Benita’s journal of loss, hope and friendship…

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The beautiful journal looks even more so in Benita’s hands. Maybe it’s her positive energy, resilience and gratefulness. Maybe it’s what’s written on its pages.

Maybe it’s what’s written on Benita’s heart.

Benita’s journey to her new life began in January 2021 when cancer struck her mother, Charlene Davis. Benita cared for her daily and took her to treatment. Five months later, Charlene had a seizure. She went to the hospital but never made it home.

“I felt like I lost everything when I lost her,” says Benita as she held her journal in tenderness.

She tried moving forward while providing for her son, Shadeed, 13, but stumbled. By December, legal issues ensnared Benita, and child protective services took custody of Shadeed.

“12/21/21. I’ll never forget that day. I lost Shadeed,” says Benita.

Shadeed, 13

Though Benita was working and had a place to live, her legal issues continued throughout 2022 and Shadeed remained with child protective services.

In early 2023, Benita was reunited with Shadeed. Times were still rough though. Her work hours were cut. She fell behind on bills and rent. By June, her car became their home. She thought about giving up. But she didn’t.

In October, Benita reached out to Better Together for help.

She met Southwest Florida Outreach Director Jessica Braemer and Director of Development Lora Bostick. While Jessica walked beside Benita encouraging her and helping her find housing, Lora and her husband, Chris, welcomed Shadeed into their home.

“I love both of them,” says Benita of Jessica and Lora.

“Lora and Chris were awesome. They were there for me whenever I needed them and Jessica is to be loved. She went over and beyond with me. She stayed on top of things. She never slept,” says Benita.

Grateful for the help and determined to maximize the opportunity, Benita worked harder, saved money and stayed connected with Shadeed.

By late January 2024, Benita and Shadeed were reunited once again in their own place. They’re still together.

Lora still checks in. Jessica still stops by to pick them up for church.



(Moments and Story by Kinfay/Better Together)

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