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What I want to do

achieve my Master's Degree

What matters to me

My biological and spiritual family

What inspires me

My children and the Holy Spirit

El Paso, TX USA


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Young Women's Christian Assn. of El Paso Texas YWCA
May 31, 2010

Not what I expected as transitional housing. I am a bit hesitant to reveal all the details of my previous life. I will say that I was living in Atlanta, GA. I had a secure career with at a staffing agency with vacation, annual/sick leave, 401K and I lived within walking distance. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, I found myself 9 months pregnant with 3 children at home and not knowing where our next meal was coming from or where we would sleep once when the next month came. I could not return to work after FMLA leave because I had no one to care for my children. I could not afford to pay full-time daycare fees for 3 small children. Forced to quit my job, the future looked very dark and gloomy. I felt isolated. Like no one in the entire world could possibly understand what I was going through. A friend suggested I move to El Paso, TX where there are better social services available. So I conjured up the nerves to chuck it all and just pack me and my 4 kids in the mini-van and hit the highway. Here I must mention that I believe that I invoked this change in my life one Sunday morning while watching a minister on t.v. He was talking about "abundant living" and how we can never imagine all that God has in store for us. So I asked God to come into my life and reveal to me His purpose for my life because if what that minister was saying was true, I wanted to have access to the abundance. I arrived in El Paso in March 2008. I-10 goes right through the city. So I stopped at a pay phone outside a grocery store and began to call the Salvation Army.(brought the number with me) I met a stranger (angel)who seeing me and the kids and our van overstuffed knew we were in a desperate situation. Approached me inside the grocery store to give my kids ice cream that she had bought. She and her mother and sister invited us to stay with them until we could get a bed at the Salvation Army. They gave us a private room with a bed for each of us with access to showers and 3 meals today. I was so grateful. Yet I knew that I had to hit the ground running. I contacted the Opportunity Center for the Homeless. The veteran representative referred me to the YWCA Transitional Living Center. After I called and scheduled an interview, he escorted me to the location one day and made the request in person. A few days later I got a call from them to come in for the initial interview. I applied for an apartment or a family room. Then about 4 days after the interview I got a call to come and bring my belongings with me. Totally elated but a little hesitant because I did not know what I was walking into; I prayed and went to look at our new home. When I arrived the staff was so courteous and professional, almost as if they were happy I was there. After completing intake and initial orientation, they escorted me to an apartment that was so beautiful and fully furnished to my eyes I thought it was just a model. As I began to ask if my apartment would have any furnishings and household items, the caseworker said, "this is your apartment"! From that moment I dedicated myself to my goals. I endeavored to complete my AAS, Business Management and become a teacher. With the support of my caseworker and counselor in 2 weeks, I was able to go to work in a call center making $8.00 an hour. My oldest son never missed a day of school in the transition and my little ones were accepted immediately at the YWCA day care center for the homeless (Mi Casa). I worked all summer diligently to save money for my return to school. It was not easy. I had a mini-van but only the front passenger side door opened, no air and only one window would open. I sacrificed for my education and many times I had to refresh my promises to my children that our lives would not always be that way, that it was just the interim and the means to an end, and I really impressed upon them the blessing of this place existing. My son made some lifelong friendships there. I was busy going to school full-time and working part-time(30-35 hours a week). One day I realized that I was missing the best days of my kids' lives. I hesitantly approached the new TLC director with my idea to take some time off from work and continue school full-time, and he said, "I can't think of a better time than now for you to take a break, you're always running and you are taking good care of your children." You can imagine my shock! Then I spoke with my employer who said I could make it effective immediately and they would leave me eligible for rehire. They did and I did return briefly. Finally my last 2 semesters of college arrived. After 1/2 years of homelessness I just began to feel overwhelmed and wonder if I would actually be able to secure a job; with only an Associates degree, that will provide enough income to support me and 4 children. I cried out and God's favor rained down like never before. My caseworker called me into her office one day and explained to me a new government grant program, HPRP,(homeless prevention and rapid re-housing program) that would assist with rent for the first year. Of course, my immediate and greatest reservation was my unemployment and possible underemployment after graduation. So I started applying for the jobs I really wanted. To my surprise, the very first federal job I applied to interviewed me immediately and made the job offer practically on the spot. Since it was a federal job, I had to wait for confirmation from the department. Finally it came in February 2010 right after I moved to my new apartment. Monetary need was increasing; so I returned to the full-time job in the call center. I only had to stay for 2 months before I started to work with the Department of Homeland Security. What did the YWCA/TLC do for me and my family? EMPOWERMENT that I can pass on to my daughter. The invaluable lifeskills and compassion for one another that were embedded in me will be passed on from generation to generation. "The Task Before me is NEVER Greater than The Power Behind me"

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The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

What did the YWCA/TLC do for me and my family? EMPOWERMENT that I can pass on to my daughter. The invaluable lifeskills and compassion for one another that were embedded in me will be passed on from generation to generation.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Implement Worship and Bible discussion on a weekly basis. Ensure all participants are legally documented so that they can progress.

More feedback

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

The invaluable, intangible tools they have equipped me with to deal with lifes pitfalls. There were also material benefits. The clothing closet is exceptional. They have good quality items. Savings: I saved $1300 while there that was returned to me.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

empathetic and not seeking self gratification. Every chance they got they would offer assistance. They even gave me a large Christmas tree in 2009.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

expand and provide more apartments for more single mother families and operate and on-site daycare for kids. Mi Case opened to everyone in 2010; not just homeless anymore.

Ways to make it better...

I honestly do not believe that my experience could have been better. Only one thing that they could develop is some sort of Spiritual Development incorporated with Life Skills.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

not only keeping but teaching the "CHRISTIAN" doctrine. The second biggest problem is that more than half of the ladies who come there are not eligible to work in the U.S. which probably will pose a problem in the near future.

One thing I'd also say is that...

They offer a myriad of stepping stones; all sort of professional advisors from the community volunteer to provide informative sessions. They listen to feedback. Immediately after I suggested this it was implemented within 2 weeks.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

MY ROLE:
Client Served & I lived there for 1 1/2 years in transitional housing.

YWCA of Greater Atlanta
May 31, 2010

No services were available. I could not even apply for a place to sleep for me and my child. Extend a hand. Embody the words that go along with the acronym YWCA = Young Women's Christain Association.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

No services available. I was turned away without even as much as a referral.

More feedback

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2000

MY ROLE:
Client Served & Inquired about housing and child care.