The Art of Home: Hazel’s Story of Resilience

An abstract artwork with primary colors and green, black, and white accents displays what could be a face or an eye. The medium is cardboard with oil pastels

Hazel creates artwork using cardboard and oil pastels.

Hazel is a thoughtful, creative woman who loves to channel her creativity into her artwork, her cooking, and her career. She’s been in Impact housing for nearly 25 years. She first learned of Impact when her mom connected her to services after a long term hospitalization left her at risk for homelessness. 

When Hazel first saw her Impact apartment she thought ‘it’s like a ready-made life. I have my apartment with pots and pans, dishes, and linens.’ Slowly, Hazel put her life together in a way that worked for her. She took advantage of resources through Impact, and local organizations focusing on employment services. 

Hazel worked in retail for a few years and while she thrived, she wanted to follow her passion for education. She went back to school, obtaining a degree in paraprofessional education.  

Hazel has spent the past decade working with children from preschool age to fifth grade. 

Now that Hazel has achieved so many of her goals, she’s decided on her next goal: retirement. She plans to stay busy writing, creating oil pastel paintings, cooking, and going to the gym.  

Despite being in housing for nearly 25 years, Hazel said that the trauma of nearly losing housing all of those years ago has stuck with her. 

“The worry of being homeless has been present in my mind for a long time,” reflects Hazel. “I’m just starting to realize ‘I’m home, I’m fine, I don’t need to worry.’ It’s a huge security for me.” 

Hazel’s hope for society is that people living with mental illnesses are not judged. “That’s a real person, and they have just as much of a right to be in this world as you do,” explains Hazel. “Try to open up your mind to someone who is different from you.” 

Hazel’s journey stands as a testament to resilience, creativity, and the profound significance of a stable home.

Learn more about Impact’s programs, including clinical, employment services, and housing here.

Names have been changed to protect the privacy of the participant(s).