Meet Shaberia Kirk, a published author and new resident on Family Promise of Morris County’s Promising Solutions (PS) women’s housing campus.
Promising Solutions (PS), a partnership between Morris County human services agencies Family Promise and Homeless Solutions, provides safe, stable housing for single women experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity in Morris County.
Shaberia was referred to PS through our partnership with Community Hope and their services for veteran women, men, and families experiencing homelessness. Soon after her arrival in July of 2022, Shaberia shared exciting news with Family Promise case management staff—she’s a published author!
A former pre-school teacher and mom of three, Shaberia had always wanted to write a book for children and prove to herself that she could accomplish a lifelong dream. Having inherited some money from the death of a loved one, Shaberia’s journey to becoming a published author took a fortuitous turn while she was living in a group home in Newark, NJ.
“I started writing a story in a notebook as a draft that sat there for years,” said Shaberia, author of Gabby Walks to School.
After seeing an advertisement on television about self-publishing, she decided to take matters into her own hands and make her dream a reality.
Experiencing homelessness and living without all necessary resources meant that Shaberia had to do most of the editing and proofing for her book on her phone. After six long months of revisions with her publisher and illustrator, Shaberia’s dream came to life with the release of Gabby Walks to School in 2017.
“I’ve always had the heart of a child,” says Shaberia about her vision for Gabby Walks to School, which is “about not being afraid of responsibility, trust, and relying on friends for safety and support."
The main character, Gabby, was inspired by her daughters. Pulling from her own family’s experiences, Shaberia wanted to reflect upon those of children of color as they learn to safely navigate a diverse urban community full of adventure.
Currently, Shaberia is working on a second book with the working title Mom is A Superhero, for which she’s seeking collaborators for publication.
When asked how Promising Solutions fits into her larger goals and aspirations to continue writing and publishing her works, Shaberia said that living on campus, “gives [her] time and peace to relax and think of new ideas for stories.”
She continued, “I’m focused on my health journey, and I don’t feel like I am alone—I have extra help if I need it. I hate being alone. This house is beautiful; it is everything I could ever ask for.”
Shaberia’s story is an excellent example of the positive and long-term impact that safe, stable housing can have in the lives of those we serve. We look forward to seeing what she accomplishes next!
Gabby Walks to School is available for purchase on Amazon.com, here.