A single mother of three and grandmother of five found light at the end of the tunnel and is using that light to spread sunshine to others.

When Trevia opened the door to her apartment, the first thought that came to mind was sunshine. The sun beamed through the large window in her living room and through the glass door to her patio. The space was sprinkled with bright pops of yellow, from her throw pillows to her bar stools to her television stand. But the biggest ray of sunshine came from Trevia’s smile as she welcomed me with eagerness and excitement to show me her home—the first home she has called her own in seven years.

She showed me the sofa bed she got from Denver Rescue Mission’s Ministry Outreach Center (MOC), which is ideal for when her grandchildren come over. She showed me the chair that Carrie, her mentor she met through the Mission, gave her when she moved in. She showed me her bedroom, pointing out the headboard, chair and mirror that she also picked out at the MOC.

We sat down, each with a cup of tea, and Trevia started sharing about her prolonged season of transition, which started when she lived in California. The 2008 recession hit her hard; she lost her job at a medical insurance call center and consequently lost the apartment she lived in for 22 years.

When I asked what her favorite part is about her home, she grinned and said, “It’s mine.”

Eager for a new beginning, Trevia moved to Denver to live with her son, which was the start of another season of instability. She was hired as a parcel attendant during the day and worked at warehouses at night. When she and her son were suddenly evicted from their apartment, she moved in with a woman she worked with and lived with her for three years. “That third year was very chaotic,” she said. “I had to get out of there.”

During Trevia’s commute to work, she often chatted with a gentleman on the bus. He told her about his recent move to the Mission’s STAR Transitional Program, which offers case management, life skills training, mental health support, mentorship, and more. It wasn’t long before Trevia joined the program and moved to The Crossing.

Throughout her year and a half in the STAR program, Trevia worked at a hotel doing laundry, a job she has had for the past six years, and focused on saving up for her own place. Family Rescue Ministry, a Mission program that helps working families and seniors secure stable housing, helped
her find an apartment and covered the first month’s rent and security deposit. “When I got this place, I did what I’m doing now,” she said as her eyes filled with tears. “I was just so grateful. That first night, I slept like a baby.”

For a year after she moved in, the Mission staff checked in with Trevia regularly. “I was really impressed how I got a phone call every month to see how I’m doing,” she said.

Maintaining connection through consistent check-ins from staff and mentors is a vital part of Family Rescue Ministry. “What many of our families want is a listening ear—somebody who will care for them and provide them with guidance as they navigate through long-term housing,” said Tom Leavitt, director of family services. “Mentors come alongside [them] and provide different goals, budgeting skills, relational support, and hope through Jesus Christ.”

Trevia was paired with her mentor, Carrie, through the Mission. “When I turned that corner and I saw her and she saw me, we both started smiling,” Trevia said. “We clicked from that day forward.”

To this day, Carrie and Trevia spend time together, talk about life and pray for one another. Inspired by Carrie’s uplifting presence in her life, Trevia later became a Mission mentor to a single mother with two kids. “I wanted to help somebody the way I have been helped, and Carrie was a great example of that,” she said. “I saw her not being judgmental. I saw Christ working through her.”

Trevia wanted to be a light to others. She wanted to spread some sunshine. “My prayer is that my mentee gets to see what God has done [for me] and what He can do for her,” she said.

All Trevia wanted for Christmas was for her family to be together for the first time. And her Christmas wish was granted when her grandchildren from California came to visit in October. The best part of all? They all gathered in her home. “I had my Christmas in October this year,” she said. “It’s always God’s timing that’s perfect. Any other time, I didn’t have a place of my own.”

Trevia has been living in her apartment for about a year and a half. She loves the space and is excited to decorate for the holiday season.

“I’m thankful to Christ for allowing me to go through what I went through—to allow me to see the light at the end of the tunnel—and know that He is my provider and He’ll never leave me or forsake me,” she said. “Sometimes I just stand at the door and look around and say, ‘Thank you, Jesus.’”

Written by Natanya van Heerden, Content Specialist

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More in this issue:
  • Housewarming Box Program
  • Legacy Giving
  • Colorado Gives Day