Mothers honored every day at Shepherd’s House

Isabel Gomez and son at Shepherd's House

Isabel Gomez knew when she became a mother two years ago, the needs of her son would have to come first. That meant making the difficult decision to leave a destructive relationship even when she had nowhere else to go. Homeless with a one year old son, Gomez found new hope when she was referred to Shepherd’s House, a program of Catholic Charities of Central Florida.

Shepherd’s House provides support and resources to at risk, economically disadvantaged homeless single mothers in need of stability and affordable housing as they journey back to self-sufficiency.

“I wanted to study and get my life together” says Gomez. “When I saw this opportunity – I definitely took it right away.”

Not only did Shepherd’s House provide a safe place to call home, assistance with child care, an intensive savings plan, and case management; they also helped Gomez to follow one of her dreams: a career in law enforcement. Needing to work full-time and take care of her son, the rigorous police academy schedule would have been impossible without the flexibility and encouragement she received from Shepherd’s House.

“Without them I never would have been able to do this” she says. “These people are awesome. They are my angels.”

For six months Gomez attended the police academy Monday through Friday and worked long hours over the weekends. When she graduated last October she returned to working full time to build up her savings before moving out of Shepherd’s House and into her own apartment earlier this year.

With the same determination Gomez continues to pursue other life goals with the skills she learned at Shepherd’s House. When she is not working and taking care of her son, she is taking classes at Seminole State College for a degree in Criminal Justice and plans to purchase a house later this year.

“Every goal that I’ve put my mind to after I came to Shepherd’s House I have done.” Gomez remembers, “When I look at myself nine months before I never thought I would be able to do this.”

Gomez is now participating in Shepherd’s House after care program, attending regular follow up meetings to ensure she has the resources she and her son need to succeed.

“They have helped me a lot. I don’t know what would have happened to my baby and me if it wasn’t for Shepherd’s House.”

To learn more about the programs and services offered by Catholic Charities, please visit www.cflcc.org.

For more information on ways to support Catholic Charities of Central Florida and other social outreach ministries in the Diocese of Orlando, please visit www.cfocf.org/social-outreach.

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