For 25 years, Mary S. was in and out of an extremely abusive relationship. “I was not to be seen, not heard. I was not allowed to have an opinion. With no self-esteem, I was at the lowest point in my life.” St. John’s Shelter took her in, and provided her a chance at a new beginning. Mary worked hard, participating in counseling sessions and classes as she carved a new path for her life. In 2010, she joined the employment training program at Plates Café. There, she developed a great work ethic and employment skills. “I was determined to excel and not look back,” Mary said. She did just that. Today, Mary S. serves as our incredible Sous Chef. She is financially independent, and has successfully graduated from all supportive programs St. John’s Shelter offers. “Since working at Plates, I have received so much more than I ever expected and I have accomplished more than I could have anticipated. I have a sense of being.” Mary has achieved independence.