‘I am learning still to love myself’: Transitional housing program for domestic violence survivors graduates inaugural participants

Program coordinators call all participants an ‘automatic success’

SAN ANTONIO – A transitional housing program that opened two years ago is seeing its first graduates.

When Sharon Francis walked into the My Mariposa program by Providence Place two years ago, she was unsure but optimistic about getting help to turn her life around for the better.

“I knew that I needed direction. I needed to learn to love myself,” she said.

The My Mariposa program started in 2019 to help women who were victims of human trafficking, sexual assault and domestic violence.

Francis, a mother to a 4-year old, was ready to start a better life for her daughter.

“To be treated the way I’d been treated over such a long time in my life, I thought it was normal,” she said.

Francis reached a point where she needed to get out, and she needed help. She found her way at the shelter through isolation in therapy and in the company of other women with similar stories.

“I am learning still to love myself. I’m not where I want to be, but I’m so much further than where I was,” Francis said.

The My Mariposa program houses up to 20 women. Angelica Cervantes, chief program officer at Providence Place, says there’s a significant difference in the women.

“Every single woman that comes here is an automatic success because people have to understand the willpower that it took for somebody to reach out for help,” Cervantes said.

Cervantes said several women left the program early for one reason or another, including some who left to care for relatives suffering from COVID-19.

Francis is now employed and out on her own. She hopes to run her own program someday to help walk women out of their trauma and into better lives.

Click here to learn about the program.

About the Authors:

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.

Before starting KSAT in 2017, Lee was a photojournalist at KENS 5, where he won a Lone Star Emmy in 2014 for Best Weather Segment. In 2009 and 2010 Lee garnered first-place awards with the Texas Association of Broadcasters for Best Investigative Series in College Station, as well as winning first place for Staff Photojournalism in 2011 at KBTX.