A story of addiction, a family reunion, and new found hope. Meet Denita Mitchell.

Dear Forsyth County,

As a child, I never felt like I belonged. I was teased because of large scaring on my leg and all I wanted was to just fit.

My self-esteem and self-respect were really low and I began trying drugs and alcohol to try to fit in with everyone.

I never thought they would lead to nearly destroying my life.

As an adult, I turned against my family, my daughter, and most of all myself. My whole life became centered around

drugs, alcohol, and masking feelings. I was not able to keep myself employed. I went in and out of institutions and my

life had become me just existing in society. I was hopeless and depressed.

One day I finally admitted it and my family took me in for an interview at Hawley House, a program of the YWCA of

Winston-Salem funded by United Way of Forsyth County, and through Hawley House, I began to have hope again. The

start of my journey was learning about the disease of addiction, enrolling in substance abuse counseling and life

skills training, taking a self-inventory, and re-engaging with my spirituality.

Today, I work at the Hawley House knowing that if I can recover in any area of my life with support, others can too. It is a privilege to work with and give back to the women at Hawley House — a place that helped change my life. I have also obtained my Nursing Assistance 1 Certification in Medication Administration and I was recently ordained as a Deacon of my church. I was able to support my lovely daughter, who has graduated from East Carolina with a BA in Nursing.

I am truly grateful for United Way’s funding and support of this program. I share my story with you to encourage you to be generous once again with a year end gift and match or exceed your donation to the United Way of Forsyth County so that others like me can build a brighter future filled with promise.