Crossing the Bridge
“My biggest dream was to go back to school. I’ve always been a professional performer and wanted to do that as a career, but so many obstacles stood in my way … until Gracewood,” shares Regina. “I tried to go back to school in 2010, but I couldn’t continue because of economic hardship and some family difficulties. But Gracewood helped me get my feet back on solid ground.”
Regina was a hard worker, but her job didn’t pay enough to support both her and her children. Month after month, they faced financial uncertainty. Would they have enough money to pay the bills? Would they be evicted? “I was stuck in this vicious cycle and didn’t know how to get out,” remembers Regina. “I was depressed and had such low self-esteem. I’m so thankful that a friend at church told me about Gracewood.”
Regina and her son, Donovan, moved to Gracewood in 2013. While her daughter lived nearby with her father, Regina was able to focus on growing as a mom and as a daughter of God. During her time in the residential program, Gracewood staff helped Regina develop the routine and structure that her family needed, as well as set goals and identify the steps need to achieve them.
“I learned to take heed to wise counsel, which truly seemed to overflow from everyone at Gracewood – from the counselors to the staff and even the volunteers! For one of the first times in my life, it felt like I experienced the sincere, true love of God through these amazing people. They all worked together to serve moms like me at Gracewood which, in turn, benefited our children and impacted the next generation.”
When Regina completed the program in 2016, she and Donovan moved out on their own, equipped with the confidence and disciplines that she’d learned at Gracewood. With the help of scholarships, Regina was able to work a steady job, provide for her family, and continuing to take classes to earn her degree. She continued to be actively involved in her church and deeply invested in her community, as well as performing at Texas Theater and Encore Theater in Houston. After years of hard work, she graduated with her Bachelor of Arts in May 2018 from Texas Southern University – with honors!
“I’ve known Regina since 2013 and watched her work hard to become the best version of herself. Recently Regina shared something I didn’t know. She mentioned it’s taken her 24 years to reach this goal of earning her college degree. That tenacity and drive marks how special she is. We are humbled to be a part of her story and look forward to seeing all the great things God has planned for Regina and her family,” shares Gracewood President Jenny Rice Cotton.
“I’m so thankful that my kids were able to walk this journey with me because it’s impacted them in a big way. They haven’t just watched. They’ve learned with me and the Lord has allowed me to be their example so they can see what it looks like to work hard and make wise choices,” says Regina. “My dream is to go on Broadway, but I want my kids to dream even bigger than that.”
More than ever before, Regina now knows that God has written a special and unique story for her. “The Lord has been so good to me and used Gracewood to help me see that He never changes. He is the center of it all. He always has been and He always will be!”
“But it’s not just about me. I want to give back and help others experience the love of God like I did,” she says. “For us, Gracewood was a bridge. Now that I’ve crossed that bridge, I’m looking back and it’s time for others to cross. We all get to help and encourage them along their way.”