“Gracehaven Saved My Life”

July 3, 2023


Hannah Swift
Supervising Case Manager, Northern Ohio Region

Gracehaven recently attended an event where survivors were invited to share their stories. A young woman named “Anne” spoke about life as a young girl in the inner city, her family’s poverty, her mom’s addiction, her dad’s abandonment and about the trafficker who stepped in to meet the needs her family could not. Anne was just 12 years old at the time. The trafficker kept Anne trapped in a cycle of affection and abuse until finally the authorities stepped in and placed her into Gracehaven’s group home.

Anne’s time at the group home was not easy. Without the proper tools to cope with her extensive trauma, Anne struggled with anger. She lashed out at staff, got into fights with residents and ran away whenever things didn’t go her way. But the Gracehaven staff patiently and persistently showed her the unrelenting love of Christ. They taught her new ways to manage her anger and to process her trauma. Over time, and with lots of ups and downs along the way, Anne got better and eventually was able to graduate from Gracehaven’s group home.

Anne is an adult now. She is living independently. She has a job and has maintained her sobriety. She is working on a college education. She’s honest about the struggle to stay on track in a world that constantly tries to pull her back in, but she continues to do the hard work of healing. She hopes that one day she’ll be able to help others in similar situations. “I’m still trying to get it all together, but I’m still here and I wouldn’t be here without the help of so many others,” Anne said. “Gracehaven saved my life.”

On the night of this event, Anne got to reunite with her Gracehaven case manager. Both cried as they reflected on her journey and how far she’s come. “She looked healthier and happier than I had ever seen her,” said her case manager. “Anne got better. It was never linear, but she really did. There are days when this work can feel endless and pointless. But it isn’t. Every time you move toward a child and meet their brokenness with love, it chips away the hurt. It is a representation of God’s love that many of them have never known. It is the thing that heals.”