From Fear to Courage—Julia's Story

October 30, 2023

When Julia* came to our local partner’s emergency shelter in Seattle, she struggled to believe she was capable of the future she wanted. She lacked education, vocational experience, and identification documents, and struggled with her mental health due to the trauma she had experienced. She was terrified of going outside, but she knew she needed support and community.

Determined to make a change in her life, she began meeting weekly with the local partner’s case manager to set goals and track her progress. Meanwhile, she began getting to know others in the shelter and building relationships. With the help of one of her new friends, Julia decided to face her fear of going out in public, and the two of them rode public transportation together—a seemingly small action that was a huge landmark of healing for Julia. And this step of courage was just the beginning.

Julia’s life today is nearly unrecognizable from what it was when she first came to the emergency shelter. She is able to go out into the world independently and with confidence, running her own errands and going to her own appointments—something that would have been unthinkable for her just a few months ago. This has made it possible for her to get involved in a church, and she has been able to gather all of the documents needed for her to begin pursuing the career she chooses. She says she feels safe, "for the first time in a very long time"—a foundation of safety that has given Julia the chance to begin to dream about her future again, opening the door to opportunities she never considered for herself.

She describes herself today as a resilient, resourceful self-starter. She has faced her fears and she has overcome them. And this is just the beginning for Julia.

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*Name has been changed for the protection of the survivor.