Sharon’s Story

Sharon and her 9-month-old daughter came to Benedictine Place after Sharon left an abusive relationship. They arrived with nothing but the clothes they were wearing.

Sharon was required to enroll in an education program to gain marketable skills. Because Sharon’s prior student loans were in default, she needed financial assistance to attend school. While she worked on getting the loans paid up, HEARTH connected her to a scholarship provided by ZONTA through Point Park University’s adult accelerated full-time Saturday program. Sharon worked hard at school; she worked at a part-time job; she cared for her infant daughter; and she participated in weekly life skills classes.

While living at Benedictine Place, Sharon received emotional support from the staff, supplies from the food pantry, holiday gifts from the community and most importantly, she gained the confidence and skills to become financially independent. Sharon graduated with honors and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice in May 2006.

Sharon says, “Without HEARTH many of us would never be able to go school and take care of our families. HEARTH has given me the push I needed for self-sufficiency. I now live in Warrendale in a beautiful house with a roommate who also was a HEARTH program participant. I also volunteer for HEARTH whenever I am needed.” Sharon is seeking a job in probation, parole or in a correctional facility. And once again she is back at Point Park — pursuing a master’s degree! “I never would have been able to do all this without HEARTH.”