Roof Above would like to wish you a Happy Mother’s Day. Whether you parent humans, animal babies, nieces and nephews, or you pour your maternal heart into your community, we honor you. May it be a day of beauty and blessings. Thank you, moms, for all you do!
Belinda Benjamin is a mother to her core. She’s raised two amazing children who live in New York. When they spread their wings, Belinda relocated to Charlotte because she wanted to do something different. “We don’t live forever. Live. If you fail, you fail. If you win, you win. So what? It will be over for all of us one day. Take some chances.”
Belinda serves as a case manager at SECU The Rise on Clanton. She initiated The Closet: Distinctively Designed with Hope in Mind. Tenants love to pose for photos when wearing a new style, which Belinda displays on her office door.
Belinda also manages Pantry Pots every Thursday afternoon. She shows tenants how to turn their pantry box items into small meals, one pot at a time. “Whenever they say, ‘I can’t cook,’ I say, “I’ll show you how.’”
Belinda cares for the people she serves. She says, “That’s a mother. It’s in me. I can’t get away from it.”
Tenants frequently stop by Belinda’s office. She works to find a balance of showing them love and holding them accountable. “My goal is to teach people how to be independent. I want to teach them how to stand. And that is what I’ve taught my own children their entire lives. It changes the folks here when you give them that support.”
Belinda has lived experience of homelessness. Her daughter was hit by a drunk driver and had to have over twenty surgeries. Belinda was working as a teacher at the time and couldn’t make ends meet. A turning point in her experience was when a woman working at the shelter said to her, “Ms. Benjamin, this is not the end of your chapter.”
Belinda worked three teaching jobs and got back on her feet in ninety days. She says, “Get up. You don’t have to stay down here. I know what it’s like.”
Prior to relocating to Charlotte and joining the Roof Above team, Belinda worked with the NYPD Domestic Violence unit. She was inspired to write a book, “The Cruel Cry of Domestic Violence,” that supports women experiencing domestic violence.
In addition to being a published author, Belinda writes and directs plays. She even worked with Sesame Street.
Belinda recognizes she must take care of herself too. “I keep my hair nice. I get up and do my makeup. That’s my way of saying, ‘Belinda, I love you.’ That’s my mothering to me. We have to do that. We give, give, give. You have to find a place in your life that you give back to yourself. Find something you love and do it.”
When faced with the heartache homelessness can bring, Belinda says, “Sometimes it’s a kick to my soul. But God calls you to do stuff. You gotta do it.”