Daisha spent her childhood playing the piano, singing and taking acting classes. She grew up with her mom, dad, and two brothers in Lancaster, but unfortunately, her home life wasn’t great.
“My parents didn’t get along most of the time so my dad would leave a lot, for weeks—sometimes even months—at a time,” she said. Daisha’s dad was a heroin addict, which she didn’t learn until she was 17 years old when he started to get sick. “I never understood why he would fall asleep while talking to me most of the time. My mom kept that a secret from me and my brothers.
“He opened up to me and told me himself when he was in the hospital after an accident. While in the hospital he told me that he needed brain surgery. After the surgery he had to go to a nursing home.”
Her father’s demise hit Daisha’s older brother hard. “He felt like it was his fault,” she said. “He was in prison when my dad began to get sick and when he was released, my dad couldn’t walk or talk anymore. He felt like he was to blame. He turned to drugs.”
After seeing her father and brother struggle, Daisha got into a bad relationship. The abuse started not long after Daisha got pregnant with the couple’s daughter. “When he went to jail I was four months pregnant and when he got out I was seven months pregnant,” she said. “That’s when he started hitting me when he got mad.”
He was also charged with a DUI while their baby was in the car. And on another occasion, he kidnapped their daughter while she was visiting with her grandmother.
“A lot of things happened with him,” Daisha said. “It made me depressed and suicidal. He paid my cell phone bill, so every time I would run away, he would call and cancel my service. I would be on the streets with no phone and no place to sleep. I found myself on Skid Row, sleeping on sidewalks, pregnant. So I would go back to him. I thought it was easier that way.”
The man was also part of a sex trafficking ring. When he was arrested, Daisha was asked to testify against him. “I received many threats from his family,” she said. “I knew my life would be in danger if I did it. I needed to get away from him.”
Daisha lived in hotel after hotel, she said, and called 2-1-1 everyday looking for help. She learned of the Mission from a close friend. When her hotel vouchers ran out, she called and was accepted in after an interview. “I was so relieved when I finally came into the Mission,” she said. “It was very warm and welcoming. Everyone was so Christ-like. I felt like my suffering was over once I got here.”
Daisha and her 3-year-old daughter have been at the Mission now for nearly five months. “I love the unconditional love that my daughter gives me every day,” Daisha said. “I love seeing her grow up right in front of my eyes and to see how smart that she is. And she really loves playing with the other kids. It’s going wonderfully.
“I’m learning a lot from the other women and have made a lot of friends since I’ve been here too.”
Daisha said that she is becoming a better person while being at the Mission. She’s getting therapy and counseling, going to church, and enjoying the friendships she’s made. She’s also planning on enrolling in college, perhaps for an English degree to write poetry, or to study law.