"Clarence is 80 and has dreamed of going to school ever since he had to drop out of the 6th grade so that his younger brothers and sisters could attend. He worked on a sharecropper’s farm, and eventually drove a truck. Later, he married and put his own children through college by roofing houses. He, himself, never learned to read, until he came to GWES. He came to us when he was 78-years-old because his children told him that it is now his turn to learn. He came unable to read at all, and can now read at a second-grade level. He attends class faithfully twice a week, and meets another day with his tutor."
“Melanie started off untrustworthy and terrified to be left at school in the early stage of enrollment. The teachers and staff took out time with her to ensure she was in a safe, loving, and fun environment. She had previously been exposed to a classroom environment that was not good for children. The kindness and concern that she, my husband, and myself was shown at the center was like the love of a family. This won her confidence and she now is learning and having fun doing what a child should do: develop and grow. She doesn’t want to miss one day of school.”
“When my mom told me that we got accepted into Sybil Smith Family Village, I didn’t even know what it was. All I knew was we weren’t sleeping in the car anymore! I’m thankful for Sybil Smith Family Village because I actually get to sleep in a bed, make new friends, and because I also get to spend time with my mom and cook and eat meals with her. Thank you for giving me and my mom a second chance.”
“R is a 22-year-old male who came to Wilmer Hall when he was asked to leave his family home due to increasing behavioral issues. He had finished high school, but had not yet made any moves towards higher education or secure employment, and was not able to live independently upon arrival. Under Wilmer Hall’s guidance, R has completed two certificate programs at Bishop State, one in automotive repair and one in pipe fitting, and has secured gainful employment. At this time, R is working and saving money for an apartment while also attending life skills training classes to gain the skills needed for successful independent living.”
“When I came to the Home of Grace in 2008, God met me on the road to ruin. Living in a life of abuse and from a broken home, I began using drugs and alcohol at the age of 13. After many years of addiction using drugs like cocaine and ecstasy, I found myself on meth. The enemy had taken everything: my children, my family, my looks, and was leaving me with nothing but the scars of drug abuse. All the ladies think they come to the Home of Grace to get off of drugs, but, like me, they soon find it’s who you find – Jesus Christ – and through Him I found complete restoration. He has given back to me everything that the enemy was trying to steal.”
“One of our program’s most successful stories involved a 52-year-old Air Force veteran. He was located by our outreach team last winter living under a highway overpass. He had lived there for over a year and utilized two nearby gas stations for restroom/hygiene purposes. He was referred to a case manager and his major barrier, insufficient income, was added to his case plan. After two weeks, the case manager was able to locate and aid the veteran in securing a viable housing option. He has been stably housed for 13 months and has been asked to join the Housing First, Inc.’s Board of Directors.”
“I was drinking a lot because my sisters had kicked me out of their house in December of 2014. In January of 2015, I tried to kill myself by a gunshot to the chest. I went for help at Alta Pointe and received medication for depression, which seems to be working well. But I had no place to go and had maxed out my credit cards staying in motels or sleeping in my car. I called around and found McKemie Place, which was the only place that would let me bring my medication. With the help of the employees, I made it out of the shelter and found a job. I now have a job and an apartment.”
“A 28-year-old African American female accompanied by her 3 children met with one of our case managers. During her initial crisis intake, she stated that she was fleeing her ex-boyfriend, who had a history of domestic violence. She was residing at a hotel when the ex-boyfriend began threatening her life if she did not let him have their son. She began to fear for not only her life, but her children’s lives as well. This resulted in her calling the shelter hotline. While staying at the shelter, she was able to safely enroll her children back in school and was able to receive warm winter clothing and any basic living items she and her children needed. Through the assistance of her case manager, she was also able to retrieve all of her needed documents and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families assistance in order to move into her new low-income apartment. Upon departing the shelter, she received a referral to Penelope’s Closet for household items, as well as a basket of cleaning supplies. She also received Christmas presents for herself and her children.”
“Latoya is a mother of three young children. She enrolled her youngest children in Early Head Start for the 2016-2017 program year. Latoya has albinism, which has caused vison issues and she is considered ‘legally blind.’ When we first met Latoya, the children’s father was in the home, but they were struggling financially and the home was not stable. The father abandoned the family after a few months, causing them to lose their home. Latoya is still homeless and is dependent on her stepmother for housing and she demands money from her. GRECS Family Engagement Staff helped Latoya complete vocational training by providing comprehensive Early Head Start for her younger children. We worked with her vocation school counselor and facilitated vision screenings for Latoya. She now has special corrective contacts and glasses and last week she was hired by Target. We are working to get her into public housing so she can provide a more stable and peaceful home environment for the children, who are doing well, enjoying their classmates and teachers, and growing up happy and healthy. With her vision expected to continue to improve, Latoya has set a goal of learning to drive.”
