The First Step: Sandra’s Story

“Since I’ve been doing this, my son started talking to me again. He called me mama for the first time in years. He used to call me by my name.”

Sandra Willis arrived at The Helen Wright Center in December of 2020. She has lived a life battling drug addiction, homelessness, and family conflict. Her time at the shelter provided the opportunity to work towards sobriety, further her education, and reconnect with loved ones.

The first step was the hardest. As she adjusted to this new life at the shelter, she began to build relationships with the other guests and employees. She says the women spend time together, sitting at a big round table studying for upcoming exams.

Sandra is currently pursuing a certificate in Medical Billing and Coding. The cost has always stopped her from furthering her education. Sandra never felt like she was in the right circumstance to begin, until now. She’s grateful for this opportunity through the Workforce Development program that was recently implemented at the shelter.

Looking towards the future, she describes ones of her goals by saying, “I want to be able to help hurting women. I’ve hurt, I’ve been hurt, and I have hurt others.” She hopes to eventually pursue a Peer Support Specialist Program certification, vulnerably using her own experiences to minister others.

Reflecting on how the Helen Wright Center has changed the course of her life, she states that, “If I hadn’t discovered this part of the HWCW, I really can’t say that I wouldn’t be back on drugs right now.”

Sandra celebrated her first year of sobriety this month.

Support women like Sandra by giving to our mission here or preparing and dropping off meals for the current guests staying at the Helen Wright Center for Women here.