Hello my name is Brenda Deckman and I love who I am today. I am proud to be part of the staff here at the Homeless Garden Project. It has changed my life completely.
Almost 20 years ago, I left an abusive relationship and lost my son and my home. It was a difficult decision to leave, made when I had no one to turn to. My ex-husband ended up taking it to the extreme and I had no contact with my son for 15 years. Without my son, I didn’t want to do anything. I had no purpose in life.
I was in a really dark place for those 15 years and surrounded myself with toxic people because I didn’t feel worthy. I felt like that’s what I deserved for not being there for my son. All I ever wanted was my son and then one day it happened–I found my son on Facebook! I was able to ask my son to give me a chance so I could get to know him and be a part of his life. And this was the beginning of my Turning Point, because I was so embarrassed when I told my son I was homeless and broke. That was definitely my Breaking Point. It was just not okay anymore to be in a toxic relationship.
My first goal was to get a job so I could help my son if he needed it. I had heard about the Homeless Garden Project and decided to apply. I was so desperate for a change. I volunteered at HGP for a couple of weeks. My first day volunteering I felt like I became part of the farm. It ended up being the most rewarding 2 weeks of my life. Every day I showed up to work I gave 110%. I wanted to be the best I could be because I had purpose now and at the end of my two weeks I was offered an interview.
At the end of my first month at HGP, my hard work was rewarded and I became the very first trainee of the month for the Homeless Garden Project! What an honor. I couldn’t wait to tell my son. That was the first time my son told me he was proud of me. That meant so much to me. The next day I went to work, I worked even harder because I was so thankful for what the farm had already done for me. I set two serious goals for myself. I wanted to have a place to live and a car by Christmas. I met my goals and couldn’t believe it! I didn’t have to be boring Brenda anymore. I was blossoming.
I have finally become the woman I’ve always wanted to be. And for the first time in my 44 years of living, I’m happy being me. The independent, self-supporting woman that I had always dreamed of being. Although it was up to me to decide to do something with myself, I must give my thanks to the Homeless Garden Project for giving me a chance to not only have a job but to show my son I can grow and be someone he can be proud of.
I can’t give enough thanks to the Homeless Garden Project. I had nothing, and now I have two jobs, transportation and a place I call home. Even though I have a long-distance relationship with my son, we are still growing closer together. As long as I can remember, I have always been searching for a place that I belong. No matter where I was, it didn’t feel right, I didn’t belong there. The Homeless Garden Project gave me the feeling that I have been looking for all my life–that I actually belong somewhere.