A “Star” Shines Bright

A fading “star” shines bright once again thanks to help from The Salvation Army


Imagine what life would be like if over the course of a few days you lost your eyesight; plunging your world into total darkness for two weeks. That’s what happened to Zaraya Gholston back in the Fall of 2016 while holding down a job as a restaurant hostess and trying to find stable housing for herself and five year-old son. “It was the most terrifying thing I’d ever experienced.” Zaraya has just recently moved to Louisville to be closer to her mother whom she’d not seen since the age of three when she moved from Long Island, New York to the outskirts of Montgomery, Alabama with her grandmother. “I had a wonderful life growing up in Montgomery. I was very involved in my church singing with the choir and was part of a competition step-dance team that gave me the ability to travel quite a bit; that’s why I got the nickname of “Star”, often being front and center with nearly everything I did.”


IMG_5825In Louisville, Zaraya was looking to put down roots, and being the determined go-getter she always was, began working to support her family, often with multiple jobs. But when she lost her sight due to complications from diabetes, that also meant the inability to work and keep a place of her own. “I lived with a boyfriend who was unsupportive, my mom couldn’t help and I tried living with my sister for a short time, but after her home was violently broken into one day, I knew that was no longer an option.” Always strong in her faith, Zaraya began to regain her sight nearly overnight, stumping the medical professionals she was working with. Zaraya credits her strong faith in Jesus and the many prayers she received from friends at her church. But The Lord wasn’t finished answering her prayers says Zaraya as she says He led her to the doors of The Salvation Army and its Transitional Housing program. “I really had to swallow my pride at first because I’m the kind of person who’s willing to work as many jobs as possible to make it on my own, and not live in a shelter, but in all honesty, it was a blessing.”


Zaraya and her son Azerean moved into the furnished apartment in late February of 2017 and almost immediately knew that God helped her at the right time and the right place. “This was the first time in a long time that I could finally breathe, knowing that when my door closed each night we didn’t have to worry about feeling unsafe, or being mistreated; I had total peace of mind and stability.” Now Zaraya and her son have their own place, thanks to the help of her counselors who gave her the help she desperately needed. “This is my big comeback, getting back to being the “star” I was once before.  Sometimes life is just life and it doesn’t always go the way you planned it, but thanks to The Salvation Army, they gave me a “hand-up” which is exactly what I needed.”