Laura was the first Resident Manager of Shelly's House and currently serves on Shelly's House, Inc.'s Board of Directors.
"I was living in a women's transition house — a good one — very structured, but I had entered into a relationship that grew out of old behavior and criminal thinking. I was told if I continued in the relationship, I'd have to move out, and they gave me a week to decide. I wanted more time to decide. I was angry, and just moved out and in with the guy — total co-dependency — and I began a downward spiral.
I talked with an old friend, who told a Parole Officer of my struggles. She suggested moving to the YWCA. Shortly after that, she talked to me about a new transitional residence facility, and offered me an opportunity to be resident manager at Shelly's House (sponsored by Shelly's House, Inc.). She thought it would be good for me — not only to get back on track — but also providing a way to give back to the community.
As much as I gave to Shelly's House, it gave back to me. Shelly's House gave me the opportunity to focus on me, to go to college and get a degree. It started me down a career path. It helped me develop skills I use every day in my work and life. As the house grew, so did I with the support of my PO, new friends, my church and my pastor. Ultimately I ditched the negative guy, even though I was afraid to be alone. Shelly's House allowed me time alone, time to learn about myself, to learn that I had potential, and to develop that potential.
As I struggled to move forward, my mom and my brothers were suspicious, always negative. They said I thought I was too good for them once I got a good paying job. It wasn't that; I needed to protect my recovery. I struggled with negative self-talk: Who do you think you are? You have no business going to college! What do you think you're doing here? Being at Shelly's House helped me counteract all that - helped me do something positive and escape my family's destructive expectations. I was stepping over boundaries into a new world. Years later when my mother finally said: You are a woman of success, I'm not sure she understood even then why I had to make changes. But when she told me that, it was just awesome!
After five years of working as Resident Manager at Shelly's House, learning to manage the stream of clients - addicted, highly emotional, always into drama — I learned to know and manage myself! Finally I was ready to leave Shelly's House and entered into a wonderful marriage, a loving partnership. We own a home, and I've been working in my chosen career for seven years. I'll never stop being grateful for the supportive environment of Shelly's House. Without it, I don't think I'd ever have had a chance at this kind of life."