I grew up with my two older siblings and we were raised by my dad. One day, he abused my brother, so we were sent into the foster care system at 9, 10, and 11 years old. My siblings and I were separated and sent to different foster homes. I grew up in a foster home until I was 18 and then I graduated high school and went to a university in Turlock, CA. Growing up in the foster care system, I was never physically or sexually abused, but I was mentally and verbally abused. Unfortunately, I dropped out of the university after my freshman year. I was very disappointed in myself. I moved in with my aunt who adopted my two other sisters that I found out about later in my childhood, and she charged us all rent. She was very money hungry and kept raising the rent, so I started looking for transitional housing. My brother told me about the Dream Center, and I’m so thankful for him. I needed a place to stay where I could feel safe and secure, and a place where I could save money and also work on my faith.
The Dream Center fulfilled my need for stability. I wanted to become financially stable and I wanted to have a better relationship with God. This program offers that. I looked for help because I needed to be taught these things and I needed structure. Growing up in the foster care system, you don't get taught many life lessons because you have people taking care of you just for a check. I am still struggling to be financially stable, but I hope to change that when I leave this program. In the past, I never knew why I couldn't hold conversations or keep relationships alive, but now I do. It’s because I struggled with social anxiety and I’m an introvert. I am aware now of my challenges, and I will continue working on them, but I would say I am more disciplined than I was in the past. My community has changed to caring and loving people all around me. I have goals for my future that I want to reach and conquer.
I plan to get back into the post office and go to school part-time. I plan to leave the Dream Center with a good amount of savings and get another car. I plan to better my credit and manage my money wisely. I grew up in a Christian family before I was sent into the foster care system, and while I was living in foster care, God was the only one I could talk to. I communicated with God through his Word and I plan on building a better relationship with Him even when I leave. I was not always used to having people be there for me but coming to the Dream Center, you will have a community who will do their best to help you. Living at the Dream Center, you will learn to be responsible because there are certain rules you have to follow and tasks you have to do. Having a stable home at the Dream Center helped me focus on my goals. I learned how to be a part of a community; one you can depend on. I learned that God is always by my side. I learned that I needed to stop saying no and try something new.
The Dream Center in Los Angeles is a multi-faceted outreach that Jentezen Franklin Media Ministries proudly supports each and every month, and has for over a decade. With the continued support of our friends and partners, together, we are able to contribute to housing, food, educational opportunities, addiction recovery, and so much more for emancipated teens, Veterans, homeless, and those desperate for help but with no where else to turn. Most importantly—we're able to share the message of Jesus Christ to each and every one of them! Today we share a testimony from one of the young women, Shena Leverett, in the Transitions Program at the Dream Center.