“I am a loving person,” shares Joann, a former HomeFront resident and current ArtSpace artist. Life experiences honed this self-descriptive statement. “I’ve been judged, and I know it’s not nice to feel judged,” she continues.
Beneath her reserved temperament, Joann is a warm-hearted woman with a zest for life. She grew up as a single mother of three children. Now a grandmother of four, she defines ‘home’ as any place where one’s family surrounds. “It could be anywhere as long as you’re together,” she explains. At forty-five Joann went back to school to get her nursing degree. She is currently working to pass the exam to become a registered nurse. Joann also carries the gift of song. “I sing wherever I can…I sing at church; I play the hand bells; I always thought music was my gift, but I didn’t realize I had other [artistic] gifts as well.”
It wasn’t until she entered the doors of HomeFront, did Joann realize her talent in painting. Her home burned down, and she was forced to find solace at Trenton’s local family shelter. At the end of her stay, Joann finally picked up a paint brush and found another passion. “It has helped me to become more confident. I never knew I could paint and here I am selling my paintings. It makes me feel good about myself.” Her specialties are landscapes and floral arrangements. She is inspired by nature, specifically the mountains and the beach.
Though at first filled with fear of the unknown, Joanne’s status as a homeless woman gave her fresh perspective. “Feeling like I was at the bottom…helped me to appreciate every little thing that I have. I appreciate I have an apartment, a bed, a refrigerator.” She challenges others to change their stereotypes of homelessness. She said it took her a long time to see people as they are. “People aren’t always homeless because of their addictions,” she offers.
True to her loving nature, Joann leads by example. “I try to be kind to everyone…to respect them for who they are…let them know God loves everyone regardless.”