We first met Susanna four years ago when she and her then 1–year–old daughter moved into one of our short-term family housing programs. She had recently left an abusive relationship and didn’t yet know her own capacity and strength. “At first, I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to support myself or cope with anything,” she said.

“For me, it’s the people at COTS that make a difference. My case manager and all the other families that we lived with helped me so much. When I got my job at the restaurant, I had a hard time the first year. I wasn’t sure I would be able to stick it out, and I got so much help and good advice from everyone at COTS.

I still have the same job, and I love it.”

Susanna and her daughter moved to their own apartment two years ago in a complex where COTS provides supportive services. “My case manager helped me through my custody battle for my daughter. Deep down, I knew I was asking the court for the right thing, but I was conflicted. I didn’t want to make waves. My case manager helped me stay in touch with what was best for my daughter.”

“You can never stop growing. You can never say, ‘That’s good enough.’ Because it’s always going to be difficult. There’s always going to be stress. There’s always going to be sadness and hurt feelings. But you have to keep moving forward.”

Now that her daughter has started kindergarten, she’s looking for a second job. “College for her and a vacation in Hawaii for us both—that’s the plan,” she says.