Gwen - GJ

Gwen - GJ

Gwen is a woman whose presence is impossible to ignore.

QUICK FACTS

HOMETOWN:

Nashville, TN

DREAM JOB:

Children's Art Therapist

FAVORITE PASTIME:

Teaching Vacation Bible School

WHAT SHE'S READING

The Bible

WHAT SHE'S LISTENING TO:

Journey

FAVORITE SPOT IN NASHVILLE:

Prince's Hot Chicken

FAVORITE PRODUCT TO MAKE:

Moon Bead Choker

HOMETOWN:

Nashville, TN

DREAM JOB:

Children's Art Therapist

FAVORITE PASTIME:

Teaching Vacation Bible School

WHAT SHE'S READING

The Bible

WHAT SHE'S LISTENING TO:

Journey

FAVORITE SPOT IN NASHVILLE:

Prince's Hot Chicken

FAVORITE PRODUCT TO MAKE:

Moon Bead Choker

PERSONALITY

With a vibrant smile and arsenal of funny quips, Gwen can turn any event into a party. Even with the chaos that homelessness brings, Gwen always finds time to support her family, namely by taking care of her beloved children and grandchildren. Anytime she references her family, tears well up in her eyes, a physical sign of her deep pride and gratitude. After all she’s been through, Gwen is still shockingly enthusiastic and kind-hearted. Although she claims to have had low-self esteem earlier in life, it’s clear that Gwen’s experiences and deep Christian faith have strengthened her. Second only to children, Gwen’s favorite things are learning new things and expressing herself through art.

STORY

Raised in Nashville, Gwen was married with a beautiful baby girl by the age of 16. However, when the marriage didn’t last, Gwen blamed her low self-esteem and plunged herself into childcare at her church to distract herself. Quickly recognizing that working with children is her passion, not a distraction, Gwen turned her volunteering into a job, launching her own daycare. While running the daycare and raising her only child, Gwen registered as a foster parent, often housing multiple children at once because of her refusal to separate siblings. After a few years, Gwen made the difficult decision to stop fostering children and fully adopt three of the girls in her care. All the while, Gwen had a boyfriend who became increasingly abusive to her; by the time her four daughters grew out of the house, she left her house and became homeless to escape him. Too embarrassed to tell her family the truth, Gwen filed a restraining order against her ex-boyfriend and found herself living on the streets of Nashville for over eight years. With the help of local nonprofits, Gwen moved into a transitional apartment this past year and is looking forward to the next steps in her life.

AT UNLOCKED

From the moment Gwen stepped foot in our door, we knew she was a ray of sunshine. With her dramatic stories, ever-present laughter, and enthusiasm to learn new things, Gwen makes every day fun. The first time Gwen successfully completed an UNLOCKED necklace, she very memorably shrieked with glee, exclaiming that she's "so professional" now. Gwen claims that working at UNLOCKED has given her a sense of “self-esteem and caused her to see things in herself she didn’t know were there.”

FUTURE PLANS

Combining her greatest passions, Gwen dreams of re-entering the daycare business, this time with a focus on art as emotional therapy. In this way, she hopes to impart the joy and resilience that she's found in creativity to the next generation.

UPDATES