What does a single mom with three children do when her apartment building is almost condemned and her ten year relationship ends? Well, Alethea “Lea” Revallion, a 29 year old Roxbury, MA native had nowhere to turn when both her relationship and apartment building were literally crumbling. With baby Mylan just ten months old, her son Myles (4) and oldest daughter Mya (7), Lea packed up her family and they were placed in a land very far, far away at a family emergency shelter called Mary’s House in Waltham, MA. Living in a Congregate home (private family bedroom with shared living spaces), the Revallion family had a lot of adjusting to do as they began to cohabitate with seven other families. Lea reflected upon that time and remembers crying a lot with her children in their one bedroom. “Kids tend to be more resilient then us adults,” Lea says, “Being a single mom is hard. I brought my kids into this world and I couldn’t provide for them. My kids never saw it like that. They always thought I was super woman.”
Lea’s days were long. Waking up at 5:00am to get the kids ready, driving into Boston to drop Mya and Myles to meet their school bus at 7:15, dropping Mylan off to daycare and then rushing to her job where she works as an office manager. Her work day ended mid-afternoon in enough time to pick the kids up and drive home for dinner, homework, baths and a good night story. Weekends were consumed with swimming lessons, cheerleading and appointments. Lea was thankful to PALs which was a service offered to many families in shelters. PALs visited 3-4 times a week and offered activities for the kids, cupcakes on their birthdays and a mental break for Lea!
Mary’s House is a family shelter run by the Middlesex Human Service Agency (MHSA). Lea worked closely with Linda Strayhorn, a MHSA case manager who provided her the assistance she needed to get back on her feet. Linda furnished Lea with applications for housing, information on local food drives and how to get back to school clothes for the kids. “She was nonjudgmental and always pushed me to focus on my kids, she knew I would succeed. She was amazing and was a big part of why I never gave up.” Lea felt that the entire staff was always helpful and supportive.
After a year at Mary’s House the Revallion family found an apartment in Dorchester and things are getting back to normal. “The kids just had their first sleep over, my mom is just minutes away and Myles has his own bedroom,” says Lea. “I am very proud of where I am now. Keep hope, keep working, stay focused and always keep striving to be the best you can be.”