Spiritus Relief Stories: Meet Sky

Here is a story that brings us hope and joy even through the heartache of a mother in crisis, homelessness, foster care, COVID-19 and even prison. As we sit in quarantine, we have seen a ‘new normal’ unravel day by day – but most of us have a place that we call home, where we can stay safe during this pandemic and live out that new normal. While we’re focusing on the rising number of cases and deaths, it’s easy to be unaware of ALL of the ramifications of the pandemic – COVID-19 has permeated more than the lungs of its victims.

Meet Sky: pregnant and single mom to Erin, who fled to South Florida to seek refuge. Domestic abuse forced her hand, so she bought a one-way ticket for her and her child, traveling with everything they possessed on their backs. Sky wanted nothing more than to provide for Erin, to get back on her feet, longing for a fresh start, a new beginning and to leave the abuse behind. Sky managed to get a job and find a good daycare facility, but it still wasn’t enough to make ends meet; they found themselves living pay check to pay check in a homeless shelter. The daycare facility noticed that Sky’s child had been wearing the same clothes and didn’t have essential supplies, so they made the call to DCF (Florida Department of Children and Families). Then the worst thing Sky could have imagined happened – her child was removed from her care. The very thing that she was fighting for was torn away.

Meet Ēma South Florida: a faith based non-profit organization whose mission is to reduce the number of children in foster care and to step in as the mother’s advocate. Sky’s case was given to Ēma, and Sky started her 10-week journey of life coaching, mentorship, and advocacy.  Then, a second summons to appear in court came up. Sky had been completely transparent about her past – she shared everything that had transpired that had led her to this point in her life, including her own experience in the foster care system as a child. Unfortunately Sky missed her court appearance, which led to her arrest and 3 months in prison.

Sky served her term and was released right as COVID-19 was peaking. Still pregnant and dressed in her orange jumpsuit, she found herself on the side of the road with nothing and nowhere to go. She decided to call her advocate at Ēma; she didn’t know it at the time, but even while the world was in lockdown mode – face to face contact prohibited, hotels closed, homeless shelters unable to receive new individuals – Sky’s life was about to radically change.

Through a collaboration between Ema and HomesUnited, Sky was given a place to call home. HomesUnited, an organization which provides homes for the homeless through a partnership with UnitedWay, was able to offer Sky a placement in one of their homes that very day, where she would not only have a safe place to live, but also mentorship through a local church.

Now meet The Spiritus Relief Fund, a resource base launched by the National Christian Foundation of South Florida, designed specifically to breathe life into times of crisis. Sky was nominated for a grant from The Spiritus Relief Fund, which was used to cover a portion of the rent for her new, safe home, as well as clothes, toiletries, sheets and towels. The grant from The Spiritus Relief Fund also provided her with a computer, so that she’s able to work from home at her new job during her pregnancy.

Sky still has a long journey ahead, but now that she has a home, a reliable source of income, mentorship and guidance, her story is looking brighter each day. The collaboration of God’s people is bringing hope to the hopeless, even during a word-wide pandemic.