Simon and Vanessa’s Story
Simon and Vanessa both grew up in the inner city. “Life was just life, so we got used to it,” she said.
What that life looked like was this: Simon did not complete high school. He became a father as a teenager, prior to his marriage to Vanessa. Upon meeting her and starting their own family together, the couple wanted to further their lives.
“One day, my husband just got up and decided he wanted to complete school, to receive his GED,” Vanessa said. Simon had been applying for a job that he was really interested in, but continued to be turned down because he hadn’t completed high school.
“He went through the Heartside program and completed it. I had a lot of faith in him because I knew he was super smart,” Vanessa said.
When Simon made the decision to complete his education, he and Vanessa went to Heartside Ministry, a division of MTM that offers a GED program.
Heartside Ministry’s GED program is designed to remove barriers to GED completion for those currently experiencing homelessness or other life challenges. Students start with a pre-test to gauge their abilities and then are partnered with tutors who customize their learning. Along with educational support, tutors offer encouragement to continue the process – something most of the students have not been offered. All services, including testing fees, are provided at no cost to the participants.
“It’s a really amazing program,” she continued. “After seeing my husband complete his GED, it gave me the courage to go get mine.”
Today, the husband and wife of five years laugh at the memory. “I had no idea she didn’t have her GED either!” Simon said.
God’s divine providence has a way of bringing people and partnerships into each other’s lives. Vanessa also had a child, Isaiah, before meeting Simon. When she was eighteen, she and Isaiah stayed at Mel Trotter Ministries for one month—long before the merger with Heartside Ministry where she would eventually earn her GED.
“Now that we are adults I understand how hard it is to have a child at such a young age,” she said. “If it wasn’t for the Homeless Youth Program that Mel Trotter helped me get into and paid for 70% of my rent for two years, I wouldn’t have been able to get back on my feet and be the mother and wife I am today.”
“Life is definitely hard if you don’t have help,” she said. Thankfully, God gives us not only the gift of people in our lives, but also the greatest gift and helper of all—his Son, Jesus.