Former single, homeless mom helps other families in crisis
A Chattanooga woman is improving the lives of others through her own experience of being homeless.
The once single mom is part of a ministry at Bethel Bible Village that helps families in crisis.
She’s devoted her career to making a difference in the lives of others.
In 1990, she found herself in a situation that she never imagined.
“I found myself single again with my child with no job, no car and no home. I was college educated at the time, and you just don’t ever visualize yourself being in that predicament,” Grant told Channel 3.
Grant moved in with family and updated her resume.
She gave away many of her belongings but decided to keep her African Violet.
“There were no leaves, no flowers; they were all dead, and it was just a stick. I couldn’t bear to get rid of it because I'd already gotten rid of many of my things, and I just couldn't part with it, so I kept watering it,” Grant explained.
Grant began to rebuild her life. She got a job with the state as a foster care worker and later, a master’s degree in social work.
“As the pieces of my life pulled back together, the violet actually sprouted new leaves and new flowers. Over the years while I was a single mom, the violet and me and my child traveled several different places but it was always there. Just as my life had come back together, so did the violet,” Grant said.
While that was many years ago, the experience now helps Grant relate to other families in crisis. She leads a program called Next Step at Bethel Bible Village. It provides transitional housing for homeless families. Grant encourages them in their journey, offering guidance, support and friendship.
“There have been many times and many circumstances where I have been sympathetic to somebody and wanted to say I know what you're going through, but I really didn't because I had not walked in their shoes, but Susan has,” Cecil Hammontree, with Bethel Bible Village, said.
Through her own personal story, Grant is able to show families that a difficult season of life doesn’t last forever.
“You can come up out of it, but no, it's not pleasant. I was one of the people who got a food box, and I did experience these things,” Grant said.
She said her story came full circle several years later when she remarried. “I picked my violet up and we moved over to the new husband's house and it completely, literally died. In my mind, it was just a symbol of God's restoration for me and that it was complete from everything I had lost,” Grant explained.
To qualify for the Next Step program, parents must have their own transportation, be enrolled in school working toward a degree or have a job. You must also show that you have a plan to step away from Bethel’s transitional housing in approximately nine months.