Spiritual and unique—hear Ashley’s journey with Jessie’s Place

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Ashley, a client at Jessie's Place
Ashely reconnected with her spirituality and herself through her stay at Jessie’s Place. Photo via Beth Cunningham for Bham Now

A lot of people throw around the phrase “getting back on your feet,” but what does that really look like for each individual? Ashley, a client at Jessie’s Place shelter for homeless women and children, gave us a look into how she’s lifted herself up multiple times with help from a team urging her to succeed. Let’s hear her story.

Three years ago Ashley found a home with a lot of personality

Walking into Jessie’s Place for the first time already feels like a home. Partly because of the decor that’s cheery without being cheesy and furniture that’s comfortable with being worn. But, mostly, because of the welcoming atmosphere from the staff. It’s their personalities that are part of the reason Ashely calls Jessie’s Place home and not just a somewhere to rest your head for a night or two.

We moved off to the side from the entryway into a cozy living room where several clients were relaxing and Ashley recalled what it felt like the first time she stepped foot in the door.

“I was greeted with personality—lots of personalities. And that’s what’s different about it. It has the personality, it has that personal experience.”

Ashley

Nowhere else like it

Ashley is a Birmingham native and has lived here on and off throughout her entire life. She’s come to reside at Jessie’s Place for two different periods of time with three years apart between each time. She first arrived after time ran out at a different shelter. Unlike other places she’s stayed, Ashley emphasized that Jessie’s Place focuses on you as a person.

“You’ve got a very unique and hands-on staff that you really wouldn’t find anywhere else. I think it’s really the one-on-one—you’re an individual here as opposed to somewhere else they would have so many different people. They know who you are they know you by name.”

In addition to a staff who genuinely cares and will work to ensure your success, Jessie’s Place provides comfort, care and necessities for each client. If you take a look into the large room above, you’ll find neatly organized rows with toys, clothing for interviews, books, toiletries and a long list of other resources. Having access to these basic and comfort care items is possible through donations from the Birmingham community.

Finding your light again and shining it

As you can see, Jessie’s Place, one of the three branches of Jimmie Hale Mission, is committed to knowing each individual and working with them to become better versions of themselves. Clients typically stay for nine to 12 months during which they work through a four phase program.

Ultimately, the goal of the program is for each client to find safe and secure, employment, housing and childcare—if applicable. When we took a seat with Ashley to chat, she’d just gotten off work at her construction job downtown. She explained how, though it’s different from her previous jobs, she’s really come to enjoy it.

“Mostly I’ve worked sales, retail or clerical, but this is very different. I like seeing the other side, seeing the constructive side of the building and the creative side of things. It takes a lot of thought, patience, skill and intelligence because you’re dealing with mathematics.”

One person, a team of support

Jessie's Place
A huge part of your stay here is the ability to sit down and check-in with members of the staff at Jessie’s Place. Photo via Beth Cunningham for Bham Now

“Jessie’s Place actually help me realize a lot of things about myself. I’d like to say it has changed me as a person and helped me navigate the journey that is life.”

To change as a person requires physical and emotional support—all of which Jessie’s Place provides for free. Having a hands-on staff—as Ashley mentioned— requires a lot of resources, time and commitment. Donations from our community are a vital aspect to having this accessible care.

I spent $5 on a latte today and didn’t think anything of it. In 15 minutes it was gone with no lasting impression but a few dollars missing from my bank account. Giving that $5 to Jessie’s Place could change a life—it could help someone get a job, find childcare and even find themselves.

Ashley hopes to gain a car and an apartment in the near future. But, right now, staying at Jessie’s Place means she has the chance to get back to herself again.

“Mostly, I’m more interested in continuing to work on myself and build myself back up as far as confidence.”

Donate today and follow Jimmie Hale Mission on FacebookInstagram and Twitter to learn more about their commitment to serving Birmingham.

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