Yarelis & Alreise Walker, Family Promise graduates

Yarelis:

Hi. We are the Walker family.  I am Yarelis, Alreise, and we have two kids.  We were living in Virginia and we were both working.  My husband lost his job because of an accident.  I was trying to work more but I was getting overwhelmed.  Then I lost my job when my boss changed.  It was all just bad timing.  We were still maintaining but then eventually bills got backed up. 

Alreise:

A family member said they would help out so we left the apartment.  We paid off all our bills before we left.  Then we moved in with family that brought us up to Dover.  It was hard though for a family of five to take in us, a family of four.  There just wasn’t enough room.  This began a lot of going house to house.   We went between Delaware and Maryland.  I got jobs but they were through temp agencies, it was whatever they would offer and also we didn’t know if we would have to move again.   

Yarelis:

I don’t remember it all before Family Promise.  We were in one other shelter in Maryland.  There was a time limit there. There was a service we had to attend and we had to leave during the day.  We did have our own room though.  They gave us at least a week extension but then we went back to a family member’s house. Our family’s houses were already pretty full.  My husband was doing research on places that would take us as a family.

Alreise:

I called the hotline number and was told the only shelter space was for abused women and their children.  Every week I would call and see if there was space. Eventually, we received a call from Family Promise.  We went to the staff office and were asked questions like what kind of work do we want and what are our plans.  It was broken down to us that families usually move out in 2 or 3 months.  We were given resources and plans for daycare.  Ms. Rose led a weekly parenting group and was nice.  The congregations we went to were very welcoming and there were multiple religions and that was great.  There were different people with different backgrounds.  I liked that.

Yarelis:

It is hard to think back to that time in a way, to think about the details.  I remember the office and how we were interviewed.  It was explained how we would be helped. We were introduced to everyone, the staff and the other families.  I felt secure.  We didn’t feel overwhelmed anymore.  We felt like, “finally!”  Everyone was so friendly and energetic.  The volunteers were all so nice. You helped us with a lot of resources.  You helped us pay off tickets, helped with diapers and clothing and we met other families in the same situation which helped us.  We felt comfortable.  We ended up getting jobs.  The important part was that we felt like a family there.   

Alreise:

You treated us like family.   We had daily check-ins about our progress.  After we moved out, staff still checked in on us from time to time.   The time moved fast.  We were only in the network for two months. We still have the same jobs and apartment that we left Family Promise with.  We are saving up to buy a house.  Because of our experience, we were able to help a family who was homeless. We gave her resources and she eventually got connected to Family Promise. We are very grateful for Family Promise. 

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