A STORY OF HOPE
Dede was born and raised in the area and moved a few times to follow her career path. Dede was passionate about many things and driven to succeed, from caring for others as a nurse to financial advisement and teaching to an insurance broker. Her ambition paved a path to success and a six-figure salary, which afforded her a very comfortable lifestyle. For the record, Dede never drank or took drugs.
Dede was married for 25 years, and as the breadwinner, she purchased their home and cars. She recognized her husband’s insecurities but never imagined he would become violent. Eventually, her profession required a lot of traveling, which fueled his insecurities leading him to drink and accuse Dede of infidelity. The relationship turned toxic and one day changed Dede’s life forever.
After 25 years of marriage, her husband became so outraged that he punched her in the mouth and broke her two front teeth. At that moment, Dede grabbed her purse and laptop and drove her car far away “where he wouldn’t find me,” she said. Dede stopped at a gas station to clean her bloodied face. The feeling of humiliation stopped her from going to the police or her support system. She said, “Who wants to run to their friends and family and say I was hit by my husband?” Dede drove back to the area where she grew up and found herself in the parking lot at Woodland Community College. “Woodland felt safe to me,” she said. And there she slept.
Dede had a friend who taught at the college, and she connected with one of the students – a former Fourth & Hope client – who helped Dede get back on her feet and introduced her to the cold winter shelter and Fourth & Hope services. A case manager learned of her story and offered Dede a bed in the main shelter. Dede recalls, “I was broken, crying, and very, very down, and the intake team made me feel comfortable. You said I was safe. You guys gave me hope that day. I thank you.”
After her first night, she wanted to leave. She didn’t feel like she belonged at a homeless shelter, but where would she go? Then Dede realized that “We’re all children of God, we all belong to him. No one is above the other,” she said. She stayed at the shelter for three months. Within that time she inspired other clients to move forward and work through their case plans. “If you stay in the same place you can’t grow. You got to know it will get better and there’s more for you. It always gets better through Christ,” said Dede. Her bunkmate lost herself for years – spending her days at the park and nights at the shelter. Dede became her role model, and last April her bunkmate moved into an apartment and gained back custody with her daughter.
“God gives us opportunities to help others.”
Working through her own case plan, Dede also moved into an apartment. She has finished school and plans to transfer to UCD for a master’s in clinical psychology. During this interview, she was employed by the Yolo County Transportation District. She also renewed her insurance license and continues to work with clients.
“Fourth & Hope gave me the ability to rest in a safe place, a safe haven, and I’ll be forever grateful. I needed some peace in a raging storm and they allowed me that peace. Just like the name, they gave me hope,” she said.
Dede’s husband is receiving help for his addiction and anger. They are working on their relationship. In fact, he accompanied Dede during this interview.