On January 27th, I had nowhere to go. I had no clue what Family Promise was. I got there and talked with Latasha. She said it would be a great place for us, myself and my girls. She explained the network. And I thought this is not going to work. I thought living with strangers, the other parents in the network, won’t work. Will they yell at my children? That was one of my fears. I worried. But then I realized I have nowhere else to go. Latasha told me it would all get better. She helped me get childcare and benefits for the kids. I got there with nothing but started to put everything together.
Where I was before Family Promise, I couldn’t get out many of my belongings. I didn’t even have my ID. You cannot get work if you do not have that. Family Promise helped me get an ID.
Nowadays, you cannot trust anybody. But then these ladies at the Family Promise Day Center are telling me and my kids to get on the van at 6pm, so we did. We got on the van with complete strangers. It was our first night at the church and we met all the volunteers. More strangers. All the volunteers made us feel like we were at home. They always made sure we were ok.
It was scary at the beginning. There were so many new people I have never seen before. I was scared because there were other moms and all these kids. It worked out well because we were all good moms and our kids were all raised well.
The volunteers always made sure we had what we needed. We always had diapers. To be honest, last week was the first time I had to buy diapers but I moved out of Family Promise in April.
I started to look for work with the help of the staff. I was worried because I was not getting any call backs. Everyone told me not to give up. I was so scared that I was not going to find a job and if I didn’t find a job I wouldn’t have a place to live. I finally got a call back from the Hampton Inn. I was so excited. I am still working here.
Then, I started looking for an apartment. But that was scarier because we were getting denied. Weeks were going by and nothing. I was so afraid because I did not have much income. I then got a call back that I got approved. I had to wait one week between when I was approved and when I could move in. One very long week.
My last week at Family Promise I had a great experience at Good Shepherd. It was my oldest daughter, Lina’s birthday. She was upset because she didn’t think she was even going to get a birthday cake this year. We arrived at the church for dinner and they had a surprise birthday party for her. It was a good feeling to see my daughter cry and hear her say, “We have a lot of people who love us”.
A few days later, it was my move-in day. I feared I was not going to have any beds for my kids to sleep in. But then all the volunteers came together and helped us out. They showed up at the apartment with furniture and groceries. I couldn’t be more thankful.
As I was moving out, I got connected with a mentor. This person means a lot to me. She makes me feel excited. She is pushes me to go back to school. When she comes to visit me, she asks, “Have you started school yet?” My mentor knows I want to be a chef. So every time she comes, she brings vegetables from her garden or a cookbook. Even when she was on vacation, she called me. The last time she visited, she brought me herbs and taught me how to dry them. I finished the Rosemary up yesterday.
I want stay with my job at Hampton Inn but become a chef. I see this other person who works there who is a chef and she has the uniform and she looks professional. I know I need to get my degree to make it happen. I still get calls from Family Promise make sure we are okay. I am thankful to the volunteers and staff. I went from nothing on January 27th to now being employed, having a home and seeing my kids happy. I was so scared to be in the network. Now, I think about the future and I am excited.