Although Connie Walker grew up in close-knit loving family, she didn’t feel like she fit in.
“I always felt like an outcast,” she said.
The oldest of eight siblings, Connie worked hard to help take care of her family—including caring for her mother—but she struggled with drug use and relapsed after her mother passed away.
“She was my backbone,” Connie said.
After her mother died, Connie moved in with her daughter, but it put a strain on their relationship so she moved in with her brother. But Connie couldn’t hide her sadness.
“My brother’s sister heard me crying every night in my room.”
Connie’s sister-in-law took her to get help, which led to an eventual mental illness diagnosis. Her sister-in-law encouraged her that she could get support, and that she could also get a place of her own.
“I just cried,” Connie said. “I thought she didn’t want to put up with me anymore, but that wasn’t the case.”
Connie’s sister-in-law found out about CaringWorks and connected her to the organization. It’s been several years since the CaringWorks team helped Connie secure her own apartment, and today she is thriving.
Connie’s relationship with her daughter is better, and she has formed close bonds with other CaringWorks clients. In addition to housing and other support, Connie also receives behavioral health services, including weekly individual therapy sessions, and she attends group sessions twice a week with others in the program.
“I look forward to seeing them, and they look forward to seeing me. They all love me, and I love them.”
Attallah Goodman, one of CaringWorks’ Mental Health Group Facilitators, says that a key benefit of the sessions is that attendees encourage each other.
“It’s important that our clients know that they aren’t alone and everyone has a story to share,” Attallah said. “Connie’s presence is infectious, and she truly brings out the positivity of our group sessions.”
Not only has Connie developed meaningful friendships, but she says that the sessions are an important part of her overall mental health.
“When I go home, I feel good and grateful. It’s like a burden is lifted off of me.”
Connie said she still has occasional bad days, but she’s proud of how far she’s come. These days she loves spending time with her kids, grandkids and siblings and she has a hopeful outlook for the future.
“I’m most proud of the fact that I’ve stayed clean as long as I have, and that I’m going back and forth to the program,” she said. “God blesses me with whatever I need.”
Built on the single idea that all people—no matter their social or economic standing—should have a chance to improve their quality of life, CaringWorks has served 10,000 clients throughout our 20-year history. Since our inception, we have grown exponentially to become one of Georgia’s leaders in providing permanent supportive housing. We serve hundreds of individuals each year through unique programs and services that are specifically tailored to the needs of those facing chronic homelessness.
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