Nothing could prepare Shanna Dodson for that moment. Seated in a dental chair, Shanna popped the new dentures in. And instantly a smile broke out. It was a smile she had waited years to see again.
This DC resident and mother of two had set three target goals for herself when she entered Community of Hope’s transitional housing program, Hope Apartments – get sober, work on her education, and address health issues. Accomplishing these goals would not only send a positive message to her kids but allow her to rediscover the version of herself she knew existed deep inside.
Prior to Community of Hope, Shanna struggled with an alcohol addiction that started at an early age. She was coping with the loss of both her grandmother and mother. But life’s hardships continued to take a toll on Shanna. After losing another close family member and living in a home with others that were struggling with alcohol abuse, Shanna knew she had to make big changes. “My drinking got to the point where I was at rock bottom. I decided that living there wasn’t a good place for me to be with my son.”
After Shanna’s intentional decision to leave that negative environment, she and her son moved to a shelter before being connected to Community of Hope. Now Shanna is knocking off each goal she initially set for herself. She maintains her sobriety with treatment and checks in with her case manager. She is also achieving her educational goals by taking a GED prep class. Additionally, she’s taking a proactive approach to her health by accessing quality care at COH. She’s receiving dental care and has established a relationship with a primary care physician and a therapist.
“It feels good because I don’t have to go all the way across town. It’s convenient.” Out of all the resources that Shanna is receiving, she shared that getting her smile back – because of her dental care and new dentures received at Community of Hope – gives her more self-esteem and makes her feel better about herself.
“I now walk around with my head high – I used to walk with my head down to the ground because I felt like I didn’t have anything to pick my head up for.”
Shanna has demonstrated her intentional efforts to change her life and is looking forward to her next chapter as she is preparing to move out of Hope and into her own place. “I'm very excited about my new place. I've worked so hard to get to this point and it still hasn't sunk in yet.”