Hard Work and Positive Attitudes: H&S are a couple with five children of their own, and one child they recently adopted because a relative could not provide for the two-year-old. Even though they had little, they were willing to share what they had with another child. All the children are kind and courteous, and the parents are always respectful and willing to help others. There is a tremendous amount of love evident in all they do. Even after working all night, they always come in to the Family Promise day center and make sure they do their chores first, before taking time to rest. They lost their home when they got behind on rent and knew they needed to work hard to gain enough money for a deposit on a new home. They left without an official eviction, and began living in a hotel for a few weeks. When their funds ran even further, they moved into Saint Francis House for a day before finding Family Promise.
They are, quite simply, one of the hardest working families we have ever met. Mom works approximately 50 hours per week at two jobs, and dad works over 80 hours per week at two full-time jobs. His hard work has not gone unnoticed. One of his jobs recently asked if he would like a promotion that required a move to a small town in southern Georgia. He accepted the job, and has had THREE promotions since.
Sometimes guests teach us things. Julie taught us to find the positive in every day. She came to Family Promise with no job. She left with a job and two happy kids, and an affordable place of her own. Her youngest was one of the happiest babies we have ever met. Even when she had a cold, she would coo and smile. Surely that is the result of a happy mother! Her oldest made great strides in school, making the honor roll and showing dramatic improvements in behavior when she lived within Family Promise. We are so happy to have met this great mother and her children, and are thankful she stops by to share her sunshine with us every now and again.
The Power of Quiet: Meet two women with very different personalities. Yet both quiet women are successful Family Promise graduates.
World Traveler: Jen is a very serious lady, that never says much. The picture of quiet dignity. It takes a lot to make her smile. She has lived all over the world, growing up in a small village in another country. She has cared for others most of her life. “My son is my greatest achievement in life, he is a good boy.” She lost her home Gainesville home of 25 years, in the fall of 2015 when her car was totaled. Without that car, she could not get to her evening job as a home health aide. She found Family Promise in 2015 and moved in with her teenaged son. Within a month, she had a full-time job. Family Promise helped her get a car donated, thus allowing her to keep the home healthcare position to work more than 40 hours a week. When she was ready to move back into a home of her own, she was asked if she might finally smile. “Maybe,” was all she said. This time, there was a new twinkle in her eye and we knew that inside, she was grinning wide.
Small town girl: Miss P was taught manners from her own mother. A quiet, “Yes, ma’am,” are the words she utters most. She had never left her small home town outside of Gainesville, until her own mother lost her home. Three generations were homeless all at once. So this mother came to live with Family Promise. It took us a while to realize that under that polite Southern exterior, there was a class clown waiting to come out. When she thought no one was looking, she was often found down on the ground quietly joking with kids in the shelter, getting them to laugh when no one else could. When a wrong number kept calling her phone one night, she finally answered the phone, “Alachua County Jail, can we help you?” The entire room turned to her surprised. She cracked her devilish smile, and they burst into laughter. She found a full time job in the daycare industry—getting two-year-olds laugh all day long. She has completed two out of five courses for her childcare certification since she graduated from Family Promise and moved into an apartment of her own. She has checked in with us, and she and her daughter are doing well. Both quietly smiling as they move forward with their new life.
Mercedes & Craig entered Family Promise on May 22, 2013 along with their week old son. Craig could not work due to health reasons, and Mercedes was not working due to the birth of their son. Today Mercedes has a job! Craig is in the process of getting a Social Security ruling on his claim. The baby has grown and they are now in permanent housing.