This is the first time that I’ve ever been in a Shelter. At first I must say that I was extremely afraid and nervous, but the staff and residents here have made this experience for me much easier. I’m thankful for this place and everyone here. I thank God everyday that I have a safe place to live.

I’ve been at the Shelter now for five days and four nights! So far, the employees have been AWESOME! They have given me all the right steps to get a job and help me with my paperwork to find a place to live. Everyone here is very respectful and helpful. I don’t know what I would have done without this place!

My wife and I, son and daughter were living in Connecticut where I was working and lost my job due to slow business. My wife’s child support stopped for about 3 months and with no funds coming in, we were facing eviction from our apartment. My wife had a friend in Portland, Maine who said she could help us get established. We left and headed to Portland only to find out that my wife’s friend couldn’t help us after all and Portland is not a great place to stay in a Shelter with two small children. We decided to seek shelter elsewhere and found Sister Mary O’Donnell Shelter and headed here. While staying here in the Shelter, we got tons of help with food, shelter, healthcare, and even with a Section 8 voucher. Right before we were about to get established with our own apartment in this area, my other Mother contacted me and invited me and my family to come and live with her in another state. Of course I said yes, making room in the Shelter and another housing voucher for someone who really needed it. Thank you all at Sister Mary O’Donnell.

I came to the Sister Mary O’Donnell Shelter on June 22, 2011 and was welcomed with open arms. The Shelter staff have been wonderful to me and accommodated me in all my needs. Continuing to stay at the Shelter with the support of the staff has been a wonderful experience. Job searching was a little rough but in the end it all paid off. I got a job and now got an apartment. I will be moving out in a few days and I will miss the staff members here. I thank them all for the support and caring and the little things. This place helped me when I was in need and I always know that if I need the Shelter again, this will be my option. I would recommend the Shelter to anyone who is in need and is willing to work for things in their life. Thank you so much for your support.

Before I came to the Shelter, I was staying drunk daily. I was sleeping in a tent in the winter time. I would get drunk and pass out in the tent and not care if I woke up or not. I didn’t trust anyone. I didn’t care about anyone. All I cared about was getting drunk and I didn’t care who I hurt to do it. Because of my drinking, I was put on probation for 2 years and possibly 2 years in jail for felony assault. I didn’t know how to live my life sober and I would never share my feelings with anyone. I never got close to anyone. Because of my drinking, I lost custody of 2 of my children, who my Mother adopted, and another lives with my half-sister. My family lost trust in me. I didn’t care about my appearance and went without personal hygiene items so I could buy alcohol instead.

When I came to the Shelter, I was scared at first because I felt stuck in a place where I didn’t know anyone and I didn’t know my way around Presque Isle. The only identification I had was my birth certificate. I couldn’t get food stamps due to not enough forms of ID. I didn’t know what to do with myself while I was sober. I would try to come up with excuses to not leave the Shelter to do job and housing searches and when I did leave, I would hurry back as quickly as possible. I got bad vibes about people in my stomach and I wouldn’t listen to them.

While I’ve been at the Shelter, I’ve gotten more forms of ID and I get food stamps now. I’ve learned my way around Presque Isle. I received my income tax return and I paid off all my fines that I owed in full. I haven’t missed a single week of doing job and housing searches and I’ve started caring about my appearance. I bought make-up and I use it daily. I keep my hair dyed black. Before, I didn’t know how to get into a daily routine but now I do. I’ve started a new relationship with my sister who lives in Presque Isle. I now care about people and I’ve made some really good friends and have formed bonds with some of them. I watch their back and they watch mine. Now, I can be there when they need me and I can ask them for help. I trust some of them and can tell them anything. I feel really good about myself now. I’ve learned how to have fun while being sober. I get out of the Shelter more and go to the library and use their computers or hang out in the mall. I’ve bought things I’ve needed instead of buying alcohol. I listen to my vibes now.

I plan to stay in touch with the friends I’ve made at the Shelter. I finally look forward to waking up the next day. I’m always willing to help Shelter staff with tasks around the building and I’m thinking about how I feel more often. I think things through before doing anything and I always ask Shelter staff for their advice to consider before making a decision. My goals in life are to stay sober and to have fun while doing it. I want to return to Houlton, get my own apartment, and get my son back living with me. I want to find healthy people in the area to form close relationships with. I would also like to be able to work with the elderly again. I would like to have a restored relationship with my family again.

Notes to the Staff

  • Dear Steve,

The Shelter has been a great place for me to learn new things. Being here was not at all what I expected. I enjoyed all the staff members and the support. Now I’m going to be moving on and I will miss you all. Thank you for accepting me into the Shelter for my stay.
p.s. If I should ever need the Shelter again, I know it’s a wonderful and caring place. This is where I will come. Thank you.

  • Dear Staff,

I want to tell you I am so very thankful for all of your services and for giving me this chance to better myself and grow in your Shelter. These past few months have been amazing. The love, care, and concern that you share towards everyone here is priceless and so genuine. I have so much love and respect for everyone here at the Shelter. I came here scared, hopeless, and lost. I’m leaving full of hope, lots of direction, and a confidence level that is through the roof! Thank you all so much for all you have done and continue to do. God bless and take care.

All my love and many, many thanks,