The West Cook YMCA located in Oak Park has been proud to collaborate again with PADS in 2012. Our significant first year of association with the "Career Passport" program has resulted in a number of PADS clients finding transitional housing with us as they work their way back into the mainstream of life and employment. Our staff has also enjoyed doing its part by providing sack lunches for PADS the first Monday of each month. As a cause-driven charity ourselves, we at the Y fully understand the importance of strengthening the foundations of the community we serve. Our collaborative engagement with PADS is representative of our commitment to social responsibility.
As the CEO of the West Cook Y, we are pleased and proud of our collaborative association with West Suburban PADS. As a charity ourselves we understand the importance of a strong mission, committed leadership and staff and passionate volunteer support. PADS has this and more. It is one of the reasons we, as Y staff, bag lunches for PADS clients once a month and include PADS clients in our annual Thanksgiving dinner. We look forward to working with PADS on the Career Passport program in 2011.
In today's economy, many are just a paycheck away from the risk of homelessness. West Suburban PADS treats every individual who is homeless -- or at risk of homelessness -- with dignity and respect. While the first priority is to meet the basic need of shelter and food, PADS doesn't stop there. Those who need more than temporary shelter have access to an array of supportive services, from laundry facilities and showers to access to mental health services and career readiness training. The goal is permanent solutions for those who find themselves homeless -- permanent housing, with the level of supportive services needed -- one person, one family at a time.
I started volunteering at one of PADS' shelters 15 years ago, and still do. I've also had the privilege of being on the board of directors for the agency, witnessing and overseeing the development of a total system of housing opportunities and supportive services that afford those who find themselves homeless -- or at risk of homelessness -- the long-term, substantive assistance that truly shows dignity and respect.
HOMELESS NOT HOPELESS
My husband works for a fortune 500 company selling IT solutions to large corporations. We took a hard hit from the economic downturn and as a result, we lost our home to foreclosure. Leading up to that, we had spent many months scraping money together just to pay our utilities and keep food on the table. I remember spending a whole month without heat and boiling water on our electric stove to warm a bath for my little ones.
When we received our eviction notice, I started looking for an apartment to rent. Because of our financial hardship, no one wanted to take the chance of renting us an apartment. Those that agreed, asked for double the security deposit along with the 1st month's rent. That meant thousand's of dollars up front...money we didn't have.
With three small children, we were starting to get desperate. The possibility of becoming homeless was weighing on our hearts.
I had a friend that worked for West Suburban Pads. I wasn't quite sure what the organization was about but, I knew they helped homeless people. I swallowed my pride and confided in her about our situation. She told me about Transitional Housing program and gave me an application to fill out.
I went through 3 interviews before we were approved for assistance. Every one I met greeted me with warmth and kindness. I was treated with dignity and respect which, is so important when you are asking for this level of help. It really gave us that boost of confidence we needed to move forward.
West Suburban Pads opened doors for us that I couldn't. I was able to get a 3 bedroom apartment in a great neighborhood with a great school district paying very affordable rent. This put us in a position where we have been able to pay down some debt and my husband has been able to hold on to his job long enough that he received a promotion and a raise! We are now graduating out of the program early!
I am so grateful for West Suburban PADS. My Case Managers Felicia and Suzie have been so supportive and resourceful. My experience with this organization has been to notch and I can't say enough about how much I appreciate all they have done for me and my family.
I once saw a sign in their building that said, "Homeless Not Hopeless". This statement exemplifies West Suburban PADS purpose and perspective. They gave me HOPE!
West Suburban PADS does a little bit of everything, and they do it all well. Whether it's what you think of as PADS overnight shelter or one of their many housing and service programs that help people get out and stay out of homelessness, West Suburban PADS is a leader in cutting edge practices that truly help our west suburban neighbors in times of crisis.
I first became affiliated with West Suburban PADS as a volunteer. Being new to the area, I didn't know much about the organization; I only knew that it served an important need in our society. I recently became a Board Member of West Suburban PADS. I have learned so much more about this organization. I am extremely honored to be affiliated with PADS as it seeks to end homelessness in our area through providing shelter, housing, job training, and support. Ending homelessness could not be accomplished without the dedicated work of the staff and volunteers.
I am very proud and honored to serve on the board of West Suburban PADS. During my tenure, I have come to really appreciate the comprehensive services WSPADS offers its clients. Not only do they provide needed shelter, but they also provide the services to help the homeless obtain gainful employment and permanent housing. As the say goes, they just don’t provide a fish of food, they teach their clients how to fish to have food for a lifetime.
This review is written on behalf of the team at Wilks Communications. We have worked with West Suburban PADS on a number of levels throughout the past nine years. Over this time we have seen the organization grow into a group that truly makes a difference in our communities. Each person associated with West Suburban PADS including the staff, board members and over 1,000 volunteers have compassion and an open heart to those who face the risk, or the reality, of homelessness. PADS provided 12,366 nights of shelter and 37,098 meals to 500 people last year. This, along with many other reasons, makes West Suburban PADS a nonprofit that we will continue to support and encourage others to do so.
Being a Board Member for Pads has been a fulfilling and enlightening experience. I have found the board members and volunteers to be the most hard working group of people I have ever met. They are dedicated to preventing homelessness and work tirelessly to that end. The emergency shelter is run entirely with dedicated volunteers, and the supportive services and employment readiness services are run by excellent professionals. I am proud to be part of this wonderful organization.
I've been a board member at West Suburban PADS for nine years, and before that, I'd volunteered in their overnight shelter program for ten years. PADS has grown from a shelter that provided a place to sleep and a hot dinner to a full-service agency offering wrap-around care, job training, housing and support services. Throughout its programs PADS insists on upholding the human dignity and value of its clients as well as providing for their housing needs. The staff and volunteers deal with each guest as a person, not as simply "case load". It's an honor to help PADS serve the last and the least in our community.
Volunteering with this wonderfully effective nonprofit is always a fulfilling experience. PADS is truly improving our community, one success story at a time. The constant improvement and expansion of service is inspirational. I love having very specific, tangible ways to make a difference from donating household goods and clothing to flood victims to adopting a family for the holiday season.