Jennie Galindo has always been on the move, running from one problem to another.

As a teenager, she would try to find ways to escape from the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her stepfather. When Jennie finally got the courage to tell someone, they didn’t believe her.

She thought that the way she was going to heal her pain was through drugs and partying, but she ended up with an addiction to methamphetamine that she fought on and off for 20 years. Jennie gave birth to her first child at the age of 16 and by her 30’s she had three kids. The two youngest have the same father who was a violent drug abuser that Jennie ended up leaving for the better of herself and her family.

Jennie and her kids moved often, from the Inland empire to Orange County, out of state and even to Mexico. There were times that she would sleep in her car while relatives would take care of her boys and there were nights she would spend in the shelter with her 3 boys while her oldest, Fabian, had to sleep outside because he was over 18. All the while she says that she never gave up because she knew that her goal in life was to give her boys a place to call home and a better lifestyle.

In July of 2017, Jennie and her boys were the first family to walk into the HomeAid Family CareCenter, an emergency shelter in the City of Orange that houses families and that is the first shelter that HomeAid not only developed but also owns. Alongside her boys, Jennie settled into one of the semi-private sleeping areas and it was then that she decided to make a change. She enrolled in substance abuse classes to start facing the pain of the sexual abuse she endured. She began going to church and attended group therapy.

Following her time at the HomeAid Family CareCenter, HomeAid non-profit service provider partner Families Forward paid $2,500 toward Jennie’s deposit and move-in costs for a two-bedroom apartment in Santa Ana. Since then, Jennie has been able to manage with a variety of temporary jobs. Her goal is to move her kids into a better neighborhood.

Jennie’s story is still evolving. She hopes to have a full-time career in medical billing, her boys are doing well- the oldest is working as a security guard with one baby and another on the way. Her younger boys are making progress in school and Jennie continues to go to personal counseling. 

**Story written by 2020 Intern, Nicholas Reyes**