In our last newsletter we put out a call for good news stories and were blown away by one in particular. “My story needs to be told,” Marzen, a participant in ODR women’s housing said, “because if there is someone thinking that there is no way out, I want them to know there is.”
In 2021, Marzen sat in jail facing an eight-year sentence. Alone, and facing criminal charges, she’d lost hope.
Then, she found out she was pregnant. Marzen, who preferred to use just her first name, had already lost her eldest daughter to foster care many years earlier after she was incarcerated for drunken driving. The thought of losing another child was unimaginable, she said.
“After going in and out of jail for so long, I knew I needed a change,” Marzen, 35, said. In court, she was told about a program run by ODR and she seized the opportunity to rewrite her future.
A year later, “everything is falling into place,” Marzen said. She has since given birth to a baby boy, returned to school to finish a final class toward her high school diploma, started working and is saving for a car. She is living in Mid City. She credits her personal breakthrough with finding strength in the ODR community and finally getting the clinical care she needs to address her substance use and depression.
“Sometimes we’re scared and don’t want to open up,” she said. “But I slowly started, and I want to tell all the women out there that are in the same shoes it’s worth it. Open up and get the help.”
Now, she’s planning a future that she once doubted was possible. She has reconnected with her 16-year-old daughter, who is a source of strength. One year from now, she hopes to have a permanent home for her family and to return to school to pursue a career in nursing.
“I just want to thank everyone that’s been working with me, for all of the resources and for helping me with my newborn,” she said. “I see a glow in my face that I didn’t have before. I’m motivated. I just really want others to know you can start from nothing.”