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      Mother and son transition to a new beginning

      COLUMBIA (WACH) -- A mother and son are finding a new beginning through Transitions Homeless Center in Columbia.

      Barbara Higgins was a certified nurse's assistant for 18 years, and is used to having a career and taking care of a family. When she ended up on the street, she was devastated.

      She moved from Tennessee to South Carolina for a fresh start, but because she wasn't licensed through the state, she was forced to take on many minimum wage jobs that left her scrambling to make ends meet.

      "Being a single mom, trying to maintain everything by myself with not much support from my family members or anyone, it's overwhelming," said Higgins.

      At first Higgins was staying with family, but when that didn't work out she was left without a place to go. She spent two days and nights on the street, then eventually made her way to Transitions.

      Transitions is a Homeless Center in Columbia that aims to transform people from homeless to self-reliant.

      They have helped more than 170 clients into permanent housing .

      Transitions is helping Higgins get into classes that will allow her to get her certification in South Carolina. She also works in the kitchen through their culinary program and participates in an effort three days a week cleaning up the community.

      Higgins is at Transitions with her 18-year-old son, Robert McDaniel, however he will only be there briefly because he is starting school in the Fall at Benedict College. He plans to study electrical engineering.

      Transitions has more than 2,000 clients.