Shaneekua graduated from the program in 2011. She was one of our first graduates. She is a single mother of her daughter, Kiara (“Kiki”). Shaneekua started her first job while in the program. A year later she got a raise and a promotion at the same job. She moved into an apartment and has stayed in touch with the program since that time. Please read about Shaneekua’s experience in the program here.
Through the Eyes of a Child
I (Network Director) was sitting down to dinner at one of our host congregations having a playful conversation with an 8-year-old, and I was brainstorming some silly ideas, all of which were unacceptable by his standards. I finally became defeated and commented, “You don’t like any of my ideas!” He responded back, “Yes, I do! I like your idea to make this program.” I did, at that point, give credit to Karen Olsen, President & Founder of Family Promise, but the point still stands that this boy understood the importance of the program and how it’s helped his family. It was a moment I am humbled by and will never forget.
Becky and her boyfriend, Bobby (upper right) were living in New Cumberland. Bobby was collecting disability for a back injury, and Becky was working full-time. Yet they were not making enough money to afford rent, got behind, and eventually needed housing. They moved into the program in 2011 and quickly saved enough money to be on their own again. A dedicated group of volunteers helped the family move into their place. Becky once said about the program, “I’m staying here because my kids are busy having so much fun with the volunteers that they don’t even know they’re homeless.”
Levels of Impact
One of our guests really taught me about the levels at which we can impact a family. One level is when families are excited about an initial change they have made. An example would be this quote, “I just wanted to call you to tell you how much I love my job. I have my own cubicle, and my name is on it!” The next level is when families start to appreciate services provided. I saw this when she said, “Krissy, I wanted to say ‘Thank you’. I never really remembered to say that, but thank you so much for this opportunity to get my life back together. I appreciate it so much.” Not everyone reaches the final level. It is when we’re able to see the impact volunteers have had on the families and children for generations to come. She said to me, “I’ve learned a lot from the program. I saw all the volunteers playing games and interacting with my kids, and I was kind of envious. Then I realized I could do that too! I didn’t know how to have fun with my kids. I don’t have any memories of my mom playing games with me. I want my kids to remember me playing with them.” The amazing thing about Family Promise is that it impacts people in a variety of ways. Some people are impacted in one way, some in many. Some families do not recognize the impact until after they leave the program – maybe years later. No matter what, I believe we make a positive impact on every person who enters our welcoming doors.
Yosief & Lucia’s Story
Yosief, Lucia, Linda, Betiel, & Msgana moved into the Family Promise program in 2011. They changed the lives of many people while they were with us. Yosief wrote up their story. Please feel free to read more here.
Lee and her grand-niece, Ashley, moved into the program in May of 2012. Lee was struggling to pay off bills and become financially stable. She stayed in the program until September when she was able to move into a transitional housing program to continue toward success. Lee has recently moved into permanent housing with Ashley. The two are doing well and remember their time at Family Promise fondly. They come back to visit regularly, and staff continue to provide support when needed. Lee said of the program, “I just wish blessings on this program! It truly is of God. There are so many blessings here that I just pray for more and more blessings in the future.”
Desiree moved into the program in 2012 with her son, Warren. She also had a baby bump. While in the program, William joined the family. Both boys were precious and happy. Desiree learned parenting skills and worked on employment goals. Because of being pregnant and having Warren, Desiree wasn’t able to become employed while in the program. She moved into transitional housing where she became employed and was attending the school. Desiree said, “I’ll do anything I can do to help out the program after what you all did for me! Thank you so much – we couldn’t have turned our lives around without Family Promise!”
A Changed Life
“I am a better person and parent because of this program. I am blessed to have been in the program.” -2013 graduate
Kathy moved into Family Promise before the summer in 2013. She brought her three kids with her, Kayla, Kiara, & Edwin (EJ). While in the program, the family experienced many new and positive things. To read more about Kathy’s story, click here.
The program is just wonderful. It’s really great to be on my own now, but in some ways, I kinda miss it. They’re such great people, all the volunteers. I really miss them. It’s like they’ve become a part of my family.