Instantly beloved, Pinky puts those around her at ease with her honesty and good will. A stranger is soon a new friend, smiling at her stories and artwork.
Born Jamaine in 1960, and nicknamed by her grandmother, Pinky is a fixture at the IPH Shelter and Sheridan Hollow Drop-In Center (SHDC). She started visiting the SHDC 4 years ago while living with a caretaker. She would come for the meal and stay to socialize and lend a helping hand. Open, kind, trusting, and generous are Pinky’s biggest strengths and, at times, her weaknesses. The home Pinky shared with her caretaker had long been one of her favorites, and she was devastated to learn that, after many years living together, her dear friend and caretaker had been taking advantage of her finances. IPH staff felt her heartache and were determined to help in any way they could.
With the help of many partners, Pinky moved into the IPH Emergency Shelter, while staff worked together and focused on finding her the right type of housing. Pinky suffers from a seizure disorder and cognitive deficits, most likely linked to the domestic abuse and severe injuries she suffered in her marriage. She acknowledges that drugs and bad choices led her down a tough path that included homelessness. Her memories are fuzzy, though she doesn’t focus on the hardships. Her optimism won’t let her. Instead, she tells crystal clear stories of her childhood in Trinidad, the vivid colors and smells emblazoned in her memory. She remembers later moving to NY with her birth mother, and panic fills her eyes as she recalls the fire that burned her and her husband’s house to the ground. Other memories are not as clear, but perhaps that is a blessing.
Pinky’s complex medical needs made locating appropriate housing especially challenging. However, IPH staff never gave up, and Pinky persevered. In August, after 11 months at the Shelter and surrounded by her IPH family, Pinky received the keys to her new home. She is settling in, stocking her fridge with her favorite foods – pancakes and sausage – and is getting to know the other residents where she lives. Since moving, Pinky returns to the SHDC each day to volunteer with the Health & Wellness Program. Once a nursing student, she loves to care for those in need and helps Nurse Nikki by stocking supplies and talking to guests. Though she has moved on, she will always be a part of IPH.
Pinky is humbled by all who have helped her and is grateful for the support she continues to receive. Whether listening to her play her harmonica or watching her dance along to a favorite song, Pinky is a reminder of the sweetness found in second chances.
Giving back never felt so good
With your contribution, you help more guests like Pinky by strengthening the programs and services of IPH so that wherever they are on life’s journey, IPH gives them the tools they need at that time. It is this continuum of services that allows IPH to strengthen our relationship with guests and provide essential support. Your donation will allow us to keep assisting those with stories like Pinky.