What People Are Saying
“I have recently met my niece for the first time and learned that her difficult life was made very much safer and happier by love from Harbor House years ago. Thank you for what you do. Never doubt the value of what your connection to these people means in the short term and the long term as well. Love to you all.”
“My name is Anthony. I am a former resident at Harbor House not just once but almost a dozen times. I was one of those teens who was always finding new ways to get in trouble. During my first time staying at the shelter back in 1999, I was jumping up and down on the bed throwing glow sticks or setting off the alarms. Even after all the stuff I did, I always had a safe place to stay. All of the staff genuinely cared about the teens’ lives they touched. The staff at Harbor House raised me and helped me become the person I am today. I recently completed my GED and am now enrolled in one of the top tier automotive trade schools in Nashville, Tennessee. I want to thank the staff at Harbor House past – and present – you guys made a huge difference in my life and so many others.”
My name is Ashley and ever since I was born, I became involved with a world I wasn’t quite ready for. From the hunger to the restless nights, the fear was evident from the very start. Living with parents deep in their addiction, I was exposed to an array of chaotic events I then absorbed in the forefront of my memory. I have moved around so often as a child that all I ever really craved was stability.
Eventually my mother got clean and left the abusive relationship with my father, in hopes that she could provide a better lifestyle for her daughter, me. Whether it was a result of her own traumatic childhood (her mother being a heroin addict as well) or a response to young parenthood, she did become abusive towards me. The older I became, the worse it got. By the time I was 17 I moved out her house, refusing to be beaten any longer, and I then moved in with my father.
I didn’t know he was still using illegal substances nor did I really care because at this point, I had already begun experimenting with drugs myself. Living with my father proved to be another difficult feat that wasn’t easy to get out of. We soon began using together, and I dropped out of high school. My life was in shambles. My using became so heavy that I was no longer able to work and couldn’t help pay rent, so I had to figure something out.
I was afraid of going to a shelter, but I was more afraid of being homeless. I called my mother for help and surprisingly she was able to give me a number to a shelter for the youth called the Harbor House. I remember first walking in through the doors and feeling like I was in somebody’s home, not in a shelter. The staff were so kind and welcoming that they soon became something similar to a family. I was there for December of 2013 and they helped me find placement into the Harbor House Transitional Living Program. After I celebrated a wonderful Christmas at the shelter, I was off to the Transitional Living Program.
There I was able to get my GED transcripts, my license, a sturdy long standing job, and even get enrolled in community college. For four months I was doing very well until about April when I got caught up with the wrong crowd of kids. I began dabbling in illegal substances again. The program wanted to work with me and so they signed me up for drug counseling. I had my mind set though, I wanted to use. So I left.
I moved back in with my mother and that’s where my heroin addiction really took off. She was never home, always out, so I could do whatever I wanted to do. My addiction became severe and after I overdosed I was so scared of myself and this disease, I needed some kind of treatment. I called the one place I thought I could always call, Harbor House. They scheduled an intake appointment with a detox in North Jersey. On the 23rd of July I was in a rehab in the hospital. I thought I was cured. I begged Harbor House to take me back but they had told me they had no beds available.
The only other option I had was long-term treatment at an inpatient rehab. I went there for shelter because I was homeless, but while there I found sobriety. I was there for seven months of intensive talk therapy. I worked through the problems I had as a child all the way up until I became an adult. When I got out of the rehab I needed a place to stay until I could move to Florida with family. Harbor House was there for me. Through everything, they were my only stability.