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Boston City Councilor Providing Hope to Families

Boston City Councilor Providing Hope to Families

(April 2014) – Shemika H. and Boston City Councilor Matt O’Malley of Jamaica Plain may come from different backgrounds, but this spring they are both taking steps to reach their goals. And while they may never meet, they are supporting each other on this journey.

Shemika carries the scars of a young life filled with struggle and pain. She’s trying to move on and forgive, but her past is clouded even though her future seems clear.

From the age of 2 until she left at 19 years old, Shemika lived the life of a foster child and the older she became the more heartbreaking truths she discovered about her life and her family. Now older with two children of her own, she needed employment so she can support her family. Shemika became involved with Project Hope through the adult education classes in 2012. Here, she hoped to earn her GED so that she could move on to college to prepare for her dream of becoming a children’s services worker.

She attributes some of her personal growth to Project Hope. “I don’t want to say I was a shy person, but in crowds of people, I didn’t like to be pinpointed, but now I speak out and don’t mind sharing my story and what I’ve been through. I owe that to Project Hope because being here has helped me see a lot of the stuff I was going through and then fix it.”

Project Hope and her children have been positive influences in her life, and she says she’s able to push forward with the help of her children. Shemika and her two children lived in a shelter in 2011, and she says her proudest moment occurred when she and her children left the shelter and moved into their own apartment.

This year Councilor Matt O’Malley of Jamaica Plain will line up in Hopkinton to run the 118th Boston Marathon on April 21st as part of Project Hope’s Marathon. The 2014 Project Hope Marathon Team is 52 runners strong from all over the country, and even includes two runners from Ireland. The Project Hope team has run and raised an impressive amount of miles and dollars to date. They have their sights on exceeding the team’s goal of $250,000 by Marathon Monday. Every dollar they raise provides vital resources for Project Hope programs which change the lives of young women like Shemika.

Shemika has many plans for her future starting with healing. From there she sees an education, and foremost, a career, and she is confident that home ownership will come later in life. What does hope mean for Shemika? “I think about better things are going to come. There are better days, and there are better things going to come.” Councilor O’Malley agrees and is committed to supporting Shemika and all of the women like her at Project Hope.

To support the Project Hope Marathon Team and women like Shemika, visit http://www.crowdrise.com/ProjectHope2014BostonMarathon/fundraiser/prohope.

For more information about Project Hope, please visit www.prohope.org

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