A Reason To Smile

Two years ago, Denise Ducksbury didn’t have much to smile about. She was pregnant with her second child, she was incarcerated, and she was struggling with addiction. Her future looked bleak, but she was determined to turn it around.

Denise playing with her daughter, Maleia.

After her release and the birth of her daughter, Maleia, Denise moved back and forth between her family and friend’s homes. She finally settled into her best friend’s house and began the hard work of putting her life back together. “My friend had her own addictions and relapsed when I was living with her.  I had stopped using and I didn¹t want to stay in that situation,” Denise said, choking back tears, “I didn’t want to put Maleia through that.”

She turned to Mary Mother of Hope House II, the Ministry’s emergency shelter for homeless women with children. With a stable living situation and the encouragement of her “Hope House II family”, she found a job as a waitress.

“It was the first time in my life that I felt good about myself,” Denise said. “I finally realized that I could do it on my own.” She immediately began saving money to prepare for the future, and after her time was up, she moved into St. Francis Transitional Residence, just down the street from Hope House II.

Since moving into the TR, Denise has slowly gotten back on her feet. For the first time in 10 years, she has her license back, bought a car, maintained a steady schedule and — most importantly — gotten back in touch with her oldest, 12-year-old daughter. “She experienced my addiction. But she now sees how stable I’ve become. She’s starting to trust me again.”

Denise is constantly looking towards to future. She has been saving money in hopes of buying a place of her own – hopefully close to her brother. “I’m nervous about leaving, but excited. Maleia has been my main motivation. I feel complete joy when I¹m with her.”

Denise showing off her new smile.

During her time in the transitional residence, Denise has gotten some much needed dental work done. From years of drug use, her teeth had rotted away. The Ministry’s Pierre Toussaint Dental Office onSpruce Streetgave her a new, beautiful smile. “I’m so grateful for everything the Ministry has done for me. I would recommend it to anyone. Many people believe that 30 days isn’t enough time to recover, but it’s possible if you¹re focused and ready. There’s definite support after those first 30 days.”

Today, when Denise counts her blessings, she has thousands of reason to show off her gorgeous smile – beginning with a second chance at life and her two, beautiful daughters.