“Marisol Homes saved our lives”

Tori clutched her son Brock’s small hand as they stepped into Marisol Homes for the first time in early 2020. The weight of homelessness and the shadows of domestic violence seemed to lift when she got the call one winter day from a case manager at Marisol Homes, telling her they could move in right away.

“Marisol Homes opened the doors for me and provided me with the warmth we needed, when it was cold and scary for us to be outside. At the time, Brock and I were sleeping under highways, usually seeking a new one every night.”

In the months that followed, Tori and Brock navigated the COVID pandemic inside the Catholic Charites shelter for pregnant women and mothers with young children with 15 other families. Despite the chaos of the pandemic, Marisol Homes classes for mothers continued and Tori learned and grew. Her connection with her then 2-year-old son grew stronger as she clung to the safety of the transformative place and maintained sobriety with the help of supportive programs. During these months that were especially uncertain, she found herself immersed in the community and actively used the building blocks provided by the Marisol Health team to focus on what would be next for them.

“Marisol Homes put it in place so that I could raise my child. If it wasn’t for that safe space for my son, I would not be able to provide a good life for him. From where we were at before, it really saved both of our lives.”

The classes at Marisol Homes helped Tori’s confidence grow. She discovered a passion for working with animals and, with encouragement from the Marisol Homes staff and other moms, she enrolled in a dog grooming course.

Today, four years after moving out of Marisol Homes, Tori is fully booked, with clients waiting months to get on her calendar. For her, every day is another chance for her to perfect her craft.

“Being with the dogs is really healing for me. We have our own language, and it’s taught me how to be a bit more patient.”

Tori saved enough money to get an apartment in Aurora that is both close to her work and Brock’s daycare. They even have two dogs of their own who get extra attention when mom is grooming them.

Tori loves to look at pictures from their days at Marisol Homes. She laughs as she scrolls through memories of the days of them eating in the Marisol Homes kitchen and playing outside on the playground. She’s forever grateful for the lifeline Marisol Homes provided when they needed it most.

Marisol Homes continues to support Tori and Brock with ongoing parenting classes that she joins virtually that support the ongoing growth of the parents who have called Marisol Homes home.

“I am trying to break that generational curse of yelling and being impatient with my child. I want to give my son everything he deserves, and Marisol Homes has gone above and beyond to made sure I have the tools so that mine and his generations are in better hands.”