Before arriving at Recuperative Care, Jennifer went through a difficult journey before finding hope for her future. At the young age of 3, Jennifer was taken away from her biological family. She grew up in the foster care system until she aged out at 18 years old. With no help or direction, Jennifer was forced to make it on her own. She moved from shelter to shelter in San Bernardino but was never able to settle in one place.

On a seemingly normal day, Jennifer was alone at a McDonald’s when a couple of women came up to her and befriended her. They gained her trust by making her believe that they were going to help her—instead, they deceived her and forced her into human trafficking. After several months, Jennifer managed to escape what would have been a dark fate. With the help of the police, she finally found temporary stability at Rachel’s House, a shelter that helps victims of human trafficking.

While she was there, staff noticed a drastic change in her behavior. She was admitted to the hospital for an assessment and was transferred to a state mental health program for a couple of months. There, she was diagnosed with bipolar affective disorder. After being treated to a stable state, she was able to return to Rachel’s House. However, with no management of her disorder, she soon became unstable again. This time around, she was admitted to St. Joseph Hospital. An avid supporter of Illumination Foundation’s Recuperative Care program, the discharge planner at St. Joseph Hospital referred Jennifer to the program.

While in Recuperative Care, Jennifer was determined to be proactive and stay positive about her case. She was strong-spirited, loving, and sweet. Although she had discouraging and rough days, she was still able to get through the day because of the encouragement and support from staff along with her strong faith. However, that did not mean she didn’t face many obstacles to finding housing. Jennifer encountered multiple doors being shut regarding placement. There were many times when she wanted to give up, but she decided to hang tightly to her hope. There was one day in particular where Jennifer was ready to throw in the towel. Since Jennifer’s faith was the key to her strength and hope, staff reached out to Lena Martinez from Anchor of Hope Ministries to provide additional support and morale. This helped Jennifer stay positive in her situation, and she was extremely thankful and appreciative of the community of people who supported her, believed in her, and worked hard to see her succeed.

Finally, her perseverance paid off! OC Rescue Mission opened their doors and provided her a spot for an intake and assessment. Lena personally transported Jennifer to and from her first interview and intake process. Jennifer made it past the first round and was asked to return for a second interview with Outreach Manager, Doug Hellman. Lena was unable to take her to her second interview, but made sure to not let Jennifer fall through the cracks. She reached out to fellow member, Michelle Riggan, who more than willingly took Jennifer to the interview. OC Rescue Mission stated that Jennifer was the perfect fit for their program! Jennifer’s last obstacle is only waiting for her background check to clear before she proceeds to transition there. We are truly happy for Jennifer as she takes the next big step to a stable life.

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