Finally Home: The Geraldine Holmes Story

“I’ll never forget the day I got evicted out of my house because of my drug use – February 6, 1996,” recalls Geraldine Holmes, former resident of Trevor’s Place.”  Geraldine had hit bottom and had nowhere to turn. “Drugs had beat me up so badly I could not care for myself or my kids,” Keith, Kenneth and Queenisha, who were 14, 12 and 7 years of age, respectively.

“I arrived at Trevor’s Place on February 12, confused and scared.”Geraldine’s transition into Trevor’s Place was not an easy one for her or her family.  “Although I did not want to do the things I had to do at Trevor’s including getting up early, going to treatment meetings, doing chores, going to job training classes and attending parenting and lifeskills meetings, I knew it was time to get serious about making a change in my life for myself, but more importantly for my kids.”

“The staff at Trevor’s hung in there with me and did not allow me to make excuses.  The other mothers were also very supportive and never let me give up.”  “I did not want my kids to grow up and have the same problems I had.  I want them to be safe and want them to be whatever they want.”

“I liked Trevor’s Place,” remembers Keith, now 17.  “I was angry at first to have to live in a shelter, but I found a lot of kids I liked and eventually it began to feel like home.”  Geraldine and her children stayed at Trevor’s Place for 18 months.  In addition to counseling and drug rehab, Geraldine learned the basics about being a good parent like keeping her children on the right educational track.  She also learned how to maintain a job and household – scheduling, organizing, budgeting and providing a proper diet for her family.  She also saved enough to rent a home.

“There are times when I wish I was back at Trevor’s,” recalls Geraldine.  “I knew there I would always receive the push I need to keep on track.  There is a lot of freedom being on your own which is not always  good.  I fight to stay clean every day.

“However, I have not picked up a drug since I stopped using on February 7, 1996.  I will stay healthy for my kids.  They are good kids, and I make sure they do not end up in trouble like many of the kids that live around us.”

Geraldine’s story continues today.  Determined to always remain employed, she works part-time at Trevor’s Place as a Residential Counselor where she returns some of the care and support she received during her stay.  She also works full-time at the Philadelphia Art Museum thanks to the skills she learned and support she received at Trevor’s Place.

“My children will have a better life than I did,” she says. They are well on their way.  Keith will be  entering the Army once he graduates high school this year and her two younger children, who are now 15 and 13, are doing well in school and are very active in extra-curricular activities, including track.

Homeless children are often a forgotten population, many doomed to repeat the cycle of despair into which they are born.  However, Trevor’s Place offers children like Keith, Kenneth and Queenisha the warmth and security of a home, as well as the stability and hope they need to do well in school, to stay away from drugs and violence and to strive for a successful future.