The holiday season can be a time of joy and sorrow for many of us, including our COTS residents. That’s the case for our client Blanca, who is facing her first winter without her older sister who rescued her from an unsafe home when Blanca was only 13.

“Two things are keeping me going right now,” says Blanca. “The support I found at COTS and the foundation my sister left me. She was everything to me–mother, best friend and co-parent to my daughter.”

Blanca’s small family came to COTS after her sister was injured in an accident and was no longer able to work. At COTS, Blanca was able to take advantage of our skills-building classes and the wisdom of a compassionate and motivating case management team. She increased her income, stocked her savings and began to plan for their future. She loved and was good at taking care of her sister, so she started taking prerequisites to a nursing degree, envisioning a career in a local hospital.

But her beloved sister was hospitalized with pneumonia earlier this year and died. Blanca’s plans had to change.

At COTS, we face hard truths with compassion.

Blanca’s case manager referred her to a therapist, but she also spent many afternoons with Blanca, listening to her thoughts and memories and helping her plan for her future. She decided to get in touch with extended family in Arizona. To her delight, they were eager to help. She and her daughter will be moving to Arizona in the New Year.

I thank you for your past support and compassion, and I encourage you to donate to COTS today so that we can serve hundreds more people like Blanca–people whose struggles can be eased and whose lives can be changed with support and connection.