Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he/she has overcome.” – Booker T. Washington
Ms. Earnestine is another Options for Justice success story. While we are still supporting Ms. Earnestine, to see how far she has come from the beginning of services, to now, her story is one to be celebrated. We met Ms. Earnestine while she was homeless, living on the streets. She often recounts this time in her life to us now, in disbelief that she survived this harsh society. She has been robbed, assaulted, and mocked all as a result of homelessness. Ms. Earnestine never gave up hope, however. We often say that she is her own biggest advocate, she called housing helplines and resources every single day for months on end, she walked all over the city, determined to make necessary appointments to help her succeed.
Ms. Earnestine never needed anyone to do the work for her, she just needed someone to point her in the right direction and support her along the way. Local organizations were instrumental in supporting Ms. Earnestine throughout this time. When Ms. Earnestine found herself fallen ill with Pneumonia during the winter months, Red Bike and Tent Mission STL helped purchase hotel rooms for her, while also providing other financial and material supports. Ms. Earnestine was able to get into supportive living with help from Magdala House, living at their tiny home village for people with developmental/intellectual disabilities experiencing homelessness.
Today, she has her very own place to call her own. She has insurance and steady income. And while Ms. Earnestine is still navigating tough obstacles life throws at her, she still says “thank you” every time she sees us. We tell her to look around at her beautiful home, and to thank herself, because it was her determination, hope, and fierce self-advocacy that got her to where she is today.