I wish there was more facilities like Simonka that were willing to open their doors no matter what your circumstance, no matter what your affliction is.

I'm not afraid of the mistakes I've made, anymore. I'm using it as growth and development. Truthfully, I'm not afraid to be me.

We cannot know joy if we do not know suffering. For Vicki, she sustained many trials and heartache before experiencing the security she now has.  

Rewinding back to the days before she set foot in Union Gospel Mission of Salem, Vicki was a victim of childhood abuse and trauma, the wounds, of which, she nursed with regular drinking. From this paved a life-path that was rocky and marked with unhealthy relationships.  

Years later when she found herself homeless and living in her car after displacement, Vicki tried her best to support herself and her five-year-old son.  

“We were dealing with child welfare … there had been some domestic violence in our life due to addiction. We lived in hotels. We lived in a vehicle that my mother let us borrow, we collected cans just to have gas to keep us warm at night.” 

During this brutal time, Vicki is grateful to ARCHES for graciously lodging her and her young son in a local hotel.  

After a little more than a month, though, her auto-immune disorder flare-up unfortunately required hospitalization. Upon discharge, she was released into the care of Simonka Place on January 14, 2021.  

Since that fateful day, God has radically flipped the script on her story. Hurt and hopelessness have ushered in restoration and joy. In this short span of time, much has been accomplished between the Mission and our community partners: 

  • The stability she found at Simonka Place made a quick diagnosis possible for her son’s disorder. 
  • A wraparound services team was coordinated to support her son’s disorder. 
  • Vicki and her son are now in therapy. 
  • She has secured housing. 
  • She is no longer scared of what people think of her. 
  • She is independent but also community connected. 
  • Her relationship with Jesus is now a close bond. 

She clarifies that one of the biggest ways the Mission prepared her for life outside of the shelter was in the way of life skills. While UGM wants to care for people as best as we can within the shelter walls, we also want to make sure that folks are prepared to later thrive in the outside world. 

“A lot of us grow up not knowing how to cook, not knowing how to balance a checkbook… the simple things that a lot of people just do naturally, because of what’s happened in their life,” Vicki explains. 

And after all this, so much more is ahead for Vicki. 

“I wish there were more facilities like Simonka that were willing to open their doors no matter what your circumstance, no matter what your affliction is… They will help you feel whole again and get on your feet.” 

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“The more depressed I got, the more anxious I got and then the two of them are a very vicious cycle. They feed off of each other like nothing else.”
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