Ceola Teal

Ceola, mother of 3 children, ages 13, 10 and 5

What has been the biggest challenge during your time at shelter?

I was nervous at first; I have had bad experiences with shelters. When I found out this was a private shelter with one-on-one support both emotionally and physically, I was excited.

I have been in and out of foster care and group shelters my whole life. this program is totally different. I have never had this kind of support in my life. My biggest challenge was believing in myself, but the [Partners for Housing (P4H)] staff made my biggest challenge easy to face, because step by step together we tackled my everyday challenges. Leaving the father of my children was another challenge and a major reason I moved to Mankato. The mental and physical abuse that I had gone through for nine years was something I thought I’d never escape. He grew up in the projects, that roughness of character was something that weighed on our relationship and on our children.

A personality like that isn’t good for me or my children. The time and emotional energy I’ve put into the custody battle with this man have has been one of the biggest challenges I have been working on overcoming. It is one that I know I will have to fight for every day, but I will continue to fight for my children because I want to give them a better life than I had growing up, and break the cycle of heartache.

How has the [P4H] program helped you succeed?

The location, transportation has been a big barrier of mine. The location of [P4H] made it easy to get around by walking or low cab cost. Budget setting was helpful, now I know what I can afford month to month. I have been on my own since I was 13, I was never shown how to budget or how to set goals. The [P4H] staff showed me the correct and safe way to spend money so that I could leave shelter in 90 days with a stable living arrangement. Everything I needed to be successful was made possible to me through this program or through a closely connected resource. Having the support that [P4H] has given me was foreign at first, then I realized this was the way humans are supposed to be treated. They showed me humanity.

What was one of your biggest barriers, when you first arrived at shelter?

Getting comfortable in a new city. When I moved into shelter, it was my first time in Mankato. Not living in a city that I am familiar with was one of my barriers. Learning where everything was, what resources Mankato had to offer was a huge learning curve. I am still learning today; this community has a lot to offer and the [P4H] staff has given me the tools to navigate all of it.

Thank you for walking in our shoes and listening without judgment.


What has been your biggest success?

Something clicked because I could concentrate on what I needed to do for myself and my kids. I was away from the abuse and the negative behavior; therefore, I was able to focus on my overall goal, which is to be housed, not just housed, but to have a safe place to call home. Finding stable housing is something that I am proud about. I’m excited to fall asleep in a bed that I own, knowing I did this for me, and I did this for my babies. I’m going to be able to sleep through the night, knowing we are going to be okay and that is my biggest success.

What would you say to the P4H staff and board of directors?

Thank you for the well mapped out plan! This program is one that is successful, I have been in so many different programs in my life and none of them have shown me the support that you have. Your program is well thought out and you have thought about the barriers that we, as homeless people, go through. Thank you for walking in our shoes and listening without judgment.

What is next for you?

I am moving into an apartment this week, going to college for cosmetology, and going to therapy to work on myself so that I can be the best mom I can be for my children. I don’t want my children to go through the same hardships that I did growing up. For them I am working hard to run a household filled with love, respect and God. from there, the possibilities are endless.