SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - The Providence House has graduated it's largest class yet of individuals who have worked to overcome homelessness and abuse and get back on their feet.
The non-profit, established in 1989, serves more than 150 families each year on average.
"It's time for us to be on our own and start our little family and shoot for the stars," said Tanesha Mims.
Thursday night's celebration is the 46th graduation the Providence House has had. The milestone is not lost on the graduates.
"People don't know what a person is going through. And I try to smile and keep pushing on through it all," said Tanesha Mims.
It has been a long journey for the 31-year-old mother of 3. Her children are 9, 5 and 3 years old.
More than 2 years ago, her job cut her hours, causing money to be tight. She had to move back her mother's home that 9 people shared.
She did not know where to turn from there.
"My cousin, Monica, she was like, 'I've seen this program on TV, it's called the Providence House, would you like to go?' and I said, 'I will try anything, just to start over, to get back on my feet again,'" said Mims.
She and her children moved into the Providence House 2 years ago. They stayed in those rooms for 7 months while Mims kept working hard to get back on her feet.
She got her GED through the program, and she is not done yet. She is working to become either a licensed practical nurse or registered nurse.
"Who would have ever imagined to have a family that has been homeless working to that level, and going to make a significant change, and you know that's why we're here," said Simone Hennessee, the executive director of the Providence House.
"I've learned that if you continue to push yourself and try hard and stay positive, you can achieve anything," said Mims.
Mims says her driving force to get her to this point is her children.
"I'm just going to keep pushing forward and praying and continue pushing on for my children so I can be a better mom for them and for them to look up to me and say 'My mom did it, I can do it too,'" said Mims.
Eight families graduated from the Providence House program in March, making a total of 26 families that were helped this year.
The programs provide everything a family needs at no cost to the family, but the family has to be willing to work the program which lasts for up to 2 years.
The goal of the program is to break the homelessness cycle and transition families into independent living conditions.
If you or someone you know is interested in the program, you can call them at (318) 221-7887.