The raging storms may round us beat/A shelter in the time of storm/We'll never leave our safe retreat /A shelter in the time of storm.
But for the fact that these words were written more than one hundred years before Danyelle was born, the composer, Vernon Charlesworth, could have been writing about her life.
“God just kept telling me to hold on and keep the faith and continue to do your work here in this world,” Danyelle says describing how she had persevered through difficult times.
A native of Detroit, Michigan, Danyelle dreamed of becoming a meteorologist. After high school, she attended community college, but not long after enrolling, Danyelle learned she was pregnant. The pregnancy was difficult, and she was often too ill to attend class. That combined with unreliable transportation led her to withdraw from school. A first-time mother with no employable skills and no transportation, Danyelle admits she was far from self-sufficiency.
Growing up, Danyelle’s father was involved with drugs and in and out of jail, but she maintained contact with him. Once released, he relocated to Memphis and enrolled in a re-entry program. According to Danyelle, that program changed her father “180 degrees.”
Desperate for a new start, Danyelle left behind what little she owned and moved to Memphis to, as she puts it, “find out what’s going on down there.” A week after arriving she secured a place to live. Her income? $735 a month. Her rent was $650. But It wasn’t long until a Neighborhood Christian Center-led afterschool program at her apartment complex helped connect her to My Cup of Tea.
Danyelle says that My Cup of Tea is part of the plan God has for her life. At the House she says she is encouraged, edified and built-up. She considers the relationships at My Cup of Tea a sisterhood.
Since beginning employment at My Cup of Tea, Danyelle has paid cash for two different cars. Neither of them what she desired, the second better than the first. But Danyelle is thankful that she has transportation for her 5 children (two sets of twins!) Danyelle is also grateful that she can occasionally take all of her children to a movie or for ice cream or buy them shoes when they need them.
Now Danyelle is praying and dreaming about becoming a motivational speaker. Though soft-spoken and sometimes shy, she believes her story of struggle and triumph will resonate with young women with experiences similar to hers. She is passionate that her faith is what propelled her from desperation to hope and can’t wait to see what is next for her life.