It’s hard to remember a time when Chawnika and Tristan weren’t a part of the Dream Center. They are family to us and when they aren’t here, something doesn’t feel quite right. Chawnika explains it all started one Sunday afternoon when she came to pick up her son from our kids programming. Chawnika’s mom, Sharon, had been bringing Tristan to church with her. She said Pastor Ryan insisted she come inside and join the Single Mom’s lunch. Chawnika admits despite the fact she didn’t have her hair or makeup done, Ryan was very convincing, so she reluctantly obliged.
From that day forward, she was hooked.
Chawnika says after Tristan was born and while his estranged father was in jail, she felt hopeless and judged by people who didn’t even know or understand her heart. “Sometimes I would break down because the last thing I wanted for my child was for him to grow up fatherless,” describes Chawnika.
Today, Chawnika and Tristan’s lives are full of joy, community, faith, and freedom. “A primary source of strength is that Tristan has found a community of people at the Dream Center who love him unconditionally. I have also found a group of women to walk beside me on this journey and I’m forever thankful. Our Single Mom’s group did not judge me. They have embraced my flaws. I couldn’t ask for a better group to walk this thing called life – a life that has ups and downs. I know I can overcome anything thanks to the power of prayer…my life wouldn’t be as peaceful as it is most of the time if I didn’t have this community of people.”
Chawnika and Tristan are living proof that your support makes a major impact on the lives of our moms and kids. “Tristan is impacted by all of the love he has grown to know and become so familiar… Tristan runs through the doors of the Dream Center and it warms my heart with the thousands of hugs he receives. For Tristan the Dream Center means freedom, the freedom to be playful, active and himself… As his mother, I’m so thankful.”