If you joined us at last year’s Reaching Out Luncheon, you’ll remember Violet, and how she held the room captive by standing in her power and sharing her story. At the time of her speech, Violet was working tirelessly to bring her children back to the US from Tanzania. “My faith kept me going knowing that I would see my kids again one day” she said.
After years of working for their safe return, on April 7 of this year, Violet was reunited with all three of her children at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. In a joyous scene, after overcoming every challenge, barrier, and obstacle, Violet accomplished her goal and was finally able to welcome home her beloved children. Hopelink recently sat down with Violet to catch up on family, life goals, and what’s next. As you’ll hear from Violet herself, her story is uniquely hers. She says, “My life is like a book, and everybody can read it. I am not afraid to share this story that is from my heart.”
Hopelink: At the time of the Reaching Out Luncheon speech, you were working as a caregiver and in the process of reuniting with your kids. Can you tell us about the process and what that was like for you?
Violet: It was not easy, but I had to do it because I had no other option. I was so lost in the beginning. I was not a citizen, I didn’t know anyone, and my asylum was still being processed. But my faith kept me going that I would have my kids again one day. I came down to Hopelink to talk to my case manager to express my concerns. Then she called a lawyer she knew works for global justice. They talked and she agreed to help me. So, I signed some papers, and she took my case. It took some time though.
To be reunited with your children, you went to extraordinary lengths. You worked tirelessly with your lawyer, contacted a local politician, and went as far as writing a letter to the President Biden. From the time you sent the letter to the time you reunited with your kids; how much time had passed?
I sent the letter in October and in April, I was reunited with my children. I would have done anything it took but, in my heart, I had reached my end. I thought after the president of the United States, where else do I go? By November, I received a letter from a United States federal agency telling me they received my request from Biden, and they were working on my case. That is when things really started happening. When I received the letter that my request was granted, I jumped and said, “Wow!” I was so thankful.
During your speech, you mentioned you received support from your church community and Hopelink. Can you describe this support and what it meant to you?
I can say, if you have a family that loves you and stands by you, that is what Hopelink did for me. I was lost and everything was falling apart. At Hopelink, I got encouragement and a place to stay and sleep. They were always encouraging me, but they were giving me focus too. They were asking me what my goals were and supporting me. Along with all the support, encouragement, and resources from Hopelink, my church was also a huge support system. My pastor would call to check on me. So, I knew I could do this. Eventually, I would love to give back to Hopelink using my talents. I want to go from being a client of Hopelink to being a partner organization with Hopelink through the nonprofit I am creating.
If someone were going through a similar situation, what advice would you give them?
You know, I have been wanting to start another career as a life coach. I am going to be a transformational life coach because I did it and know what it takes to transition. So, what I would tell anybody is you are so unique. The name of my company is going to be Unique Journey Life Coach. Don’t throw stones that have been thrown at you. You can use those stones to step on top and excel. That happened to me and can happen to anyone. I was recently asked to give testimony in Europe, and everyone was really encouraged. I learned that you cannot rely on negative things. You must know you are born for a purpose, and nothing can stop you if you focus forward. We are not supposed to allow things in this life to define us.
You mentioned you want to start another career as a life coach, but you also said you are starting a nonprofit. Can you talk a little bit about the nonprofit and what type of work that entails?
The nonprofit was registered in March. I am working with children in Tanzania. I have been supporting them since May 2016, giving them food when I get my salary. I will get them clothes, food, and school supplies. I also speak with them, empowering and mentoring them. Another thing I am going to do is help single mothers that are struggling. There are so many single mothers with nowhere to go. I can put my life coach experience into that by empowering them through my experience.
I am not giving up on caregiving either. I am starting a home caregiving agency to train and send other caregivers to families. It is in the process of being registered. I want to help caregivers who want support in reaching their goals. I need them to know what they are doing is very important and they deserve to be highly paid. For me, you must have a plan and know everything is done for a certain time. Nothing is permanent. I was having a season of waiting for my kids. Now I am in a season to lay the foundation of businesses I want to create to leave a legacy for my children. I know it’s a matter of time. By September, I will be speaking another language.
You speak of legacy for your family. What would you like to see for the family in the future?
I want my kids to know why they were born and to discover their purpose in life. I told them deep in your heart, you must decide and grasp the legacy I want to leave behind. The way I decided to fight for them they too will have to decide one day what they will fight for. I tell them they must become responsible. I cannot force them to find it within themselves. You need to learn and know. We are not kidding in this life. You must live life and serve others. You have to be of service to society and be good citizens. For now, they are doing great, adjusting, and happy to be back with mom.
Violet and her three children are now living on the Eastside again. Her children are back in school, adjusting well to life in the US. The kids are enjoying being home with their mom and getting involved in soccer and basketball. Violet continues to support her children in the many paths they choose to take. She is currently working on creating her own nonprofit, working with private clients as a caregiver, and looking to create a caregiving business in the next year. Throughout her journey, Violet has continued to partner with Hopelink’s Housing and Family Development programs.