I am Marvelous Marvette.
Motivated, capable and able to be whomever I want to be.
Free and not bound to societies expectations.
I had to come to the realization that to exist in the world, you have to be a part of it.
I am from rural North Carolina but I was not your average country girl. I had a lot of spunk and was very spirited. The gift of gab will take you a long way.
I was going to be the first one of my mom’s children to go to college. I went for my PSAT but college didn’t happen for me. I graduated from high school in June and by August, I was pregnant with my first daughter and my second followed shortly after. I thought that my life would be over and that my dreams would become nightmares being a teen mom.
These negative thoughts made life even harder. I got caught up, made some bad choices, and got hooked on narcotics. I started shoplifting to support my habit and ended up in jail. I had abandoned my children and I knew I had to get out of prison and get my family back together. I served 21 days of a 2-year sentence. You see, God always had me.
However, because of the shortened sentence, by the time I got out, the need for drugs was still in my system. I found myself homeless and pregnant. I knew I did not want to have a baby with a crack addiction.
God sent me a guardian angel via vocational rehab named Jean Edwards. She saw a lot of potential in me and helped me get into the DART program. I began working two jobs and entered a 12-step program so I could get my family back together. Unfortunately, six months into the program, my sponsor passed away and I dropped out but through the grace of God and the love and support of my family, I stayed clean and remain clean 28 years later.
I moved to Wilmington, NC after being displaced due to Hurricane Florence and took a live-in job as a Housing Manager for a women’s recovery program. I was terminated after six months, losing both my housing and employment on the same day. I pleaded with them to let me stay for two weeks so that my granddaughter who lived with me could finish the school year but my request was denied and I became homeless. This was a Christian organization and I thought what would Jesus do? He would not have done that.
Back at square one again, I was at the Help Hub looking for financial assistance when a young man came in and spoke about StepUp Wilmington. You see, God will put people in your path and it is your choice to use them, follow them or disregard them. I disregarded him. But soon after, at the NC Works center, I heard the name StepUp Wilmington again. I went to sign up the following Monday, completed their Jobs Week and after becoming employed, I began Step2. Here, I met some phenomenal and like-minded people. We were well on our way repairing credit, tracking spending, saving and setting goals when, a couple of weeks prior to our graduation, the Coronavirus came to town. However, I am proud to say that I am still an intricate part of StepUp Wilmington and they are of me.
Today, I am living the best version of me. Wilmington has become my home. I have a place to call my own, work full-time for an organization with a good cause and now have insurance and benefits.
God has been so good to me.
I am Marvelous Marvette.
Written by Marvette Shephard, StepUp Wilmington graduate.