Aleisha is a 37-year-old African American female who was referred to PDHS HMRE from the Office of the Solicitor Fourth Judicial Circuit, William B. Rodgers, Jr. Like many participants, Aleisha did not quite understand the program she signed up for but ended up finding the education applicable to her life.
After high school, Aleisha married her sweetheart whom she dated throughout school. They started a family with three kids and in her words were “romantically in love.” Aleisha’s husband enlisted in the United States Army and a few years afterwards was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Aleisha reports that his struggles with PTSD caused major problems within their relationship and eventually led to a separation.
At the time of enrollment, Aleisha and her children lived in an apartment in Cheraw, SC. She did not own a vehicle and relied on her mother to transport her to HMRE classes at the Chesterfield County Library. Aleisha was dating a guy who she reports called her names and had an inappropriate relationship with his child’s mother oftentimes in Aleisha’s presence, which left Aleisha absent of emotional and commitment safety.
During one session, Aleisha came to class crying because her boyfriend’s son pulled the chair out from under her at a cookout in front of everyone. Aleisha stated that she was so embarrassed. Further, Aleisha reported that her boyfriend neither disciplined his son nor helped her up off the ground.
In fact, Aleisha shared many things about her life with the case manager and shared how each unit of the curriculum touched her and was helping guide her in making life decisions. Aleisha was so moved that she inquired about becoming a case manager for PDHS HMRE as she felt it was her calling to “minister to others.”
As Aleisha used many of the concepts to work on herself and end an emotionally unhealthy or abusive relationship, unbeknownst to her, her husband also began to better himself. Aleisha’s husband often stated he wanted his family back but this time, began to do the required work to achieve that goal. Her husband followed a regimen recommended by his physicians to manage PTSD and found spiritual guidance as he began routinely attending church. Aleisha and her husband both exhibited the “do your part” techniques described by the curriculum developers as one of the three keys of success in healthy relationships.
At follow up, Aleisha reports that she and her husband have reconciled. Her husband purchased a “big, beautiful” home for their family and they are doing well residing in Georgia.
Tanya is a 44-year-old African American female who was referred to PDHS HMRE from Hope Counseling Services. Tanya’s story illustrates that childhood issues and events play a role in our lives as adults. As a child, Tanya had many things going against her. Tanya’s mother abandoned her, and her father was uninvolved. Tanya reports that she experienced adverse childhood experiences such as abuse and poverty. Tanya was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), which in her words, created several sensitive spots as she frequently felt other people were talking about her. Tanya shared memories of neighbors and schoolmates making fun of her and her family situation. She cited ADD, poverty, and lack of parental support as reasons for having difficulty in school. The difficulty in school caused anger and Tanya learned to build walls around her for perceived emotional protection. Tanya persevered and was able to finish high school but found other ways to mask her pain.
At the time of enrollment, Tanya was a client of Hope Counseling Services for alcohol abuse who was celebrating one year of sobriety. She was experiencing housing insecurity and lived with a friend in Darlington. Tanya’s children were removed from her care due to homelessness and she wanted her life to be different but did not know the appropriate actions to take.
The PDHS HMRE Case Manager built rapport with Tanya through one-on-one interventions and assisted her in obtaining a temporary housing choice voucher. She was able to present the voucher to the Department of Social Services and court system for family reunification services. The case manager also referred Tanya to SC Works (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act) and as a result she enrolled in the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program at Florence-Darlington Technical College.
With healthy marriage and relationship education, Tanya came to an understanding that many of her actions were based on unresolved, hidden childhood issues and not true responses to her current situation. Through group-based instruction, she became more open and relaxed as she learned she was not alone. Not only did she learn to manager her anger, but she became able to approach life more courageously. Tanya identified an area from her past in which she exercised strength in leaving an abusive partner. She utilized that memory as self-talk to continuously remind herself that if she can leave a dangerous situation, she can accomplish anything. During the course of six weeks of education skill building workshops, Tanya began rebuilding broken relationships with her ex-partner (kids’ father) and others she mistreated while struggling with alcoholism. Tanya stated she would no longer allow her past to get in the way of her future.
