Our Stories

Every family that comes to Saranam has a story. We help them create a happy ending.

Perhaps the best way to understand our work is through the stories of the families we’ve welcomed to our program. (Note: names have been changed to respect the privacy of the individuals.)

Achieving a dream

Vivienne didn’t have much growing up but she was raised with strong values and a calling to help others. She dreamed of attending nursing school.

But abusive relationships stripped her of the freedom and resources to follow her goal. After escaping a relationship with nothing more than their lives, Vivienne and her young daughter lived with Vivienne’s parents in a tiny, uninsulated attic where they shared a small bed. She focused on starting her nursing degree and healing herself at the Domestic Violence Resource Center.

When Vivienne was selected for Saranam, her daughter was overjoyed to learn that she not only got her own bed — she got her own room.

Saranam helped Vivienne:

  • Gain the confidence to reach for her dreams
  • Manage her workload as a full-time nursing student at Central New Mexico Community College
  • Create stability for her daughter

Today Vivienne is a homeowner and she’s working in her dream job as a nurse at University of New Mexico Hospital.

“I didn’t even feel like a person before Saranam. Now I feel complete. I feel like I matter and that I have something to contribute to this world.”

— Vivienne

Starting with Stability

Homelessness has a big effect on the smallest members of the Saranam community. Mary, an elementary school-aged girl, was living without a home and watching her family struggle. That trauma created emotional and behavioral issues for Mary which disrupted her schoolwork and made it hard to make friends.

Moving into a Saranam apartment was a first step towards stability. Now that her family had shelter, food, and safety, Mary’s mother could focus on working with the school to create a behavioral plan and coping strategies for Mary.

Saranam helped Mary’s family:

  • Establish a regular schedule
  • Join community nights to get support and create connections
  • Learn to deeply bond with each other

Within months, Mary was making big, positive changes. She was playing well with her peers and listening attentively in class. By the end of the school year, she didn’t need interventions. 

Today, she’s a healthy, thriving child — a living reminder that success happens best as a family.  

Finding refuge

Dianne’s experience with homelessness began after a long, abusive relationship left her with addiction and mental health issues that rendered her unable to care for her four young children. When she became pregnant again, she committed to entering a treatment program, healing herself, and staying sober.  

Saranam helped Dianne:
  • Reunite with her four other children and address their needs
  • Make plans for her children’s different learning abilities
  • Earn her GED
  • Enroll at Central New Mexico Community College to pursue a degree in computer information systems.

Today, Dianne is doing well in her IT job and she and her children are stable and flourishing.

“Was I successful at Saranam? Yes! I earned a GED, started on my education toward a real career, have a home, pay my own bills, and bought a car. I am a single, sober, thriving mom!”

— Dianne

Proving what’s possible

Ali grew up in a small New Mexico town. Early exposure to drugs and alcohol eventually led to her addiction. At rock bottom, Ali went to jail and lost custody of her kids for more than a year.

Most people would have given up, but Ali is a fighter. She made an enormous effort to get sober and commit to giving her family the life they deserved.

Saranam welcomed Ali, her four kids, and one grandchild.

Saranam helped Ali:

  • Break away from poverty and the habits she was raised with
  • Advance from an 8th-grade education to earning her GED
  • Become a mentor for other parents

Ali has a job and is an active Saranam alumni. With help from our partnership with Prosperity Works, Ali is saving for a house so she can give her children and grandchildren a safe haven of their own.

“I’m confident in the decisions I am making now and am proud of how I’m changing the cycle for my kids. Seeing my success is proof enough for them that change works.”

— Ali

Read more stories of strength, resilience and promise from our Saranam families: