TAMPA (FOX 13) - The halls of the Tampa campus of Metropolitan Ministries bring back a lot of memories for Melanie Rojas-Silva, both good and bad.
"It reminds of the time that I was at my lowest point and I found help here," she explained.
Her dreams of going to college were put on hold after her father murdered her mother. She became the caregiver for her brothers and sisters.
Then there was another downturn.
"When I became pregnant, I just lost my job. My daughter had a lot of difficulties in terms of health. It came to a point where I didn't have anything. I didn't have money. I didn't have hope," Melanie recalled.
Melanie was also abandoned by her husband. She wasn't sure what to do. But then the page turned.
"I found Metropolitan Ministries and I came here hoping for a brand new start. Just to get back on my feet. Instead what I got was so much more. I got hope for the future and for a future better than the one I had previously," said Melanie.
That future that included programs to help her and her daughter overcome their obstacles and not only get back on their feet, but also put Melanie on a path of realizing her dream of a higher education.
"I started by going to Hillsborough Community College and getting into the honors programs there, getting a scholarship there. And from there I went to Holyoke. I also got a full scholarship and have been there for the past three years. I'm about to graduate," beamed Melanie.
Melanie added that donations to Metropolitan Ministries mean other struggling families have promises for their futures.
"When you're giving to Metropolitan Ministries, you're saying ‘I'm making this community stronger by putting families back on their feet, giving them hope again,’" she continued.
Metropolitan Ministries is one of the local non-profits accepting donations for Give Day Tampa Bay, which is May 2, 2017. For information on how to donate to the non-profit of your choice, click https://givedaytampabay.razoo.com/giving_events/tb/home