The Haven for Hope homeless shelter celebrated its 1,000th graduate Tuesday night during a ceremony for its seventh graduating class in the shelter’s two and a half year history.
“They have a job and money saved up, then they move out and live on their own” said Haven chairman Bill Greehey. “And tonight all of these people have completed that program.”
Judith Harrell is part of the 2013 graduating class. But her journey through Haven for Hope’s program is one she never expected to take.
“I lost my job at 68, and at 69 they didn’t want to hire,” said Harrell.
Without any family to turn to and after spending her last dime of savings, she came to Haven for Hope in May 2012.
“They prepare you to go back into the world after you’ve lost your confidence because of things that were out of your control,” she said.
For some graduates, getting back into the world means overcoming drugs or alcohol, receiving physical or mental health treatment or further education.
Whatever the challenge they faced when entering Haven for Hope, Tuesday’s graduation celebrates overcoming it.
“I’m happy where I am right now because of the help I’ve received,” Harrell said. “I thank God every day for Haven for Hope.”