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Our Stories
Valley Restart Shelter, Inc. would like to express our deepest gratitude to each individual that allowed us to take their pictures and tell their stories






S. came into Valley Restart after completing a year-long substance abuse program and having nowhere to go. Her children had been taken away by Child Protective Services (CPS). At the shelter she found the emotional support she needed to deal with all the daily AA meetings, classes, and court dates that CPS required for her in order to get her children back. During her stay, she and her fiancée were able to celebrate both their wedding and reception at Valley Restart. Currently she lives in a two-bedroom apartment surrounded by her husband and children whom she loves dearly.






R. worked as a live-in caregiver until the gentleman she was caring for passed away, which left her without a job and homeless. Never having any dental insurance, she came to Valley Restart with a mouth full of chipped and discolored teeth. This caused her to rarely smile and was a clear deterrent to new employment. During her stay, a local dentist, Dr. Robert Straubinger, donated his service. Now she smiles frequently, and her self-esteem has increased. She moved into a transitional housing situation before reconciling with her estranged family. That reunion was one all of us were hoping for!




F. was born in Lagos, Nigeria and immigrated to the United States in 1984. In 2007, he was falsely arrested by the INS. Although all charges against him were dismissed, his imprisonment caused him to lose his job, apartment, and most importantly, three teenage children. In his own words, "Valley Restart Shelter uplifted me when I had lost all hope. With the help of the shelter's executive director and case managers, I have managed to get back on my feet and have felt the sense of hopelessness turn into a bright new beginning." F. found full-time employment and moved out of the shelter into a three-bedroom apartment with his children.






T. literally walked into the shelter in tears. A drug problem coupled with bad-decision making led to her children's grandparents having to step in to raise them. Broken-hearted and desperate to change her life, T. stepped up to the plate and began making the necessary changes to restart her life. After she left the program, she continued to volunteer in the office. She went back to school, found a job, bought a car, and now lives in her own three bedroom apartment with her two beautiful daughters who were returned to her custody. T. is still giving back; she currently rents a room to a former participant of Valley Restart who isn't able to afford her own apartment.






R. was trying to support her teenage daughter on a retirement check that she received from being a teacher. However, not being able to make ends meet, R. came to Valley Restart. She studied to take her CBEST test and passed; she became a substitute teacher in several local school districts. She saved her money, found independent housing for her and her daughter, and worked on finishing her Masters' Degree.




W. was living in his truck with his 18 year old son. The son, a student at MSJC, was a starter on the baseball team. Father and son stayed in the single men's dorm and with the help of the MSJC baseball coach, Steve Alonzo, and the Valley Restart staff, were able to find jobs and save their money to move into an apartment. Valley Restart was also able to sell them a donated car at a very reasonable price. Every time he runs into a Valley Restart staff member he says, "Tell Miss Linda, I said, Thank you!"




D. came to Valley Restart after completing a six-month substance abuse program at LaVista Recovery. Her husband joined her at Valley Restart after completing the Salvation Army program and procuring a job there. Their six children were living with two different foster families at the time they were admitted. Valley Restart allowed them to have weekend visits with their children, which is a process that Child Protective Services mandates before parents can regain custody of their children. D. and her husband were reunited with their children, saved their money, rented an apartment, and purchased a family car.






P. is in his seventies and is a spit-fire of a man. He came to Valley Restart in search of his family, whom he had lost contact with while living in Florida. Initially, the staff helped him call everyone in the phonebook with his last name to no avail. Staff helped him to get his heart medicine transferred to a local pharmacy, and get his SSI transferred to California. While living at the shelter, P. worked very hard everyday, which was his way of repaying the shelter for allowing him to stay here. Each afternoon he would take a bike ride looking for his relatives. One day he came back with a big smile on his face. He had found his family! He moved out that day, and all 23 family members rejoiced in finding their lost father, grandfather, and uncle! However, he continued to come to Valley Restart every day to volunteer. Funded by a senior citizen training program, P. worked at the shelter 20 hours a week. When that program funding expired, P. continued to volunteer 4-5 hours a day, 6 days a week.






B. and her husband T. had only been married two weeks when he suffered his first heart attack. He stayed home to recuperate; she continued to work. Several months later he suffered a second heart attack, which almost killed him. B. quit her job to stay home and care for her husband. Within a short two-year period they lost what they had worked for their whole lives, including their house. B. and T. came to Valley Restart and weren't able to get in because it was full. Several members of their church were able to help them out for a time. B. found a new job and before her first day of work her husband suffered his third massive heart attack. B. with much sadness gave her two cats up to Ramona Animal Shelter and came into the shelter. She awaited her husband's release from the hospital, continued working, and moved into their own place.






C. was an insurance broker at a major insurance company when he and his wife decided to open their own office. Things didn't go well, and they decided to close the business. In the aftermath, they lost their house. He became a bus driver, and she went into real estate. Renting a nice condominium, they did well, but never saved for a rainy day. When the economy turned, they found themselves evicted from their condo. The next move was into a small house with their brother's family. Conditions were way too crowded, and they were asked to leave. C. found a job as a RTA bus driver, intent on saving money to get his family back on their feet. His wife studied or her insurance license exam. They moved out into their own apartment with their children within 90 days!



Restart... A Division of Valley Restart Shelter, Inc.
P.O. Box 1715, Hemet, CA 92546 / (951) 766-7476 /

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