Amy’s Story: Where Would I Be If It Wasn’t For Rainbow Village?
My name is Amy and Rainbow Village gave me a new life. I can still recall it in my mind as if it was yesterday. I remember going before the panel to describe why my family should be selected for the last unit available in Rainbow Village. I was living with my ex-husband in a very nice home in Peachtree Corners. We had divorced 2 months prior. Knowing that I had no other place to go, he used that to his advantage and agreed to have us live in the same home. Staying there, I was subject to all sources of abuse. When he crossed the line and forced himself upon me, I knew I had to leave. I had idea where I would go or where to turn- except to God. I started praying and asked God to show me the way. I called the Gwinnett County Helpline and explained my situation. They told me about Rainbow Village and I was given a contact number. I had never heard of transitional housing before and did not know what I was getting into. I completed an application and was given the opportunity to go before the board to be considered.
On June 18 1996, there I stood, in front of the panel, with tears streaming down my face, filled with pain, rejection, and fear, holding my baby boy in my arms. I answered all of their questions. Not knowing If I would be accepted or not. I went back home and start packing. He got angry, asking me where I planned to go? Had I landed another guy who would take me in with a baby? Not caring that “the baby” was his own son, his own flesh and blood. After two long weeks, I learned that my family was chosen to join Rainbow Village. While I was very happy for us, I felt bad for the other families that were not chosen. It was then that I promised myself I would work quickly to get on my feet to give someone else a chance soon.
We were given a very small cozy cottage home to live in, complete with everything including a phone. At Rainbow Village, I made new friends. I met people who truly loved me, and did not want anything back in return, I learned how to budget, save, and to take care of my household of 3 boys, ages 15, 9,and 10 months at the time.
In January of 1997 I moved into my own townhouse after 5 1/2 months of living at Rainbow Village. Rainbow Village’s program set me up to succeed. I landed a great job with an advertising company and was able to build some savings. I left Rainbow Village feeling secure and in control of my life.
Once I got settled into my new townhouse, my ex-husband found out where I was living, I became so intimidated by him that I agreed to start dating him again. It was the worst thing that could have happened. The cycle of destruction began all over again. This time he became even more physically abusive to me and I had him sent to jail.. Rainbow Village stuck by me, helped me retain an attorney, and arranged for counseling that helped me address my issues with co-dependency. My ex continued to stalk me and tried to control me. But thanks to what I learned at Rainbow Village I was strong and didn’t fall back into that trap again. I got myself back on track and kept my focus back on what was good for me and my boys.
Within 1 year I rented a house and joined a church. My oldest son graduated from high school and went on to graduate from Mercer University with majors in Biology, Chemistry and Spanish. He is currently utilizing them all working at a company nearby our home. When he graduation he was asked what was he going to do now. He said, “Move back home, work, and help my mom to raise my brothers… She needs all the help she can get.” One day I hope he will continue to pursue his dream of being a doctor.
Today we are all doing quite well. I am an office manager for a company in Atlanta. My children are healthy, happy and thriving. With the faith I have, and with God on my side, we will continue to do well. I will forever be grateful to Rainbow Village and to Nancy Yancey for the new life you gave me. I love you guys!
My advice for those who may walk in the same shoes I did …
When you are given an opportunity to start over, make the best of it.
Put God and your children first.
You can live without a man, but living without God or my three boys would have been impossible. I have no regrets about my life… I am happy I had the guts to leave. Rainbow Village was there to support me and they stuck by my side until I had wings to fly on my own. We need more Rainbow Villages because there are a lot of other women with children who are in those shoes I once wore. God is good…and I am grateful.