WPLG Local 10 honored our CEO, Jeanne Albaugh, with an award! The prestigious "My Future…
Reflections from our CEO…
“I go back to the bridge begging for change and now serving the homeless. On February 13, 2021, I went back to the bridge where I lived for most of my homeless life, 10 years. As I’m writing this, tears are streaming down my face. It still brings back many bad memories. And, also makes me very grateful for where I am today. So many bad things happened while living under this bridge. There seemed to be no hope, no self-esteem, and I wished to die daily. I even tried committing suicide several times. How could my life spiral out of control like this? How did I get here? When did I let myself get so far down?
My life was good! I was blessed with four healthy and beautiful children; Drove a Porsche and a Mercedes and yet I found myself living under a bridge. Alone in the darkness. Honestly, I never thought I’d find my way out. Always believing I’d die under that bridge. But, I am so thankful that God had a different plan for me. It brings tears to my eyes thinking about who I was back then. And, all the bad choices I made, which caused my family so much pain.
Things Look So Different Now
My mother died when I was still living on the streets. To say living is a stretch because it wasn’t much of a life, it was just existing. For a long time, I couldn’t forgive myself. I was riddled with self-resentment and guilt. How could I not be there for her when she was always there for me? It was a very dark time, and I was very sick and suffering from mental illness, although I didn’t know it at the time. I kept and hid a lot of dark secrets, that I’ve never shared with anyone.
As I stood under that bridge and was reflecting on how I looked those last few days before I started my journey home. My clothes were big, baggy, and dirty, my hair was ratty, and looked like it hadn’t been brushed in weeks. I was physically dirty, and I felt that way emotionally. Like I had sold my soul to the devil. I was only a hollow and empty shell. Yet, I was plagued with regrets, guilt, shame, and sadness. While living under the bridge all I wanted was my life back. Little did I know that I wouldn’t get “that life” back but would begin a journey into a beautiful new life. One of hope, joy, happiness, and self-love. Surrounded by my loving friends and family. I found my true love. My life now has so much purpose! I love living!
Serving the Homeless to Bring Change
I’m still begging… but it’s for a very different kind of CHANGE. It’s asking for your help and continued support for those experiencing homelessness. It’s time to CHANGE the “stigma” that is associated with homeless and begin educating ourselves, and one another about the reality of homelessness. It can happen to anyone, at any time. People such as myself. One day I had it all, and in the blink of an eye found myself sleeping on concrete and living under a bridge. We need to make the CHANGE of looking at those experiencing homelessness, such as I was, through the eyes of compassion, and not of judgment. Have empathy and not indifference. We need your help to CHANGE lives.
At any given point, we don’t know what anyone has gone through or what they were born into. What I do know is that something has happened that derailed each person that is homeless. Whether it be a tragedy, trauma, mental illness, abuse. There are many different reasons behind why each one that is living on the streets, has spiraled out of control, and is hopeless, broken, and damaged. Most days, death would be easier, but you continue to put one foot in front of the other and barely get through each day.
Giving Thanks and Giving Back
Today, my goal is to change the world and I’m hopefully going to do that one Shower and one person at a time while serving the homeless. When I was homeless, I never thought I’d have the life I have today. I am a mom, grandmother wife, and friend. I get up every morning because I have a purpose and to share hope with others who are in their dark times. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would go from Homeless to CEO and founder of Showering Love! It wasn’t easy and that mountain at times looked too big to climb. Putting one foot in front of the other, I began taking one step at a time. One situation at a time until I found my way home. Now it’s my chance to help others find their way out of darkness, and also find their way back home, as I did. But we need your help and support to continue to carry out this mission.
One of my personal priorities is to contact and thank everyone who reached out to me and helped me while I was experiencing homelessness. It takes a village, and I am forever grateful to all that had faith in me and helped me along my journey.”
Thank You for Serving the Homeless with Us
Showering love is always working hard to provide our guests with support and resources to help them take steps to become self-sufficient and find their way back home again. Thank you for your support, encouragement, and believing in me. I am a life that is changed because people invested in me. It took many people selflessly dedicating their time, money, prayers, and so much more.
Even if I can’t find every person in my quest to thank them for helping me, I will spend the rest of my life thanking them by giving back and helping others. Because of people like you, and through your kindness and generosity, you are helping save lives and make a difference to so many. I know from my own experience life has so much to offer us all if we all can be kind, caring, generous, and compassionate. I am eternally grateful to everyone that helped me find my way back home and for all the continuous support I receive for Showering Love. I will forever pay it forward.