Member Agency Story
Hope for the Future
Fina* was thirty-eight when she immigrated to the United States from Italy with her husband and two children. In Milan, she had been a stay-at-home mom, but with her youngest daughter getting ready to start first grade, she was excited to rejoin the workforce and start a new life in the United States.
But shortly after moving to Columbus, Fina’s husband became abusive. At the same time, Fina was struggling to learn English and find steady work. She was separated from her family and friends by an ocean, and without a support network outside of her husband, she began to feel isolated and depressed. She had thought that living in a new country would bring her and her husband closer together, but instead, it made things worse. The stress of his new job caused him to drink more heavily, and to take his frustration out on her. The next day, he would seemingly forget about the abuse, but Fina began to worry her children never would. She didn’t want them to grow up with memories of their father hitting their mother, or to think his behavior was normal. So she made the hard decision to leave her marriage – the only thing she knew in an entirely new life.
One day, Fina reached out for help through her church. She was able to get into a shelter with her children, but her husband kept their immigration papers and the car. Without these, Fina struggled to find a job and support her children.
The shelter soon referred her to Catholic Social Services, and with CSS’s help, Fina was able to navigate the immigration system and obtain the necessary legal documentation to remain in the United States. Our team taught Fina to use the bus system in Columbus and helped her find employers who were understanding of the initial language barrier. Fina also received help with budgeting and paying bills, as well as locating childcare and medical providers.
Now Fina is an assistant head chef at a local restaurant. She loves her new job and has been in an apartment with her two girls for over a year. Without Catholic Social Services, Fina would not have found safety and a new sense of self. For the first time in a long time, Fina has hope for the future.
*Names and details have been changed to protect the identity of the client, due to the sensitive nature of this story.