Tia was a city girl, born and raised in New York City. She didn’t get along with mom and her situation basically was going to end up with either Tia running away or getting kicked out. So she took her own initiative when she legally became an adult at the age of 18.
“It just wasn’t working between me and my mom,” she said. “I made a decision to buy a ticket and come to Texas. I had never been here but I had heard that it was a good place to start a new life. So I decided to take a chance and check it out.”
Once in North Texas, Tia looked for places to help her while she worked towards getting on her feet. She talked with the Salvation Army, who suggested checking out Promise House or City House. After doing some research, Tia decided to try City House first.
“I liked what I saw from the first day I walked in,” she said. “I filled out an application and was placed in the girls’ home in Plano the next week.”
The first thing that stood out to Tia – freedom and independence to learn for yourself.
“It was very normal for me to be around new people because that’s how I grew up. The thing I liked about the program was the space I was given and the freedom to act like an adult. I felt independent yet there were people around me to give advice and encourage me. I learned how to be an adult and to work through things.
“Another big thing at City House was that people would listen to me. That’s a big deal. There are a special few who still work here that really did it for me. I still enjoy talking to them.”
Tia realizes that programs like City House aren’t for everyone, but she is grateful for what it did for her.
“There are pros and cons to every program out there, and all are trying to help. No matter what good and bad things have happened in my life, I honestly wouldn’t be where I am now without City House. It means a lot to me. Sometimes I wonder where I would be right now if I hadn’t found it.”
Now on her own from City House for about two years, Tia stays in touch with several members of the City House staff, coming by and visiting from time to time. She works as a data entry representative for TransGlobal in Grand Prairie.
“I enjoy it; it keeps me on my feet,” she said. “I have my own apartment and I just learned how to drive. Growing up in New York, you don’t really need a car. I still use the buses and trains here but I’ve enjoyed learning how to drive.
“I have friends who are still struggling and I tell them to go to City House because you have your own space there and they will help you figure it out.”
Tia says she talks with her mom every day. She calls it a “stay away and love me” relationship, meaning they simply get along better being far apart. Tia finds time to visit her family in New York about three times a year, but she’s excited about the life she is building for herself here in Texas.
“I want to be a cosmetologist,” she said. “I’m ok with where I am at right now. Next year I want to go to school for introduction into business and then go to school for cosmetology. I’m just happy for myself. I’ve accomplished a lot. I still think about what am I going to do and dream about the future. I’m young and I have a lot I want to explore and accomplish.
“I’m glad I came to City House. It helped me get to where I am at.”