My Experience with Paul’s Place: A Poem by Mary Chew

May 19th, 2016

Mary Chew is a former elementary school teacher and mother of three, who never imagined needing to ask for help. She was forced to move when her landlord sold the house she was renting and had been turned away by two shelters unable to accommodate her unique needs. She and her family literally had nowhere to go when she found Paul’s Place. Her family worked with our case management team to find stable and affordable housing and employment for her two adult children. Now, she and her family have found stability and self-reliance. She shared this poem, entitled My Experience with Paul’s Place at our Benefit Breakfasts on April 28 and May 12.

It was graduation day, I was an excited college girl
Destined to be a teacher and out to change the world
I enjoyed teaching and the students were grand
Later, I married a very interesting man
I became a mother, what a challenge to my life
Parenting is hard and I’m still trying to get it right
Then the dreadful diagnosis of Rheumatoid arthritis was too shocking to bear;
Excruciating pain, pneumonia, and finally I was bound to a wheelchair
My chronic illness totally affected everyone
Especially my noble and compassionate son
I needed him daily just to survive
Continuous care he did provide
It was overwhelming and life seemed so cruel;
My disease prevented him from finishing high school
Years of suffering and steroid infusions for almost a week
I required constant injections to stay on my feet
Suddenly, my landlord informed me she had to sell her property very soon
So after almost 12 years in Baltimore County we had to move by the end of June
This was a tremendous blow;
Because we didn’t have any place to go
The county shelters could not accommodate my disability;
They suggested there were better resources in the city
We reached the city on a very hot July day
The Department of Social Services directed us to Fallsway
When we arrived, everyone was pleasant and kind
They wanted to separate my family;
This idea greatly troubled my mind
We sat for hours and waited very patiently
Then they recommended another agency
The program director was extremely considerate and eager to lend a hand
He told us how his program was cut due to the Governor’s new budget plan
I thought to myself, “How can this be?
There are so many homeless people just like me”
I became frightened and began to pray
He told us not to worry and that he would find us a place to stay
The next morning, the social worker called me with a proposition she wanted to discuss
She said transitional housing might be a good arrangement for us
I was so happy I burst into tears
At last, I began to have hope instead of fear
As we settled in everything seemed fine
There were eight people and one bathroom
That was inconvenient at times
Many other problems started to arise
Financial issues and more people were to move in to my surprise
I couldn’t handle this pressure by myself;
I was told the community center might be able to help
I will never forget the look on each face
Strangers were greeting me saying, “Welcome to Paul’s Place!”
Staff members and volunteers displaying true humility never pride
Rendering services to all who were hurting inside
They feed the hungry almost every day
Plenty of clothes and they give them away
There are GED classes, computer classes, job programs, rental assistance, and more
So many free services await as you enter the door
I can personally speak of Paul’s Place’s acclaim
They helped my family and we will never be the same
My children are working, thriving, achieving, they are blessed
Paul’s Place put them on the right road to success
They also assisted us with a nice place to live
They provided us with a home, yes-yes they did
So if you’re seeking aid my dear friend,
Go to Paul’s Place where the caring never ends
A smile, a hug, whatever you need
Paul’s Place is a helper indeed
Come one, come all, whatever your race
And meet the most wonderful people God has planted at Paul’s Place