Young woman praises King’s Home and mental health court

Published 3:02 pm Tuesday, January 31, 2012

By SHELBA NIVENS / Community Columnist

When her mother died and she turned to the wrong things to cope, she lost her whole family, the young woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, told me. She had no place to live, no job and no transportation due to DUIs.

She was told, “If you drive and get caught, you’re going to prison.”

With no one to turn to and no way to make it on her own, she threw herself on the mercy of the courts.

She said that she told them, “‘I can’t do this alone. Put me in jail or somewhere until we find someplace to help me with transportation.’”

After entering the work-release program, she felt stuck there and started to lose hope. But she prayed and prayed, she said, until God opened a door through some wonderful people in the courts and at King’s Home in Chelsea.

Her experiences have taught her, as the Bible says, that all things really do work together for good, although it may not feel like it sometimes, she said.

“I entered the Shelby County Mental Health Court program, and they told me if I did their program, they would wipe my slate clean.”

“They were very hard on me at first. The program was not easy. But when they saw I really wanted to change, they were for me and my success.

“The judges, and the one I reported to, really went beyond the call of duty to help me. They gave me the direction I needed to help me get back on track.”

She is not wanting to get glory for herself or what she has done, she said, but wishes to give credit where credit is due.

At King’s Home, she credits people like Millicent Swift and Carolyn Parker for spiritual direction and help with restructuring her life. She refers to them as “people who are giving their lives to make a difference by finding solutions to the problems…and doing something about brokenness and misguidance.” She has found salvation at the King’s Home, she said.

She said that she has graduated the mental health program and has a clear mind. She has two jobs and a wonderful, free place to live while she saves money so she can get out on her own.

There have been some hard lessons, she said, “but then God opens doors and makes a bad situation into a beautiful blessing.”

Liz Sherrell, King’s Home Operations Director, said “This lady has done very well in our program and is nearing a time when she can successfully exit. We are proud of her hard work.”

Shelba Nivens can be reached by email at