(Memphis) Venita Vaughn is busy doing office secretarial work, but she can’t hit a delete button or easily erase some of her emotional scars from years ago.
“I was very bitter, angry and a distraught woman. I felt like a failure. I didn’t feel like a woman, a failure. I felt like I failed in my life.”
Venita’s life was spiraling out of control as she lived with an abusive husband.
“I didn’t know he was abusive when I married him, but he became abusive. I stayed in the marriage just for the kids.”
She wanted out of the marriage, but couldn’t turn to her parents for help either.
“My mom at the time was on drugs. She couldn’t take me and my kids in.”
Venita had enough of the abuse and decided to move out with her children, but she said her husband had already made other plans.
“When I decided to leave him, he took my children from me. How did that leave you feeling? I was dead.”
Without her children, Venita’s life began to fall apart.
“I was out there clubbing, drinking, promiscuous. I didn’t want to live anymore. I was doing things to try to kill myself.”
But she says God didn’t lose faith that she could turn her life around.
“I met a friend and he told me about this place here and brought me here and this where I started my new life.”
Her new life started in the Salvation Army’s Single Women’s Lodge. It’s one of two area shelters where single women can stay up to 60 days.
“Here they encourage you to do better. They empower you to want to be better and they give your trust in people when you don’t have it at first.”
The Single Women’s Lodge also help women avoid chronic homelessness and Venita now has her own home.
“They want to get you off the path that you were on, get you on the right path to have security and confidence to go out there and work, get your own place”
Venita says for all that the Salvation Army has done for her. It’s one reason she volunteers here to give back to a place that reunited her with children and gave her a new life.
“The Salvation Army saved my life. I had nowhere to go and I was going downhill. So, they saved my life(cries) They saved my life.”