“Ward was living in his truck, traveling to various construction sites and providing day labor. His truck was not only his home, but it was also where he kept all of the tools necessary for his trade. Ward was saving money and trying to find an apartment that he could afford. Then, his truck caught fire and was completely destroyed. Ward showed up at the Red Shield Shelter around Christmas time. He had lost everything, including his ID and all the necessary paperwork to secure employment. The Salvation Army offered Ward a bed at the Red Shield Shelter and extended the normal stay due to his special circumstances. After a couple of weeks, Ward entered into the Crossroads Program and started his work therapy in the kitchen. During his stay in the program, Ward was able to replace his identification and became a mentor to several other clients in the program. Today, Ward is the newest cook in The Salvation Army kitchen! He continues to mentor many other young men, having been instrumental in connecting them with sponsors and the community resources that are key to maintaining sobriety once they complete treatment at The Salvation Army.”
“My life has been a mess for a long time and there are so many opportunities here for me to be able to help myself become strong and independent. I’m writing this letter to thank you for everything you’ve done to make this possible. You’ll never know how much I appreciate this. I hope you know I’m not looking for a handout. I just needed a helping hand to get back on my feet and to learn to independently stay there.”
“The biggest thing I got from Victory was not a doctor’s visit or my medication. It was hope. The staff and volunteers sat and prayed with me and reminded me that I am not worthless. I felt truly loved, which I hadn’t felt in a long time. I can’t say enough good things about the people there and when I talk about them I start to cry.”
“I have been attending the SAIL Program since I moved here from Chicago twelve years ago and love it! I was just sitting around the house doing nothing, but now I’m here enjoying life. I come here and we play games. We exercise, learn, and go places. We visit the sick and pray. They help us with so many things, but what I like the most is to go places and being active. I enjoy the exercise classes.”
“Mr. C is an elderly, disabled, widower residing in Clarke County. Mr. C was able to meet his own needs (i.e. housing, food, transportation, utilities, medical, etc.) for his entire adult life. However, when his out-of-pocket costs for his medication increased unexpectedly, it did not take long for his meager savings to deplete. The funding received for our Safety-First Program from United Way of Southwest Alabama provided the emergency financial assistance Mr. C needed to prevent his electricity from being disconnected.”
“A mother from Grove Hill brought her daughter to the free clinic and was counseled and given information about Epilepsy Foundation of Alabama. Several days later she contacted us regarding the need to relocate to Mobile to be closer to the USA Medical center to be sure she could continue quality care for her 6-year-old daughter. The child has retractable epilepsy (seizers that fail to come under control with treatment). We worked with Housing First, Franklin Clinic, USA Medical Clinic, and St. Vincent de Paul to relocate both mother and child to Mobile.”
“There is absolutely nothing more the staff could have done to make a horrible situation more bearable. I’ve told everyone that asks about my grandchild how God has provided exactly the right people at exactly the right places at exactly the right time to help her. You have all been a God-send.”
“TL has a full-time job at Wal-Mart. He is no longer dependent on Social Security benefits. He received education on how his Social Security benefits would decrease with employment, and he made the choice to work full-time and become more self-sufficient. He has his own home, pays his own bills, and is a valued member of his community.”
“I have been treated with love, courtesy, compassion, and respect. My mind is at ease knowing that I will be able to live a longer, healthier life and see my new granddaughter grow up. What a priceless gift that Victory has given me! I am overwhelmed that people would care enough about me, a stranger, to give freely of themselves. Thank you for sharing love and compassion with me at my time of great need.”
“When my wife lost her battle with cancer, I was 55-years-old and had two daughters to support. ECI rescued me in every sense of the word. My daughter is a resident and part of the Day Hab program at ECI. I had nowhere else to turn to because the state was not approving Taylor for the benefits available because someone who is considered ID/DD needs constant care. I am so thankful to ECI and all they do for my family.”
“As I was walking out the restroom door a man came toward me with a gun. I was terrified. He forced me into the restroom and raped me. This terrifying ordeal has put a huge strain on my marriage. I have emotional problems and fears that I just cannot explain. I don’t trust people anymore. The Rape Crisis Center was there for me at the hospital. I met a volunteer counselor who was there for me during my recovery and she recommended free counseling for me and my family. With her help, I have come a long way.”
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