Karen Prescott likes to reflect while sitting on her front porch, amid colorful flowerbeds and garden sculptures with inspiring messages. “I’m a nature person.” In her window sill sit three decorative frogs named Hope, Dream and Love. A small pastel flag with a smiley face and peace sign welcomes guests at the foot of green shrubbery. The flag reads “It’s All Good.”
Of course, it wasn’t always this good.
“I sit here and think about how thankful I am to be where I am today,” said Karen, who is living in a quaint three-bedroom apartment in Pendleton. This scene is a far cry from where she came from just a few months ago. The 53-year-old widow has had her share of ups and downs since suffering from a stroke years ago. The stroke left her with limited mobility on her right side. She eventually lost her apartment and found herself homeless. Although she previously lay in a hospital bed on life support for several weeks, hope was not lost.
“The doctors did not pronounce me dead because there was still brain activity,” she said. When Karen got out of the hospital, she stayed with relatives temporarily. Last year, she moved into a shelter in Anderson and stayed there for about a month.
Then a friend took her to Miracle Hill’s Spartanburg Rescue Mission. “I stayed there through Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day and Valentine’s Day,” she said. All the while, she couldn’t help but wonder how she got to this point in her life. “I needed to be on my own two feet, having my own place.” Initially, she was bitter and depressed about her situation, but in the end she became genuinely grateful. Karen believes her trials actually changed her outlook on life. “It ultimately made me a stronger person.Without God, I would not be here.”
While staying at Miracle Hill, Karen was able to start her journey toward a better life. She participated in a program called “Holistic Hardware: Tools that Build Lives”. Through the program, she updated her home management skills, gaining insight on budgeting and living a healthier lifestyle. Afterwards, she received a certification of completion. When spring rolled around, things were looking a little brighter. Karen is on disability and was finally able to get into an apartment with the help of her niece. Just like the next person, she isn’t sure what the future holds but is content for now with taking one day at a time.
Karen said at the shelter she was also exposed to people from all walks of life, making her realize that homelessness can happen to anyone at any time. “I do believe there are a lot of people in this world that don’t realize that and how much good a place like Miracle Hill does for people that are in need.” She still struggles with finances and her health but is quick to express her gratitude for how far she has come and the hope she now has.