Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Stories of Giving from Megan Nehamen

Our community is filled with many worthy organizations that bring such value, each having a different vision. The mission of Foothill Family Shelter is to assure children and adults a future by helping them acquire skills that will enable them to maintain a home, job and at the same time develop the necessary self-esteem to function as a successful stable adult. Foothill Family Shelter has been serving homeless families since 1984. There is a critical need for these services and with sparse resources, community support is imperative. For over 32 years Foothill Family Shelter has shared their mission and vision in an effort to transition families from homelessness to stable, permanent housing. In addition to the community support, Foothill Family Shelter offers comprehensive services which empower clients to gain new skills, set attainable goals and develop a new and effective way of living. As a result of the work Foothill Family Shelter does each day, here is a story that shows the true impact this organization has on those in need. Samantha is a single mother with one teenage son. She was working a part time job with limited hours and was receiving food stamps. She was living with different relatives but mostly at her mother’s, who lives in a senior living community. Eventually she was given a final notice to leave mom’s house or her mother would also be asked to leave. She was drowning in debt with no relief in sight and her mental health was taking a toll due to unemployment, financial stress, low self-esteem, parenting issues, and worry that her vehicle would break down at any moment. Shortly after being accepted by Foothill Family Shelter, she was laid off and applied for cash aid and food stamps. Samantha graduated from the 120-day program and went on to the 1-year housing. She hit a few hurdles and became disengaged from the program. After progressive discipline the Shelter had to make a difficult decision; Samantha was asked to leave the program because she wasn’t meeting with her Case Manager or Therapist and she wasn’t saving any money. Samantha was encouraged to file an appeal where she then met with the Co-Executive Directors. Samantha’s request to stay was granted and she immediately refocused and got back on track. While in the program she obtained a good paying job , created a savings fund, learned to balance life stress in turn increasing emotional well-being, paid off old debts, bought a reliable vehicle and moved on to find permanent housing without any further subsidies or assistance. Samantha is pursuing a career in nursing and is preparing to take her Nursing Board Exam. Her hope is that once she’s settled in to her career she would like to get involved with Foothill Family Shelter by volunteering and donating. It is a privilege serving families who want to help themselves, but need a hand-up. Foothill Family Shelter is truly thankful to each volunteer, donor, business, service club, faith-based group and anyone who believes in the mission and strives to make a difference. As we begin the New Year, it is important to reflect back and realize that the work Foothill Family Shelter does is critical and our community makes it possible. Happy New Year! Sincerely, Megan Nehamen

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