A Desk for Hela

“You never know how strong you are until you have no choice.” – Bob Marley

After jumping out her window to escape domestic violence, Hela was left homeless. “To lose him, I had to lose everything. I ended up getting a tent and living in the woods for the last eight years.”

Hela dreamed of being a writer and high school English teacher, and knew the best way to pursue that dream was to go to school. “Going to school while I was homeless gave me more of a drive. I had already lost everything, so the only thing I could do was go to class.” Hela first enrolled at Valencia College, then continued her education at the University of Central Florida.

When asked how she kept up with schoolwork, Hela explained, “I got an outdoor picnic table and chairs from WalMart. I’d set it up outside my tent when I needed to study. Or I’d go to the on-campus library.”

During her first semester at UCF, Hela started the student group, “Castles for Knights,” a club for homeless college students to support one another. Funded by the Student Government Association, Castles for Knights hosted meals for students experiencing homelessness, and ensured that those that don’t have the opportunity to go home for the holiday’s had a meal for Thanksgiving.

Hela moved from the woods in Apopka to staying on campus, where she slept on couches in study halls and on the floor of porta-potty’s. When hurricane’s approached, she was provided a dorm room for a brief reprieve from the elements. At the suggestion of campus police, Hela spent her last two semesters at Coalition for the Homeless. The Coalition helped Hela sign a lease for an apartment, and after eight years, Hela finally had a place to call her own.  Hela received the keys to her apartment on December 16th, and walked across the stage on the 17th, graduating with a dual bachelor’s degree in technical communication and writing and rhetoric.

Coalition for the Homeless referred Hela to The Mustard Seed so that she could receive furniture for her new apartment. She selected 13 pieces of furniture and is most excited about the desk she received, so she can continue writing.

To support individuals like Hela in need as they transition out of homelessness, click here.

Furniture for Grace and Her Family

“We’d had our son home for less than a year before our home flooded.” For Grace, complications during pregnancy and premature birth led to a long NICU stay for her son. Her child was released from the NICU in January of 2022. Then Hurricane Ian flooded their home that fall. “There was a les…

Read More

Beds for Anita and Her Children

“My family and I were in a crisis. Me and my kids were homeless for the last 5 months.” A lease termination and stable housing falling through was all it took for Anita and her 4 children to find themselves homeless. “My husband left me back in January. It’s just me and my kids now. We were …

Read More

A Bed for Alberic

When Alberic lost his job in March of 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the financial strain led to him living in his car for the last several years. He struggled to transition into an apartment due to extenuating circumstances and spent the last several months at the Coalition for the Homeless. …

Read More

Latest News

Interview with our Board Chair: Kristen Stone

July 17, 2024

The Mustard Seed of Central Florida is grateful for the commitment of our dedicated board members. Kristen Stone, Board Chair, has served on our Board of Directors since 2019. With a background in human resources, focusing on talent management and organizational development, she brings her exper… read more

Request for Proposal: Audited Financials/Filing

February 13, 2024

February 13th, 2024

The Mustard Seed of Central Florida, Inc. (“The Mustard Seed”) invites the submission of proposals for the preparation of its yearly audited financial statements and related filings for a three-year period beginning with the fiscal year ending June 30, 2024.  T… read more