Stories that Inspire.
Victories to Celebrate.
Veronica has felt wounds open and heal at Lighthouse
Veronica was born in Mexico, but was brought to the United States when she was 8 months old. She was raised in Los Angeles until she was 11, when her family moved to Thousand Oaks. She grew up with two younger brothers and parents who were “hard working, striving to give us a better life than they had,” Veronica said. “I didn’t appreciate that as much as I should have.”
Veronica was a rebellious kid and experimented with drugs and alcohol in her later high school years. She got into trouble with the law when she went to college. “I was with a boyfriend who I knew was no good for me,” she said. “I knew I wanted a future that was good, and that wasn’t the path with this guy. I got a diversion program and completed it, and I moved forward with my life.”
Veronica married her brother’s best friend, and they worked at a furniture company together where she saw success in sales. “We built each other up,” she said. “We edified one another. He always knew I could do anything. My dad had been that person for me. That has a big impact, losing that.”
In 2010, Veronica and her husband divorced. She was laid off and lost her home. And then her father died. “After the divorce and my dad, the two men who really supported me in anything I did, not having that was shocking,” Veronica said. “I experienced a lot of loss in a couple years. I was in my mid- to late-30s. I fended for myself. My parents raised me to know money is not always there, to save just in case, and I had that to fall back on.”
Veronica said it was hard to keep her head up. And she started going out a bit. “I started having some fun, and the liberty I took with that was too much,” she said.
A casual relationship resulted in the birth of Veronica’s daughter, now 4. “I ended up being in a bad situation with this guy,” she said. “I wasn’t providing a good environment for my daughter. It wasn’t a solid family home. There was some emotional abuse, drug use, police activity. Social services got involved and my child was removed. Luckily she was placed with my brother and my mom.
“I probably wouldn’t have been brave enough to leave without social services. I had felt paralyzed. I felt like I was unable to leave without a job, with a child, not being proud of where I was at that point in my life. But when they took my daughter, I was done. I didn’t want that for her.”
Veronica and her daughter got to the Lighthouse in August. “She has thrived with all the other children here,” she said. “It’s an extended family. We all support one another. It’s such a fulfilling experience with God being the center, the focus of my life here. I wouldn’t have had that anywhere else. It’s nine months of getting to know him. Now I look forward to being a part of a church. My mom and dad always made sure God was my God. There is no one before him.
“Being here, I’ve discovered how much of a background in the Gospel I had. My parents raised me in scripture. It wasn’t an accident that I came here. It’s not a coincidence. It was so I could get to know God.”
Veronica said the staff has been amazing during her stay. “The way they minister to us, support us—we are a sisterhood. The other clients too—we care for and love one another. There is love, support and understanding here. They’ve all been very, very good to me. They’re always letting me know, ‘God’s got this. It’s going to be OK.’
“I’ve only been able to get through this with the constant support and trust I have in God. I know everything will be alright because of his will. His love is grand and faithful. I really do lean on that instead of myself.”
Veronica remembers reading about the Lighthouse program before she arrived back in August. “When I was researching places, what really stood out to me was that it was called the ‘Life Recovery Program,’” Veronica said. “The program focuses on every avenue. It’s not just drugs or other problems. It’s a ‘life recovery.’ I found that welcoming. It’s been very healing here. It’s opened wounds, and then helped them heal.”
Stay connected with the good work the Mission is doing, and learn more about the people we help.