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Crystal and her 4 kids built foundation at the Mission


Crystal’s father died when he was just 24, leaving behind a 21-year-old wife and three young daughters, ages 3, 5 and 6.“He had a heart attack, and all of my sisters and I were present when he passed away,” Crystal said. “It was tough. There was a lot of trauma from the beginning.”

At 15, Crystal met her future husband, and at 18, they moved in together and she got pregnant with their first daughter. This is when the domestic violence started. At 20, she had their son. “I began to try drugs,” Crystal said. “My husband did it, and I wanted to fit in with him. I wanted him to be home, not out with other women or with his friends. The shoving then moved to emotional abuse, which hurt more than the physical.”

Crystal moved from doing drugs occasionally to using whether he was home or not. She had two more children, and her husband’s abuse worsened. Last year, when she was 30, Crystal had enough. Her sister and mother watched her kids as she fled to a program. “I thank God every day. I prayed and I prayed, even in my worst addiction. I knew there was more God had for me. I knew he was what was going to keep me from killing myself, from losing hope entirely. I don’t remember anyone instilling faith in me, but I’ve always had it.”

When Crystal got out of her program, she and her kids came to the Mission. Not having a place to live, that’s humbling. But everyone (at the Mission) is so invested. We all have different hurts, traumas, healing processes. They are trying to meet each person’s criteria differently.”

Crystal said was most thankful to have a bed after sleeping on the floor for so long. “We’ve lived in a shed in the past. We’ve slept in the car, on couches everywhere. The bed and the peace and quiet, it’s such a relief to have that.”

Crystal is at a two-year transitional housing program now, called Hope Gardens. “It’s beautiful and peaceful here, and the kids are adjusting well,” she said. “They all just started school and are loving it. I can’t express the gratitude I have for you all at the Mission.”

Crystal is enrolled in a program at West Los Angeles College that will help her with her high school equivalency test, after which she’ll start taking psychology courses. “May it be God’s will,” she said.

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