Case Manager Krystal is tenacious. Maybe she was born with this fire or maybe life’s hard knocks forged her stubborn nature. Either way, today she channels her full-force personality to help women at Simonka Place abandon who they were and what they’ve done for who they were meant to be.
“I know what it is to be broken and feel trapped in addiction, to look in the mirror and not recognize who I see,” she says in a written testimony. “I try to be the person that I needed when I was here… I work to meet clients where they are at, emotionally and spiritually.”
Krystal has shaken hands with defeat before; meth use, abuse, and homelessness took her to despair in her life’s darkest moments.
When she once walked away from an abusive and dead-end relationship, she retreated to her parents who took her in. For eight months she hid from the world. When she was fueled to take another crack at life, though, her criminal record got in the way of a job.
Bent on proving her past didn’t determine her future, Krystal dug her heels in and went back to school. At this point, she was now married.
“I earned my associate degree. And then I earned my bachelor’s. I did that in three years total. I went to school for the summer, straight,” says Krystal.
She even had a baby while working through school. Life whirled like a tornado around her, but she put her head down and worked hard.
The hard work paid off. In 2019, what began as an internship at Simonka Place grew into a case manager position. Today Krystal is now employed by the same shelter that took her in so many times when she had no place to live. She can relate in a special way to the experiences so many of her clients feel buried by.
“To communicate to clients that I have literally been where they are, sat where they are sitting, gives me a common ground to work from so I can better support them as they move forward into healing.”
Krystal is grateful that the mistakes she made were not made in vain; God has used them in a miraculous way to help people break free from homelessness and addiction.
“It still amazes me that God can use my sin and failures to work for His good,” says Krystal. “Something that was a huge source of shame for me (my addiction) has actually become something that I can use on a daily basis to reach out to others and say, ‘I understand.’”
When you give to Union Gospel Mission of Salem, you are helping people just like Krystal find purpose. Give today at ugmsalem.org.