Mary grew up in Chicago, always feeling like a bit of an outsider, even in her own family. Her stepfather didn't care for her much and her mother did little to defend her. Feeling unwelcome, Mary left home on a few occasions.
After giving birth to Mason, now three years old, she realized Chicago was not the place to raise her child. Mason's father was an active gang member and threatened to take Mason from Mary on more than one occasion.
Mary felt moving away might be her only chance at a providing a normal life for Mason, so she moved to Omaha to stay with a friend. Unfortunately, Mary soon found herself back on the street.
"It is really sad having a kid and not having a place to go," says Mary, holding back tears. "We had to leave the house in the middle of the night and it was really cold. Me and my baby had to stay the night in a car. It's really sad that people go through that."
Things changed once Mary was referred to YES' Maternity Home. She and Mason had a safe place to live, and the support and resources she needed to get back on her feet.
"I don't know what I would have done without the staff here," says Mary. "They are my friends. They help me so much."
Mary says she doesn't know where she would be if she hadn't been referred to YES. In the six months Mary resided at the Maternity Home, she worked two jobs and was able to start building a future for herself and Mason. Mary regularly volunteers at the YES Drop-In Center and hopes to work for YES someday.