Starting Again

Angela was a member of the United States military for nearly 20 years. But when she returned home after seven months in Iraq, something had changed. Angela spiraled deeply into depression and alcohol abuse, and it wasn’t long before she also lost the home she shared with her daughter.

Homeless and scared for her future, Angela turned to the United Way-supported agency HVAF of Indiana, Inc. Fortunately, HVAF was able to place Angela in temporary apartment housing to help her get back on her feet, and they led her to the mental health resources she needed. And once Angela was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, the divorced mother of seven slowly began the process of putting her life back together. For Angela, learning to play the piano has been instrumental in that process. She had never taken lessons before, but as she walked past the piano in her temporary apartment every day, her interest heightened.

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As fate would have it, this was around the same time Nancy saw an HVAF billboard that stopped her in her tracks. "These people should be the last people who don't have a home," Nancy said. Nancy knew she had to act, and with a career in and passion for music, she approached HVAF about tuning their pianos. But as residents became increasingly curious, Nancy began offering free lessons, too. Angela was lucky enough to get on her list.

During their lessons, Nancy teaches Angela that, when it comes to music, it’s all about timing. When you can master the count, then you can think about the music. It’s about building the foundation. For Angela, that advice reaches far beyond playing the piano as she continues to rebuild the foundation of her life.

With the help of the HVAF staff and volunteers like Nancy, Angela is preparing to go back to school, and perhaps get the proper training to work in a hospital. And she couldn’t be more grateful for the caring people who have helped her along the way. "(Being in the military) was a lot of pressure, but you don't really realize it at the time," she said. "When it's all over, it's like 'where's everybody at; what do I do now?' Being here has blessed me to be able to start again," Angela said.

Because of United Way and HVAF, Angela had the resources to get back on her feet. Because of you, Angela – and many more like her – have found the self worth to keep going and a new hope for their future.

Note: United Way works to improve the lives of all Central Indiana residents by focusing our work in four key areas – Education, Income, Health and Basic Needs. HVAF of Indiana, Inc. is a United Way-funded agency addressing one or more of these priorities by working to eliminate homelessness for veterans and their families by providing supportive services.