Jessica’s Story

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    After years of being passed from one relative to the next, with no real place to call her own, Jessica Parks began to spiral downward.

    “I felt like I was sinking to the bottom of the ocean. I wanted to swim to the top to see the beauty, but never could seem to reach it.”

    The day she showed up on Outreach’s porch, she was hiding behind a wall of homelessness, loneliness, and hopelessness.

    “During ‘Drop-In’ times I wouldn’t talk to nobody. I would just sit in my little corner by myself.”

    She treated her pain with isolation and self-harm.

  • One day case manager Kelsey Mygatt noticed Jessica sitting alone and with blood on her arms from where she had cut herself. Kelsey bandaged her arms and spent some time getting to know Jessica and her story.

    The months following that, Jessica’s life spiraled even further downward. She lost her place at the shelter where she had been staying. She faced betrayal by a friend. And she was diagnosed with a slough of anxiety disorders. In desperation, she overdosed on Outreach’s front porch. She tried to leave, but a case manager noticed her with a bottle of Tylenol in her hand and insisted on taking her to the hospital.

    “They cared enough not to let me leave,” Jessica says.

    She spent the day and the following day and night in the hospital. Two months later, she tried to kill herself again. But yet again, she wasn’t successful.

    Through all of this, Outreach walked by her side. They helped her get mental health assistance, helped her fill out numerous job applications, and counseled her out of an unhealthy relationship. Most importantly, they reintroduced her to the person who could give her real hope for her life: Jesus.

    “In my storm I have become close with God,” she says. “If I hadn’t gone through that I never would have met the wonderful staff, volunteers, and clients of Outreach. God knew what He was doing from the get go . . . Outreach staff loved me unconditionally. No matter what I went through or what happened, they never judged me or talked about me or turned their backs on me. Outreach helped me to find strength during a time of weakness. They helped to bring me out of a really dark place.”