[ezcol_1quarter]Judy Thibodeaux_small “Union Station has given us the tools to do anything but fail.”[/ezcol_1quarter]

[ezcol_3quarter_end]Judy feels blessed to be the mother of three amazing sons and to have a sister who is more than family, but her best friend.  Judy and her sister lived together since moving to California from Louisiana about 18 years ago when Judy was escaping from a domestic violent relationship. Eventually, her then-husband followed Judy and her boys to California, wanting to begin a new life and keep the family together.  But Judy soon discovered that it was the same story, different part of the country.

In 2006 Judy decided once and for all not to subject her boys or her sister to a lifestyle that repeatedly brought them pain and suffering. Although Judy knew her large family back in Louisiana would take them in, she also knew the issues were deeper than just changing location. Judy needed to escape, but the question was, how and to where?

Judy found Union Station, and with the help of Passageways, then Union Station’s intake center, she discovered that she and her sons could be placed into a shelter for families. Although it was hard for them to be a part, Judy’s sister made the decision to live with a family member in order to give Judy a chance to start over.

“Being accepted at Union Station was the beginning of our healing.” Judy remembers. “We were given every tool imaginable to help us rebuild our lives.” Union Station provided Judy with more than food and temporary shelter, but also different programs that helped her rebuild her life and become self-sufficient, such as group counseling, money management, and parenting classes.

“From the moment we walked through Union Station doors we were treated with respect and dignity.” Judy says. At the Family Center, Judy recalls how she and her sons felt nurtured and protected, and how there was not a single need that was not met by Union Station. With daily lunches for school and work, bus passes to assure they could always get there, and even assistance from the staff in finding school uniforms from donated clothing, no need was missed or ignored.

“The biggest blessing would be when we finally walked out of those doors; I knew we would have the tools to make it out in the world again.”

Nine years later, Judy graduated with a Master’s Degree in Human Development and hopes to work with domestic violence survivors or those in transition. Judy’s family continues thrive.  Her oldest son graduated with a PreMed degree and is applying to Med school. Her middle son is in college and hopes to pursue his PhD soon. And her youngest received a culinary scholarship and is interning at Universal Studios. All of them are very active in their church and community, and Judy even volunteers two days a week at our Adult Center.

“Our family continues to be grateful, thankful and hopeful for an even better future ahead.  Union Station has given us the tools to do anything but fail.”[/ezcol_3quarter_end]

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