The Washington Family Story
Entered Family Promise of the Verdugos: June 2015
Graduated: September 2015
I lost my home on January 21st of 2015 and became displaced for the first time in my life. After putting everything I worked hard for over the past 40 years into a storage, I was sick, lost and very afraid. I looked at my 13-year-old son and my 7-year-old granddaughter and the looks in their eyes made me break down. I held my babies and assured them that it was going to be alright. We spent five months bouncing from house to house of family and friends but quickly became a burden and exhausted all our options. I called 211 in the beginning of the summer and was sent to Lancaster Shelter who thankfully took us in. As grateful as I was to be in a shelter, the rules required us to vacate from 7am to 3pm everyday, which left the three of us alone, wandering the streets in the heat. There were times when we had to stay under freeway bridges to escape the temperature. Watching the misery on my kids faces killed me inside, however, we had to follow the rules of the shelter. I knew I needed to find a program that would help us get back on our feet and heard about Family Promise of the Verdugos through a friend. We called, were interviewed the next day, and were accepted into the Family Promise program which saved our lives. I participated in case management sessions daily, discussing our family’s goals and how we could achieve them while my children participated in the local Boys & Girls Club and the YMCA. My son Nathan got accepted into the basketball team at the Y and at that time I saw the light come back in my son’s eyes when he started playing basketball. While my son and granddaughter began enjoying their summer, playing on the basketball team and making friends in the community, the Family Promise staff took their time with me, working on my resume and teaching me to save my income for emergencies. I was even able to work with Family Promise volunteers and began setting daily goals which the volunteers motivated me to achieve.
Family Promise is an awesome program. The congregations and volunteers gave me back the faith that I had lost along my journey. One night while in the care of Family Promise and their congregations, my fire was relit and my spirituality was re-instilled within me. I humbled myself to follow the rules and utilize our new director, Mr. Albert, who’s door was always open. I cannot begin to express the passion that this man brought into the program. I felt change immediately and actually saw him doing the work himself; creating new boards, fundraising, etc. I knew when he spoke to listen. Because of the resources, staff, volunteers, and congregation support, my family and I were able to graduate from Family Promise on September 6th and move into our own apartment. Since that day, we haven’t looked back and we have Family Promise to thank for that.
– Stephanie Washington