It takes a village – guest filled with grace and gratitude

November 2023
By Erika M. Hirschman, Contributing Writer

Mustard Seed Shelter guest Alicia Williams, 31, is filled with grace and gratitude. Not only for the opportunities given to her by being one of our guests but also for the friendship and kindness shown to her by the other women in our home.

“Nobody wants to be a single parent,” says Alicia. “There’s a feeling of family here. If I need to step out for some air, somebody will watch my kids. If someone goes to the store, they ask me if I need anything. That’s moms helping each other out. I tell them: I love you all.”

Alicia describes herself as a caretaker – having cared for sick parents and other family members. She currently watches her young nephew Ryan when she can, and has also worked as an aide in the healthcare field. She hopes to one day work in that field again. 

“I feel happy when I can help others, and help them be healthy,” Alicia says.

The women who arrive at our home on Cherry Street have seen difficult times. Up to 40 women and children can stay here at a time. Alicia has been homeless and watched her worldly possessions being tossed away. She’s also lived in a domestic violence shelter.  

According to Mustard Seed Executive Director Amy Bartels Roe, Alicia is doing very well here overall.

Alicia says she experienced a small setback in October, but has decided to refocus her attention and make her situation here work. “Those second – even third – chances are part of recovery and healing,” says Amy.

Originally from Saginaw, Alicia comes to Mustard Seed with challenges of her own but she’s focused on working to make the best life she can for herself and her three children: Zoey, Zarria and Zaleah, ages 8, 6 and 3, respectively.

Alicia’s goal is to graduate from our program, find a job in the healthcare field and live in a furnished home of her own with all three of her children.

It hasn’t come easy, she says, but the support of the other women and staff at Mustard Seed means the world.

“It takes a village. There are good, family-oriented people here.”

Alicia goes to group therapy, exercises, helps prepare meals and attends parenting classes. She enjoys making healthy meals for her children and encourages them to read and write.

“We really all do help each other out.”


About Erika M. Hirschman
Erika M. Hirschman lives in Saginaw and is a veteran freelance writer. She has enjoyed meeting and interviewing the amazing, strong women at Mustard Seed Shelter. Erika is inspired by the stories she’s heard and feels grateful to those women who have trusted her to write and share those stories with our followers and supporters.