From Homeless to Pre-Med

Alexandra and her mother arrived at Raleigh Rescue Mission when she was just nine years old.

“My mom lost her job,” Alexandra, who is now 20, says. “I didn’t understand how serious it was that we were living in a homeless shelter. I just looked it as ‘Oh, we’re living in a new place.’ ”

Alexandra didn’t realize something was different about her situation until a snowstorm hit Raleigh and the schools were shut down. Alexandra had to wait until it was safe to be transported home.

“My teacher was worried,” Alexandra remembers. “She thought that when I got back to the Mission they weren’t going to have any food for me.”

That moment opened Alexandra’s eyes to the fact that her life wasn’t like other third graders.

“In the back of my mind, it made me realize that maybe this wasn’t a normal thing to be going through,” Alexandra says.

But coming to the Mission became a turning point for their family – and in many ways the rest of our community. Alexandra’s mother joined our program and we helped her find transitional housing. When she was in high school, Alexandra started volunteering at the Mission.

Right now, Alexandra is working towards a college degree in Biomolecular Engineering. Even though school keeps her busy, she still volunteers when she can.

“I enjoy helping prepare meals and feeding people, and being able to help,” Alexandra says.

Alexandra’s mom is a cardiac nurse, pursing a Master’s Degree and Alexandra hopes to become an oncologist so she can continue helping people when they need it most.