KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Home for the holidays is a popular phrase this time of year, but there are many people who don't even have a home.
- Juli Jefferson is working toward getting her own home
- Jefferson, 48, is homeless and battles with PTSD and ADHD
- Through donations, Jefferson enrolled herself in school
This year, one homeless woman is working towards getting her own home for the holidays.
You can see Juli Jefferson roaming around Kissimmee with a shopping cart. Jefferson doesn't have a home where she can put up holiday decorations, so a shopping cart has become her portable Christmas tree. On the cart she has a poster that reads, "Dear Santa, I've been really good. Studied hard, prayed and paid it forward. Can you please help me this Christmas?"
Jefferson became homeless after her 9-year-old daughter passed away, and she was not able to hold a job. She also battles with bipolar disorder, anxiety, PTSD and ADHD.
On top of all that, this year she lost her fiancé. Jefferson said he couldn't take life on the streets anymore and instead took his own life.
Shortly after, she decided to do the unexpected.
"I want people to know we're not all drug addicts, we're not all alcoholics and that a lot of us do want to do something with our lives," Jefferson said.
At 48 years old, Jefferson enrolled at Valencia College. She is studying to get a degree in health information technology. With donations, she was able to buy a laptop and does her homework on the go.
"Right now it's like a Cinderella story," she said. "I go to school in the morning, I take a shower at school, I put my makeup on. And nobody knows I am homeless until I tell them."
People like Bethzaida Lopez with International Chaplains The Good Samaritan come to check on her often. Lopez said Jefferson's story is encouraging.
"What's most inspiring, I don't even know where to start," Lopez said. "Because some of us who have everything, we don't even want to go as far as she wants to, to better ourselves."
So far Jefferson has been assigned a housing case manager. She's working towards another one of her goals, a home for the holidays.
"There's going to be an end to this cycle. I am going to come out of this," Jefferson said. "I am a fighter, I am not going to give up. In the end I am going to write a book."
Jefferson said she needs a battery for her Sony Vaio computer to continue doing her homework.
If you want to help her buy a battery or with her studies, a GoFundMe page has been set up for her.