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“I’m not from here. I’ve never been here. I’m from a reservation in Nebraska. I’m not used to the city, I’ve never did the bus system. I’ve always had my own vehicle. We literally just took what we had on our backs and came here and hoped for the best.”
Earlier this year, single-mom Shanelle and her young children hopped on a bus with nothing and came to Kansas City. Her family was homeless for six weeks in Nebraska, with Shanelle donating plasma to get money so her children could sleep under a roof at night.
“Basically just paid somebody to babysit so I knew they were warm and so I knew they slept in a bed.”
She found our family shelter, and has called it home for a little over two months. Her decision to come to Kansas City was based on doing the best thing for her family.
“It wasn’t a good environment for me or my children so it was a big risk,” she said. “I have innocent little lives that are depending on me. It’s the faith in God. Sometimes you just gotta trust in him and here’s where I am now.”
Shanelle is working to make a better life for her children than what she had as a child.
“I don’t really have a good history of growing up. I was out-casted, a misfit, unwanted, like I was just tossed around all over until someone wanted me. And, you know, I was put down a lot and I was just the one that wasn’t going to make it.”
Having suffered from domestic violence, isolation and negativity, Shanelle has used her situation as motivation to prove people wrong.
“This is probably the best thing I could have (done). My kids are just so happy and it’s so different,” she said. “I’ve never been in a place so positive, so loving. Everybody is just encouraging. It’s just so different from what I grew up in. Everybody here, we’re all chasing the same thing, we come from different backgrounds but we all want the same thing in life.”
Shanelle soon plans to work for the Kansas City Indian Center and move into an apartment with her children. Her ultimate goal is to return to school and study to become a paramedic or EMT. “I want to help people,” she said. Shanelle will continue to share her story in hopes of helping others who are facing similar circumstances.
“From the outside you can’t tell…I’m always smiling, I’m always happy. Sometimes you just don’t know how broken someone is from the outside. I’m actually not broken, it’s just the past that is there. But I’m not afraid to share my story, because there could be somebody else out there that is ashamed or feels scared. It’s OK. It don’t matter the situation, it’s OK to be who you are. It’s OK to work on yourself.” #StoriesOfHope