A Family Shelter Journey

Good Day People,

I’d like to start by introducing myself. My name is Kyeka Volanda Porch. I am 38 years of age and a single parent of an 8-year-old child. We started our journey in the shelter system in 2014 when I initially found out I was pregnant. At the time I was in an abusive relationship and was in need of a fresh start. So I found myself in multiple shelters before I ended up at Bigelow Street {YWCA Cambridge’s Former Family Shelter location}. At this time I wasn’t up to date with my health, my financial situation, or even aware of what I needed. Luckily, I walked through the door and met Trudy and Michelle who I would forever be grateful for meeting and didn’t even know it. 

I’ll never forget walking in sitting uncomfortably at the desk being escorted to my room on the third floor walking past what felt like the whole world in one apartment. My son was about three or four months of age tops and them telling me the requirements necessary to live there and to be assisted with housing. Of course I smiled and okayed, but I was so scared to fail more than I had already done. I was also open-minded and open-hearted to the experience. It’s funny when we are children we complain of all that our parents lacked or could’ve done better, not realizing parenting is one of the hardest and most fulfilling things you’ll ever do in life!!! 

But back to the story… so now I am being shown how to navigate  [my son] starting daycare, as well as opening and maintaining a bank account as well as savings and credit, meeting deadlines as well as being held accountable for all needs as well as faults as well as growth. I can remember getting in trouble one day because I decided that I was going to chill with a few women in the house and party before curfew and oh boy!! Was I in trouble! See, what I was also taught was that when you know better, your expectations from others are different. So the trouble I was in wasn’t just with the staff, but with myself as well since I knew how important of a move this was for my son and I consider that the only support I’ve had was them, and I remember sitting down with Trudy and Michelle and them giving me the most honest assessment of my choices as a whole and me having to take inventory of the situation. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t able to fix everything overnight. At one point I needed them after exited into my apartment and they helped me through it and critiqued me after. I say all that to say this: I am still on the journey to becoming my best self as well as being the best mom I can be, with the mindset of always wanting to give back what was given to me by [YWCA Cambridge’s Family Shelter staff] , so I just want to say thank you and I’d like to leave you with a few words:

Sometimes in life we feel all alone
When there isn’t and hasn’t ever been a place to truly call home
And sometimes it all seems like a waste 
Until you look up when you’re down and see a stretched-out hand and smiling face.
And sometimes the very rocks that were thrown at you will be needed to build a sturdy foundation
Because not everyone is meant for an easy situation 
At the time that I felt everyone of these ways  
I was blessed to be put at the YWCA. 

Y’all stay awesome sincerely, 
Kyeka Porch

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