At follow up, Tanya states that she plans to continue her education and attain a nursing certification. She states that she was her worst enemy but, “when I able was resolve my hidden issues, I was able to clearly see my needs and how to meet them to a much greater degree. As a result, I see all my relationships improving.”
David is a 44-year-old African American male who was referred to the program by Williamsburg County Vocational Rehabilitation. David moved to Kingstree SC with family after serving a 4 ½ year prison sentence. As David reentered society, he applied for a job at Dollar General where he was turned down because of his criminal background. David enrolled for services at the Vocational Rehabilitation Center where he was introduced to PDHS HMRE.
David states, “Before taking the HMRE class I was kind of skeptical because I felt that I knew everything about being in relationship. Since taking the class, I realize that my method of communicating in a relationship was all wrong. I feel that everyone should take the HMRE class because it makes you look at being in a relationship in a different way. The skills I learned being in the HMRE program gave me a new look on life and what I need to do in order to succeed in life”.
While attending the Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education class, David learned concepts such as stepping up or deciding to take action to reach his goals. As a result, he created action steps to achieve the vision he had for his life. David worked hard and was promoted to the janitorial program with the Vocational Rehabilitation Center making $8 dollars and hour; he stayed there for 3 months until a better opportunity came along. He then started working at the Williamsburg Meat Packing Company making $9 dollars an hour and moving up to $11 dollars an hour; David remained there for 2 ½ years until he accepted employment with Kloeckner Metals (Charleston SC) earning $15 dollars hourly.
At follow up, David reported that he recently purchased a 2020 Buick Encore and is planning to start his own pressure washing business part time. He attends St. Peter Baptist Church where he serves as a Trustee, youth coordinator and mentor. He is also a member of the Williamsburg County Brotherhood Association. David has become a contributing member of the community and wants to help others avoid the pitfalls he faced.
Y.L. is a 33-year-old Hispanic female and G.C. is a 34-year-old Hispanic male who were recruited to PDHS HMRE through community outreach.Y.L and G.C. are the parents of three beautiful children. At the time of enrollment, Y.L. had recently experienced the loss of her mother with whom she shared a very close relationship. Y.L. reported suffering severe panic attacks due to her loss and was ready to give up on her ten-year relationship with G.C. as she felt unable to work through their relationship issues.
Y.L. states the techniques learned from the curriculum have changed her relationship for the better. She learned how to identify hidden issues and understands the importance of taking a time out. Y.L. states she never realized how their hidden issues were taking control of the relationship. Y.L. and G.C. found the Speaker Listener Communication Technique very useful and use it currently to manage relationship problems.
Y.L. was so impressed with the PDHS HMRE Case Manager as she found an advocate who could speak her native language and exhibit culturally sensitivity that rapport was established immediately. Y.L. took to heart the statement, “if you need anything, we are here to help” and utilized the one-on-one interventions to address all needs.
The PDHS HMRE Case Manager referred Y.L. to Pee Dee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Assault (PDC) for counseling services. Since the initial referral, the PDC Counselor states that Y.L. has met her goals and she is beyond proud of her.
Y.L. received referrals for dental assistance, to obtain a SLED background check for employment, and to establish a medical home. Y.L. was underemployed on a local farm as an agriculture laborer harvesting tobacco as the number of hours she worked changed weekly. One day, she contacted the case manager and said “I want to get a better job. I want to better myself for my kids”. That same day, the case manager referred Y.L. to SC Works and assisted the participant in completing a resume and mock interviews in office. As a result, Y.L. was hired at a local childcare facility full time. Y.L. and G.C. are so impressed with the level of care and services provided by PDHS HMRE that they maintain contact with the case manager and share every success including the purchase of a 2015 GMC Yukon pictured above.