Vangie was an experienced victim of loss
and violence before she even started school.
Her mother was murdered when Vangie was only four, and she and her older sister went to live with relatives in a home rife with domestic abuse.
It was no surprise that as a teenager, Vangie found refuge in gangs, alcohol and – perpetuating the cycle of violence she grew up with – an abusive boyfriend. Shortly after learning she was pregnant, she received another stunning blow: her sister was struck by a car and killed.
Vangie was devastated. Even giving birth to her son, Thaddeus, brought her little joy. Then, an aunt’s pleading, “We need you. You’re not alone,” made her realize she had to take charge of her life. Vangie checked into rehab.
“They helped me get sober and I realized everything I had experienced made me stronger, not weaker,” Vangie recalls. “And that’s where I got the referral to the YWCA.”
Through the YWCA, she found a stable place to live at YWCA Trinity Place in Edmonds, training to learn to manage her budget, and a connection to a work-study program that would give her a real chance at her first meaningful, well-paying job.
“The YWCA helped me find a home – physically and mentally. They gave me the building blocks for my new life,” says Vangie. “My counselor helped me forgive the past and heal. Now, I feel empowered. I have the self-confidence to be a better mother and to know that I can have a better life.”
Today, Vangie is working part-time while earning her greenhouse/nursery certificate from Edmonds Community College. She has moved from YWCA transitional housing into a permanent, affordable YWCA home.
“The YWCA has helped me so much,” she says. “I’m setting a good example for my son so he doesn’t have to learn about life the hard way I did. I am reconnecting with my Navajo roots. I am whole again. Without the support of the YWCA and its donors, I couldn’t have achieved all this. You saved me. You saved my son.”