Life seemed rather normal up until the day Samantha’s step dad was caught stealing equipment from their neighbors. This was a deal breaker for Samantha’s mom who terminated their relationship and when the landlord kicked them out because of the theft, the two of them were taken in by a family from church for several months. Eventually they found a (very) small efficiency to live in with only the bare essentials and no phone. In order to make any calls, they had to walk to the nearby bar where there was a pay phone installed out front. One night as she and her mother walked down to make a call, they heard a man call out her mother’s name. They turned to find a man a blood-stained t-shirt lurching towards them, explaining he had been beat up and needed their help. It was her step dad. They kept walking.. The next day when they arrived home after work and school, they found they had been robbed of everything of any value they had. The man who had stolen from their former neighbors, had now also stolen from them. Sammy’s mom decided it was no longer safe there, so they packed up whatever they had left in order to leave.. The only obstacle? They didn’t have a car or money for tickets to go by train or bus.
A man her mom knew was headed up north. He had told them he would be needing to stop in Mississippi. That “stop” turned out to be six weeks long, due to his unforeseen health issues. They stayed in a dank little house plopped in the middle of acres of field. The only thing to do was to wait it out, and with few entertainment options, Sammy learned to ride the pony that was out in the backyard barn. One day she fell off and the pony stomped down on her chest, much to her mother’s horror. Gratefully, she was fine, but those six weeks in the middle of nowhere provided a strange diversion from a life full of bumpy rides. They eventually made it up north, and relocated back into the small town of Lititz, Pennsylvania. For two and a half years she and her mom stayed in that area. When she was eleven, they moved to Elizabethtown.
Sammy had not only experienced many moves in her short life, she also had to endure the desperate hope for her father’s attention and deal with the disappointing blows when milestones came and went with no notice from him. While she had met him briefly when they first moved to Florida, she only knew him through the occasional telephone calls he would make and during several of those calls he would make promises that were never fulfilled. When you’re eleven year old girl and your father who you barely know, calls you to tell you he’s got a special gift coming for your birthday, it’s crushing blow when that birthday comes and goes with no gift arriving in the mail.
After her dad died, she and her mother moved to Richland, Pennsylvania for a few years. There she enjoyed a more relaxed, country lifestyle and the friendship of the neighborhood boys who became like brothers to her. They would cruise around on four wheelers, throw mud at the library and make other kinds of mischief together. Times changed when she was thirteen and moved back to Lititz. For the next few years of her early teens, Sammy began to rebel against her mom’s strict rules and found herself grounded more than she was not.
When she was seventeen, Sammy got a job at Burger King, thanks to the reference of her mom who worked there as well. A few members of the crew who worked there introduced Sammy to the world of muscle relaxers, snorting, pot and drinking. One day she came into work, eyes glazed over and her mom took one look at her and knew things were not good. She tried, but felt unsure of how to help her daughter out of the vortex that was bringing her down, and would eventually knock her out during her senior year, from which she never graduated.
“I got myself off of everything”.
Soon after turning eighteen years old, Sammy’s paternal grandmother died. It was the closest living connection to her father she had, and they had just begun truly getting to know each other. The pain was so deep she couldn’t even muster up the energy to go to the funeral. Instead she went to a friend’s house and begged for pills. She took twenty of them, all at once. The next morning no one could wake her up. When she finally came to that afternoon, she woke up dry heaving and terrified. It was her rock bottom, and knowing that she could not afford to stay in the same circle of influence she had been under, she quit Burger King, the first step in an attempt to reclaim her life.
She took on a new job and met a new boyfriend. She turned nineteen that year and a month after her birthday, found out she was pregnant. This had not been part of the plan. She had been staying mostly at her boyfriend’s parent’s house and the day she went over to her mom’s to tell her the news, her mom opened the door and Sammy said, “I have to tell you something”. Without skipping a beat her mom said, “Please don’t tell me you are pregnant!”. The next day, all of Sammy’s earthly belongings left at her mom’s was sitting on the front porch, ready to be picked up. She took everything back and moved in entirely with his parents.
Her boyfriend had a real interest in dirt bikes. She thought he was buying them to restore and sell until the day when, at five months pregnant, an undercover cop came by as a "potential buyer" and arrested him. Pregnant and with her baby’s father in jail, she stayed at his parent’s place to show her loyalty to him, even getting a tattoo with his initials on her back and he had her name inked on his arm. She worked hard on an online cyber school, completing the three classes she needed to earn her GED. Her mom eventually warmed up to her state of affairs and when Sammy was late in her pregnancy, threw a baby shower for her. Things were hard, but they were looking up. On December 2 of that year, she gave birth to a beautiful baby boy.
It was at towards the end of those two weeks, her friend Katie told her about Milagro House and hope was renewed..
Sammy met with Ellie at Milagro House and was impressed by what they had to offer her and her young son, James. A fresh start, complete with lodging so that she could work towards bettering herself, giving her son the stable childhood that she never had. And indeed, that is what the next season of life has held.
This is not to say it’s been seamless. Life rarely is. She came to the house with nothing but James. She started business school and began a new job but gave up on her schooling fairly quickly in an attempt to finish the (Milagro) program sooner. She tried multiple jobs, all of which did not pan out for various reasons. Everything kept pointing her to go back to school. Still, she needed a push, some motivation and that's just what she got from the staff at Milagro House . She went through and successfully completed the New Choices program. She has since got her permit, her driver’s license and a car. After nearly a year into attaining a Medical Administrative Assistant degree at Consolidated School of Business, she is on track for finishing classes early leading her to graduate from her program four months ahead of schedule.
Sammy's life has taken her on a wild ride. Through many ups and downs, curves and uphill climbs, she is now in the driver's seat, ready to take the wheel and head down a road made smoother by the choices she made and chances she took to take claim of her beautiful life.