Friends of Julia’s, I invite you to read about this inspiring February 18 event at the Julia Greeley Home:
"I'm not Self-Made, I'm God-Made!"
That was the message of Julia Greeley Home graduate Penny, who returned to the house Feb 18 to share her story with current residents, urging them all to continue to work toward their own success. With the help of Jesus Christ, she said, all things are possible.
"You can do it too -- you, you, and you!" Penny said, pointing to each person in the room.
During the question and answer segment, a Julia Greeley resident raised her hand. "Thank you for what you said tonite," she told Penny. "I was pretty discouraged this morning and you have given me hope again."
Truly, Penny’s life has become an inspiration and a hope to many. As she explained to her listeners, she herself had very little hope the day she walked into the Julia Greeley Home about two years ago. She was estranged from her family, divorced, homeless, and living from shelter to shelter. Her early dreams of a college education had been crushed by serious physical illnesses that had led to depression and discouragement. Her self-image was in ashes.
Little did she know she was about to rise above her despair: "The world gives us names, like homeless, and says we'll never amount to anything, but don't believe it," she told her listeners.
Consider where Penny is today: She is living independently in her own apartment, and a straight A student at Community College of Denver (CCD) working toward a degree in social work.
Recently, CCD awarded Penny a national honor: The college invited Penny to join the National Society of Leadership and Success, the nation's largest leadership honor society. Students are selected by their college for membership based on either academic standing or leadership potential. To be invited into this respected organization, founded in 2001, is a nationally recognized achievement and honor.
Penny’s path to success began when she won a scholarship to complete her college degree through Julia Greeley's partnership with the Ward Family Foundation, of Alexandria, VA. Julia Greeley Home was impressed with Penny’s progress and recommended her to the foundation, which in turn has been impressed and supportive of Penny’s commitment to pursuing her career goals. Her ultimate goal is to achieve a master’s degree in social work with an emphasis on mental health counseling.
Penny recalled walking toward a homeless shelter on an achingly cold day in early 2016, her only possessions were stuffed in a backpack, and her only hope was that the shelter would have a place for her that night.
Then one day she heard about the Julia Greeley Home. "Everything started to turn around here, at Julia Greeley," she told the group. "They saw something in me."
That night, Penny and Julia Greeley’s present residents shared phone numbers and a pledge to stay close. Penny is eager “pay it forward” — to help women who are suffering the way she once was. Most of all, she wants them to know there is no circumstance they cannot overcome, whether it's illness, loneliness, or poverty. The key is to never give up -- and to give God a chance, because that's where real success begins.
"It's God," she likes to say. "It's His hand written on my life."
What is Julia's?
If a woman is motivated, we offer the tools to leave homelessness behind, for good. Each woman learns for herself how to break out of the cycle of homelessness.
Who was Julia?
Julia Greeley was a courageous, faith-filled, single woman who overcame slavery and poverty to become a source of hope to others even less fortunate than she.
“Thank you Julia Greeley, you were a light for me when I could not see the way!’
The words are like Sylvia Bailey herself -- spontaneous, spirited, luminous. Sylvia graduated from the Julia Greeley Home program in 2014, and shortly afterwards spoke at a workshop about her success. The Julia Greeley program had helped her achieve independence. She was in her own apartment and managing her own life.
Now Sylvia had a plan. She wanted to share the light that she had found at Julia's: “I want to volunteer,” she said. “When can I start?”
We were thrilled. Who better to explain Julia’s program than Sylvia? She was charismatic, eloquent and eager. She could explain Julia’s program “from the inside out,” because she believed that her time at Julia’s had revitalized her life journey.
A few weeks after that workshop came devastating news. Sylvia had died suddenly from a burst aneurysm suffered at her home. This vital woman, sparkling as a firecracker, had suddenly been called to eternal life.
Yet Sylvia's story continues to inspire us. She is every woman who is alone, suffering, and without a home, who finally triumphed over her circumstances. More ›
Life didn’t spare Vicki from hardship and homelessness, even though she’s held good jobs, been to college, and stayed free of the addiction trap.
The shattering blow for Vicki was the death of her fiance in the summer of 2012. Suddenly, the sensitive, soft-spoken 54-year-old found herself in a bewildering spiral. The couple had planned to let Vicki finish her college degree while her fiance supported them. But after his death, Vicki was forced to drop out of her adult education classes and abandon plans for a business degree. More ›