In Spring 2014, she relocated to Omaha with Dianna and her family, initially sleeping on the couch in her sister’s apartment and sharing a small, cramped space with other family.
Looking to forge her own path but with very limited resources and options, Theresa attended Project Homeless Connect on the Creighton University campus in March 2014.
There, she connected with Omaha Home for Boys staff and learned about Jacobs’ Place Transitional Living. A week later, she was living independently at Jacobs’ Place — and a new world of opportunities began to open up before her.
“I honestly never saw myself as having a job or going to school or anything until coming to Jacobs’ Place,” Theresa said. “I grew up with a strong lack of self-confidence, but I’m learning here that my life has worth and value. I’m getting there.”
Growing up, Theresa witnessed her fair share of physical and emotional abuse, as her father took out his anger and frustrations on her mom and sister. They made every effort to shield her, but that close proximity had an indelible impact upon her self-image.
She withdrew and became incredibly introspective, living in her own world while shutting the real one around her out as often as she could. And while she’s still working her way through it all (she sees a therapist), those experiences are driving her to pursue a degree in child psychology so she can pay it forward and help other youngsters in need.
She started classes in late August at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
“I’ve learned a lot about myself during my time at Jacobs’ Place,” said Theresa, who works full-time doing inventory at various local businesses for RGIS and will continue to work there while attending college because of its flexible schedule. “The poem I Am Somebody reminds me that I am here and not just somebody pushing through life. I am somebody that matters, and I feel that every day from everyone at Jacobs’ Place.”
Theresa said she chose psychology as her future career largely because of her own experiences growing up. She never had that “person” she could talk to about whatever troubles or questions she might have. She said she wants to be that sounding board for kids like her so they have someone they can trust to discuss their own problems and feelings.
“I’ve always wanted to work with children in some capacity, so I’m really looking forward to my classes at UNO,” said Theresa, who is originally from the Detroit, Mich., area but relocated to Georgia years ago for her father’s job. “I never had that escape opportunity when I was younger, and now I am excited that I can be that someone for someone else.
“I still suffer from depression and anxiety and take medication for both, but talking with my therapist about the past and future is really what gives me a lot of hope as I move forward with my life.”